FOR NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
Unless otherwise noted, all prefer full sun.
Aster. A. x frikartii 'Mönch' is on everyone's top 10 list of lavender blue perennials; plants grow to 2 feet. Sunset climate zones 2b-24. New England aster (A. novae-angliae) has mostly blue flowers. 'Alma Potschke', an old favorite, bears salmon pink blooms. Grows to 3 feet tall. Zones 1-24. Flowers of Michaelmas daisy (A. novi-belgii) come mostly in shades of blue; 'Climax' has true blue flowers. Grows 4 to 6 feet tall. Zones 1-24.
Boltonia asteroides. Bears white, pink, or blue flowers on plants 5 to 6 feet tall. Zones 1-24.
Chrysanthemum. Florist's chrysanthemum (C. x morifolium) has flowers in many colors, from rust and wine red to orange and golden yellow. Grows 1 to 6 feet, depending on variety. Zones 2-24. C. x rubellum flowers come in various colors; 'Clara Curtis' is bright, clear pink. Grows 2 feet tall. Zones 1-24.
Coreopsis. C. lanceolata bears yellow flowers on plants 1 to 2 feet tall. C. verticillata has yellow, daisy-like blooms; 'Moonbeam' produces pale yellow blooms. Grows 2 to 3 feet tall. Zones 1-24.
Daylily (Hemerocallis hybrids). Comes in various colors; look for reblooming or late varieties. Takes partial shade in hottest climates. Standard kinds grow 2 1/2 to 4 feet tall. Zones 1-24.
Garden penstemon (P. x gloxinioides). Many kinds and colors bloom most heavily in spring but will repeat in fall if you cut back plants after flowering. Blooms range from fire engine red to deep purple to pale pink, depending on variety. Plants grow 2 to 4 feet tall. Zones 6-9, 14-24.
Gaillardia x grandiflora. Daisylike flowers in golden yellows, reds, and bicolors. Grows 2 to 4 feet tall. Zones 1-24, H1-H2.
Goldenrod (Solidago). Bears feathery yellow bloom clusters atop 2- to 3-foot plants. Zones 1-11, 14-23.
Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea). Lavender pink, daisylike blooms with bristly, mounding centers. 'Magnus' grows to 4 feet tall. Zones 1-24, A2-A3.
Rudbeckia. R. fulgida 'Goldsturm' bears golden yellow blooms on 3-foot-tall plants. Gloriosa daisy (R. hirta) grows 3 to 4 feet tall. 'Indian Summer' has single to double golden yellow flowers. Zones 1-24.
Salvia. Many kinds bloom in late summer and early fall. Anise-scented sage (S. guaranitica) bears cobalt blue flowers, attractive to hummingbirds, on plants 4 to 5 feet tall. It can take partial shade in hot climates. Zones 8-9, 14-24. Autumn sage (S. greggii) flecks itself with flowers in many shades of red, white, and rose on shrubby, 1- to 4-foot plants. Zones 8-24. S. azurea grandiflora bears azure flowers, grows to 5 feet tall, and needs support. Zones 1-24. Eyelash sage (S. blepharophylla) puts out spikes of orange scarlet blooms on plants 1 1/2 to 2 feet tall. Zones 14-24. Mexican sage (S. mexicana 'Limelight') has showy yellow green stems and calyxes with cobalt blue flowers on plants 3 to 5 feet tall or taller. Zones 9, 14-17, 19-24. Mexican bush sage (S. leucantha) has velvety purple flowers on plants 3 to 4 feet tall. Zones 12-14, H1-H2. Pineapple sage (S. elegans) has spikes of bright red flowers and fragrant foliage on plants 3 to 4 feet tall. Zones 8-24.
Sedum. S. spectabile and S. telephium 'Autumn Joy' bear flowers in shades of rust to pink on plants 1 to 2 feet tall. Zones 1-24.
Sneezeweed (Helenium hybrids). Flowers in red orange. 'Moerheim Beauty' is coppery red. Grows 3 to 5 feet tall. Zones 1-24.
Yarrow (Achillea). Flowers come in various colors, including salmon and rusty red. A. filipendulina 'Coronation Gold' and A. 'Moonshine' have yellow blooms. Grows 4 inches to 5 feet tall, depending on species. Zones 1-24.