Long-Lasting Flowers for Your Yard

Vego Garden
Vego Garden

In the Victorian era, society placed a collective weight on the symbolism of flowers. To be ageless has been one of mankind’s greatest strivings – a sentiment echoed in Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray. In an exchange between the titular character and Lord Henry, a degenerate lord, Henry laments that “the common hill flowers wither, but they blossom again … but we never get back our youth.” 

Despite life’s setbacks, there is an inherent beauty in flowers, whose value is often lost among the cacophony of city life. Many of these long-lived flowers carry with them a poignant nostalgia harkening back to simpler times. From herbaceous perennials to flowering shrubs, below are 14 long-lasting flowers that will come back year after year.

Grow Perennials in Raised Garden Beds

Many tiresome gardening tasks such as watering and weeding can be simplified or eliminated with the addition of raised garden beds, whose elevated structure reduces the need to bend over. Raised beds also solve problems associated with aggressive spreaders or stubborn plant varieties. It is easier to remove outgrown perennials in a raised bed than those in a traditional garden bed.  


1. Coneflowers       

Coneflower is a dependable perennial that will stick around for years. Its vivid magenta-pink color and daisy-like petals are unmistakable, traversing the vast plains of the prairie to become a symbol of the counterculture movement in the 60s. Since then, it continues to dominate the floral landscape. The ‘Pink Double Delight’ is a spirited cultivar that produces masses of tiny florets. 

2. Russian Sage        

Notable for its close resemblance to lavender, Russian sage is an herbaceous perennial that can be used as a replacement for lavender along a rocky outcropping or a garden pathway. Both are highly aromatic and feature clumps of violet flowers; however, Russian sage has panicle-shaped inflorescences (cluster of flowers that grow on a branch or system of branches), compared to tubular inflorescences, and a different scent. Like lavender, it is also drought-tolerant, and can adapt to dry conditions or desert-like landscapes. 

3. Aster               

A diminutive flower with colors ranging from a marvelous lilac to eggshell white, asters perform best in full sun and moist, well-draining soil. Asters are prized for their nectar-rich blooms, which attract butterflies and hummingbirds. With its masses of dainty, daisy-like flowers, asters are a versatile plant that can enliven the late-season landscape as borders, ground covers, or a great addition to a pollinator garden. 

4. Bearded Iris                


Any list of flowering perennials would be amiss without the iris, a showy flower available in a multitude of colors – staying true to its namesake – the Greek goddess of the rainbow. Once relegated to old-fashioned gardens and abandoned homes, bearded irises have seen a revival as gardeners rediscover its opulent beauty. With a lifespan of five to twenty years, bearded irises will perform best in well-drained soil. Offer it bulb-plant organic fertilizer after blooming to prolong its blooms. 

5. Lily of the Nile 


Lily of the Nile, or agapanthus, is an elegant flower that blooms from spring to summer, producing striking combinations of violet-blue flowers. Standing high above its lush foliage, they present an impressive display whether in-ground or in pots and containers. Agapanthus are exotic plants that prefer warm growing zones (8 – 10), but can be moved inside in rolling planters and grown indoors. 

6. Pigsqueak (Bergenia purpurascens) 

This humorously named flower prefers moist, shady environments, making it ideal as groundcover or filler under taller plants. When you rub a finger against its leaves, pigsqueak emits a high-pitched noise, hence its nickname. This interesting plant features broad, dark green leaves and small, rosette-shaped flowers. 

7. Daylilies        


The daylily, with its colorful, trumpet-like blooms, stands tall as harbingers of summer. Daylilies can be propagated through division, in which clumps are pulled or cut apart. If you find this process burdensome, consider using a 10 in 1 Hori Hori knife kit, a long-lasting blade designed to handle tasks such as digging bulbs, pruning shrubs, and cutting plant roots. 

8. Perennial Sweet Peas (Lathyrus latifolius)

Ornamental sweet peas are a vibrant vine that you may want to consider if you seek low-maintenance options to brighten up dull arches and hanging areas. When draped over trellises and other vertical structures, its blooms intertwine to create intricate masses of flowers. Unlike its edible counterpart, both pods and seeds are toxic if ingested, and should not be grown near edible peas. 

9. Salvia    

With fluffy purple spikes, salvia bears a close resemblance to lavender; however, it is less demanding. It is interesting to note that Russian sage, previously classified as Perovskia atriplicifolia, has been reclassified as Salvia yangii. Other long-lived varieties include Salvia x sylvestris, Salvia nemorosa and Salvia farinacea; Diviner's sage (Salvia divinorum) has hallucinogenic properties when imbibed.  

10. Goldenrod 

Goldenrod is a cheerful flower valued for its ability to attract pollinators. Towering above the ground in dense, spiky stalks, goldenrod pairs well with other long-lasting perennials such as Russian sage and asters. It requires very little maintenance and can tolerate subpar soils.  

11. Oriental Poppy 


A vibrant flower rife with symbolism, poppies are linked to both death and resurrection. Though they figure in the imagination as a crimson field of dancing wildflowers – the red opium that runs through society – this ornamental variety is far more innocuous. Poppies will last for decades, are low-maintenance, and not particularly susceptible to bothersome pests. All parts of the flower are considered mildly toxic to people and pets. 

12. Astilbe 

Astilbes are long-lasting plants with feathery plumes in brilliant reds and pinks. Layer with other shade perennials and annuals to add a whimsical dimension to your garden. You may choose to stagger various cultivars for a continuous profusion of color. Grow this plant in moist, well-drained soil and keep it well-watered. While astilbes can tolerate deep shade, they will not flower as much – a bit of sun can promote blooms.   

13. Honeysuckle 

The fragrant honeysuckle perfumes the air with its signature scent, creating a hazy atmosphere of relaxation. The most amazingly fragrant varieties are woodbine honeysuckles (Lonicera x peryclimenum). Some species, including the winter honeysuckle, are considered invasive, forming dense thickets that crowd out native plant life, and should be avoided. 

14. Garden Phlox 

Garden phlox are popular fixtures in cottage gardens, where they last up to six weeks more. For those that eschew boring, unoriginal flowers such as pansies, supplement your garden with garden phlox. Some varieties verge on the wild side with their flame-like petals and colors while others are more subdued, making them suitable for tidy borders. Apart from being low-maintenance, this highly versatile plant also attracts butterflies, birds, and hummingbirds. 

Leave a comment