Beyond Hostas: Stunning Perennials You Haven’t Heard Of

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Perennials
Perennials

Hostas are fantastic, low-maintenance plants that add beautiful texture to any garden. But the world of perennials offers so much more! If you’re looking for unique pops of color, exciting flower shapes, and plants that attract beneficial pollinators, venture beyond the hostas and explore the world of underused perennials. These hidden gems are waiting to add personality and pizzazz to your garden.

1. Blazing Star (Liatris spicata)

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blazing star liatris spicata
blazing star liatris spicata

Blazing Star is a true showstopper, with tall, slender stalks adorned with fluffy, rosy-purple flowers that resemble fireworks. It blooms mid to late summer, attracting butterflies and hummingbirds with its sweet nectar. This native North American perennial thrives in full sun and well-drained soil.

It’s also deer and rabbit-resistant, making it a worry-free addition to your garden. Blazing star is native to prairies and meadows and grows in zones 3-8. Legend has it that Native American tribes used Blazing Star as a topical pain reliever!

2. Siberian Bugloss (Brunnera macrophylla)

Siberian Bugloss Brunnera macrophylla
Siberian Bugloss Brunnera macrophylla

Siberian bugloss is a shade-loving perennial that adds a touch of elegance to any shady border. Its heart-shaped, silver-veined leaves contrast the garden beautifully, even after the blooms fade. In spring, clusters of tiny forget-me-not-like blue flowers appear, adding a charming touch.

Siberian bugloss is a low-maintenance perennial that tolerates moist soil and prefers cooler temperatures. This versatile plant is also known as “False Forget-Me-Nots.

3. Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)

Columbine Aquilegia canadensis
Columbine Aquilegia canadensis

Columbine is a delicate and whimsical perennial that brings a touch of magic to the garden. Its nodding, bell-shaped flowers come in various colors, including pink, purple, white, and yellow, often with contrasting inner petals. Columbine thrives in cooler weather and prefers part shade with moist, well-drained soil.

Deadheading spent flowers will encourage continuous bloom throughout the spring and early summer. Columbine was a favorite flower of Victorian gardeners and was often seen adorning cottage gardens.

4. Japanese Painted Fern (Athyrium niponicum)

Japanese Painted Fern Athyrium niponicum
Japanese Painted Fern Athyrium niponicum

Not all underused perennials have to be flowering! The Japanese-painted fern adds a touch of drama and texture to the garden with its arching, bi-colored fronds. The new growth emerges a delicate pink or bronze, maturing to a soft green with contrasting silver veins.

This shade-loving fern prefers consistently moist soil and is perfect for creating a lush woodland feel in your garden. In Japanese culture, ferns symbolize resilience and perseverance.

5. Obedient Plant (Physostegia virginiana)

Obedient Plant Physostegia virginiana
Obedient Plant Physostegia virginiana

The obedient plant lives up to its name! Its tall spikes of tubular flowers, typically in shades of pink or purple, stay put wherever you gently bend the stem. This architectural perennial is a magnet for hummingbirds, butterflies and blooms throughout the summer.

Obedient plants thrive in full sun and well-drained soil and are an excellent choice for the back of the border. Native to eastern North America, the obedient plant was once used by some indigenous tribes as a treatment for coughs and colds.

Conclusion

These are just a few examples of the many stunning underused perennials waiting to be discovered. So, next time you’re at the garden center, don’t be afraid to experiment and explore beyond the usual suspects. You might find your new favorite plant that adds unique beauty and personality to your garden.