Perennials that grow best in the West

Jim McCausland,  – August 20, 2004

The following perennials are grouped by peak bloom. Most grow throughout the West; some of the early-flowering perennials don’t bloom until summer in cooler climates.


African Daisy

Osteospermum ecklonis ‘Lavender Mist’. Midspring-fall. Foot-high mound of white daisies that fade to mauve. ZONES: 2b-24.

O. fruticosum. Intermittent year-round bloom. Trailing plants come with white, blue, pink, purple, or yellow blooms. ZONES: 8-9, 12-24, H1-H2.


A. ‘Tutti Frutti’. Summer. Pink flowers favored by hummingbirds. ZONES: 2b-24.

A. mexicana. Spring-late fall. Hummingbirds are attracted to the pink flowers. ZONES: 3-24.

Beard Tongue

Penstemon Mexicali hybrids. Summer. Rose and violet flowers. ZONES: 1-3, 10.

P. x gloxinioides ‘Firebird’. Summer. Scarlet flowers attract hummingbirds. ZONES: 6-9, 14-24.

P. x g. Kissed series. Summer. White-throated flowers with bright, warm-colored lips. Needs good drainage. ZONES: 6-9, 14-24.

P. heterophyllus ‘Margarita BOP’. Spring-early summer. Electric blue flowers favored in Southern California. ZONES: 7-24.

Bleeding Heart

Dicentra ‘Luxuriant’. Spring-summer. Red flowers don’t easily burn out in summer. ZONES: A1-A3, 1-9, 14-24.

D. formosa ‘Zestful’. Everblooming in mild weather; rose-colored flowers. ZONES: 1-9, 14-24.


Nepeta x faassenii. Late spring-early summer. If plant is sheared when blue flowers slow down, catmint repeats in fall. ZONES: 1-24.


Aquilegia longissima. Late spring-midsummer. Large yellow nodding blooms. A Texas native. ZONES: 1-11, 14-24.


G. ‘Frances Grate’. Early spring-fall. Mauve flowers. ZONES: 14-24

G. ‘Johnson’s Blue’. Spring-fall. Blue violet flowers in loose clusters. ZONES: 2-9, 14-24.

G. incanum. Spring-fall. Light magenta. ZONES: 14-24.

G. sanguineum. Spring into summer; will rebloom in fall if cut down in late summer. Red to purple flowers. ZONES: A2-A3, 1-9, 14-24.


G. chiloense ‘Mrs. Bradshaw’. Spring-summer. Double red orange flowers. ZONES: 2-24.



Aster x frikartii ‘Mönch’. Blooms summer-fall or nearly all year in mildest areas if you deadhead. Blue. ZONES: 2b-24.


B. grandis. Summer. White or pink flowers; give it filtered shade. ZONES: 3-24.

Black-eyed Susan

Rudbeckia fulgida sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’. Summer. Yellow flowers keep on coming. ZONES: 1-24.

Blanket Flower

Gaillardia x grandiflora. Blooms June until first frost. Yellow flowers banded with red, maroon, or brown. Interesting seed heads in winter. ZONES: 1-24, H1-H2.

G. x g. ‘Goblin’. Blooms June until first frost. Dwarf form with yellow-bordered red flowers. ZONES: 1-24, H1-H2.


C. rotundifolia ‘Olympica’. Summer. Bell-shaped blue flowers. ZONES: A1-A3, 1-10, 14-24. 


C. verticillata ‘Moonbeam’. Summer-fall. Pale yellow flowers; good tolerance for drought and neglect. Best in Northwest. ZONES: 1-24.

C. v. ‘Zagreb’. Summer-fall. Golden yellow flowers. Good in Southern California. ZONES: 1-24.


C. lutea. Summer. Yellow flowers best in woodland settings, especially near water. ZONES: 2-9, 14-24.


Hemerocallis ‘Black-eyed Stella’. Summer. Yellow with red eye. ZONES: 1-24, H1-H2.

H. ‘Pardon Me’. Summer. Red. ZONES: 1-24, H1-H2.

H. Starburst series. Summer. Many colors. ZONES: 1-24, H1-H2.

H. ‘Stella de Oro’. Summer. Yellow. ZONES: 1-24, H1-H2.


G. lindheimeri. Spring-fall or most of year in mild-winter climates. White or pink flowers. From Texas. ZONES: 2B-24.

Pincushion Flower

Scabiosa columbaria ‘Butterfly Blue’. July-October or nearly all year in mild climates. Deadheading important. ZONES: 2-11, 14-24.

S. c. ‘Pink Mist’. Same as ‘Butterfly Blue’. ZONES: 2-11, 14-24.

Purple Coneflower

Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’. Summer. Pinkish purple flowers with orange-brown centers. Birds like the seeds. ZONES: A2-A3, 1-24.

E. p. ‘White Swan’. Summer. White with orange-yellow centers. Birds like the seeds. ZONES: A2-A3, 1-24.

Russian Sage

Perovskia. July-fall. Blue flowers. Can be an aggressive spreader in California; better in Northwest and mountains. ZONES: 2-24.


Salvia confertiflora. Fall-winter in mild areas. Dark orange flowers have reddish brown velvet on stems and calyx tubes. Favored by hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies. ZONES: 16-17, 22-24.

S. nemorosa ‘Ostfriesland’. Summer-fall if deadheaded. Violet blue flowers with pink to purple bracts. Favored by hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies. ZONES: 2-10, 14-24.

S. x sylvestris ‘Blue Hill’. Spring-fall if deadheaded. ZONES: 2-10, 14-24.

S. x s. ‘May Night’. Favored by hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies. ZONES: 2-10, 14-24.

Shasta Daisy

Chrysanthemum maximum ‘Esther Read’. Summer, with rebloom if cut back after first round. White double. ZONES: A1-A3, 1-24.

C. m. ‘Ryan’s White’. Summer, with rebloom if cut back after first round. White single. ZONES: A1-A3, 1-24.

C. m. ‘Snow Lady’. Summer-fall; nearly continuous. 10 inches tall with white flowers. ZONES: A1-A3, 1-24.


Helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’. Summer-fall. Coppery red flowers with brown centers. ZONES: A1-A3, 1-24.

H. autumnale. Summer-fall. Yellow flowers. ZONES: 1-24.


Veronica hybrid ‘Sunny Border Blue’. Late spring through first frost with deadheading. ZONES: 1-9, 14-21.

Summer Phlox

Phlox paniculata ‘Bright Eyes’. Dome-shaped flower clusters (rose pink with darker eye) through summer. ZONES: 1-14, 18-21.


Verbena ‘Homestead Purple’. Late spring-fall. Spreading. ZONES: 2-24.

V. Tapien hybrids. Late spring-fall. Spreading, many colors. ZONES: 4-9, 12-24, H1-H2.

V. lilacina ‘De La Mina’. Spring-fall or nearly all year in mild-winter climates. Purple flowers. ZONES: 12-24.


Achillea ‘Moonshine’. June-September. Deep lemon yellow. ZONES: A1-A3, 1-24.

Achillea filipendulina ‘Coronation Gold’. June-September. ZONES: A1-A3, 1-24.

A. millefolium. June-September. Flowers come in rose, pink, lavender, salmon, yellow, and red. ZONES: A1-A3, 1-24.