Starting a garden is fun but intimidating. There’s so many things to learn and so many varieties of plants to try and grow. While I’m not a super experienced gardener yet, here’s what I’ve learned so far.
You asked for it and you got it: a list of the most-loved perennials for Zone 3. These perennials are the stars of the garden, blooming year after year and delighting their owners every time. Pick these winners up at your nearest garden centre, or ask a friend with a more established garden if you can dig up a few.
A huge thank you and shout out to the gardeners in the Gardening in Saskatchewan Facebook group! This post would not be possible without you. If you’re in Saskatchewan and not in this group already, you need to join. I’ve learned so much from the more experienced gardeners there who are so generous with their time and advice.
Best Cut Flowers
Asiatic lilies come in every colour and combination and are easy to grow. Put them in a sunny spot and they’ll flourish year after year.
Perennial plants are a good investment. Plant once and have flowers that bloom for years. However, some plants that seem innocent enough literally take over the garden and quickly spiral out of control. Others bloom for such a short time that they don’t seem worth the trouble. Here’s a list of 28 perennials I’d rather not see in my next garden.
Lily of the Valley
Hated by experienced gardeners everywhere, it’s best to confine this one to a pot if you can.
Plant only if you like running around in circles trying to contain it.
I love yarrow, especially for making floral arrangements all summer long. However, it will spread to your lawn and is very difficult to get out.
If you’ve read this blog any amount of time, you know I really dislike ferns. Last year I removed at least 100 from our yard, and this year I’m already at 22. (I’ve only cleaned out the area that I worked on last year. . . grr.) They look beautiful, but if you want to remove them it takes a lot of muscle power. I recommend using a garden claw.
These are EVERYWHERE in my overgrown backyard and they are driving me crazy. However, I’ve had decent luck keeping them under control since I dug up most of them last year. This tied for most hated perennial in my local gardening Facebook group.
Just don’t. Yes, they are pretty, but they’ll be out of control within 3 years.
I LOVE my Chinese lanterns, but they are slowly taking over my lawn. The roots travel just below the surface, so chemicals are the only way to get them under control.
Lemon Mint (Beebalm)
A beautiful herb that is so aggressive it will grow in gravel. Enough said.
Any plant that resembles a dandelion in full seed is probably not a good idea.
Self seeding and fast-spreading. Unless you have lots of goldfinches that will eat the seeds and keep them under control, don’t plant it. See more photos at Dave’s Garden.
Very useful as a natural cleaner, but can run wild if it has ideal growing conditions. Learn more about soapwort at The Herb Gardener.
When a plant’s other name is Speed Well, you know it’s going to overtake your garden in short order.
Ground Cover Gone Wild
Another great solution for ground cover in a shaded area. . . until it takes over in 5 years.
Unless you want it as your lawn or have a horse to feed, don’t plant it.
Snow on the Mountain/ Bishop’s Goutweed
While it works great for ground cover in a shaded area, you will never, ever get rid of it. In my poll on my local Facebook Gardening group, this tied bellflowers as the most regretted plant.
Keep it in a Container
You know that friend who is always trying to pawn off mint to you? This is why.
Does a plant have mint in it’s name? Chances are it’s super invasive. Catmint and Lemon mint, I’m looking at you.
Shamrocks are beautiful indoor container plants, but become an invasive headache if planted outdoors.
Cut back aggressively in June and DO NOT plant anywhere outside of a container. For more information, check out perennials.com.
Irises are so gorgeous, but it seems like they last for 2 days and then they’re done. They can also get out of control if not divided regularly.
There are so many beautiful day lilies, but the varieties I’ve grown seem to bloom for less than a week and they take up a lot of space.
New to gardening? Check out our beginners guide to vegetable gardening when you literally have no clue.
Difficult in Saskatchewan
Any plant labeled Zone 4A or Higher
It doesn’t matter if you’re going to put it in a south facing spot right against the house. . . it will die. Unless you live in the southern-most areas of the province. Enjoy your zone 4A privilege. Nope. . .not bitter at all. . .
While not impossible to grow, especially if you choose a variety bred for the prairies, it is best left to more experienced gardeners.
Dahlias, Calla Lilies, or any other plant that you have to winter indoors
Unless you like that sort of thing. Carry on.
The Impossible to Kill
When I was young my Dad dug out our rhubarb plant at least a foot and half down and sprayed it with round-up. It still came back. I personally like having a rhubarb plant, but any more than one is excessive.
While the fruit is delicious, be prepared for your canes to spring up in unexpected places.
Snow on the Mountain/ Bishop’s Goutweed
It’s so hated it deserves to be listed under two categories.
Hollyhocks only live for two or three years but are masters of reseeding themselves.
While super useful as a medicinal plant, comfry plants can take DECADES before they start to decline. Learn more about it at The Spruce.
Perennial Bachelor’s Button
Another prolific self-seeder. Save yourself the headache and plant the annual version from seed instead.
The good news: it will grow in practically any light or soil condition. The bad news: it will grow in practically any light or soil condition.
The tansy weed can produce up to 150 000 seeds a plant that remain viable for up to 15 years. (Source: bcinvasives.ca)
One mans weed is another man’s favourite flower. If you really love any of these perennials, please don’t let this list stop you from planting them. You can always just embrace the overgrowth.
A super special thank you to the gardeners in the Gardening in Saskatchewan Facebook Group. Your generosity is amazing and this post would not have been possible without you!
Did I miss anything? I’d love to hear about your perennial gardening regrets.
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When we bought the current house we’re in, it was winter and our showing was at night. In those conditions everything seemed maybe a bit overgrown, but fine. How wrong we were.