53 Favourite Perennials to Plant in Zone 3 | SHIFTING ROOTS

53 Favourite Perennials to Plant in Zone 3

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.

And finally, if you’re someone who prefers to watch a video, here’s a shorter video version of this post:

Best Cut Flowers

1. Asiatic Lilies

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.

2. Hydrangea

I’ve had poor luck with hydrangeas, but I know many others who’ve been successful.  Look for a variety that can withstand prairie winters.  Did you know you can change the colour of your hydrangea?  Learn how at Garden Therapy.

3. Peonies

Like any other millennial, I am OBSESSED with peonies.  I also happen to have no less than 8 plants in my yard.  Last year I went a little peony crazy and made a whole bunch of easy flower arrangements with them, and I plan on doing it again.  I also made this guide to growing and using your beautiful peony blooms.

4. Delphiniums

Delphiniums are stunning along the fence of your yard, as they grow to around 5 ft tall.  Be sure to stake them or provide a cage for them if you plant them in a windy spot.

5. Iris

Although the blooms tend to be short-lived, irises are a gorgeous addition to your garden.

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6. Lupins

Lupins are a keeper because they bloom all summer long.  They come in a variety of colours and are beautiful in floral arrangements.

7. Limonium

8. Foxglove

While foxgloves are stunning, they are also poisonous.  Hold off on planting them if you have small children who tend to put everything in their mouth.

9. Baby’s breath

The staple of florists everywhere.

10. Heliopsis

Heliopsis can grow quite tall, so put them in the back of your border.  These flowers are a less-invasive alternative to daisies.

11. Goldenrod

My favourite time of year is in late August and early September when goldenrod fills the Saskatchewan ditches.  If you’re going to be a weed, you might as well be pretty.  However, when I plant it in my own garden, I haven’t had a lot of success.

The Shade Lovers

12. Hostas

Hostas are the stars of any shade garden. They come in many beautiful patterns, are slow to spread, and have beautiful white flowers.  Have a bare spot with little to no sun?  Hostas are your solution.

13. Bleeding Hearts

Whether you get them in white, soft pink, or the classic dark pink, Bleeding Hearts are easy to grow and add colour to your shadiest spots.

14. Siberian Bugloss/Jack Frost

Heart shaped leaves and dainty blue flowers?  What’s not to love?  Learn more about this plant on Fine Gardening.

15. Ladies Mantle

Lovely lime coloured flowers add interest to your shady spots.

16. Ligularia

Ligularia can grow to around 6ft tall, so place it along a fence!  While it will grow in complete shade, it does better if it gets 3 hours of sunlight a day.

17. Bergenia

A lovely old-fashioned perennial with long-lasting blooms.

18. False Spirea/Astible/False Goat’s Beard

It goes by many names and is sure to bring colour to your shadiest spots.  Pick one up in white, light pink, and dark pink.

The Controversial

These picks made the most-regretted list, but they don’t have to be a mistake in your garden.  Just make sure you keep these ones contained, or embrace the growth.

19. Daylilies

Daylilies come in every colour and combination imaginable.  Avoid the orange ones pictured here if you want to avoid spreading.

20. Hollyhocks

Hollyhocks are a stunning and tall flower that comes in many beautiful shades.  It spreads quickly, so keep it contained to one spot if you don’t want it to spread.

21. Yarrow

Yarrow is perfect for floral arrangements, but impossible to get out of your lawn once it spreads.

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22. Poppies

Poppies make the controversial list only because they easily get out of control.  They’re so pretty though that you probably wouldn’t mind if they did.

23. Ferns

As of today, I have pulled at least 82 ferns out of my backyard this year.  No, I’m not exaggerating, and no, I’m not done.  I personally hate ferns, but I know that many other gardeners love them for their shady spots.

Update: I pulled out close to 400 ferns over 2 years. I know many of you adore ferns, but I will forever not.


Related: Gardeners Worst Nightmares: 28 Perennials You’ll Regret Planting


24. Veronicas

Veronicas stay in bloom for most of the summer and look beautiful in floral arrangements.  Some gardeners in the Gardening in Saskatchewan Facebook Group report a huge spreading problem, and others do not.

Fun-shaped Perennials

25. Allium

This gorgeous member of the onion family is sure to add interest to your yard.


Want to Create a Perennial Garden that Constantly Blooms from Spring to Fall, without Constant Work? Here’s how. . .

Everything you need to easily create your own perennial garden with constant blooms. You’ll get an easy to follow system, along with 5 templates and 5 done-for-you plans, plus fun bonuses.

Learn More Here!


26. Sea Thrift

27. Columbine

Columbines come in a wide range of colours, bloom for a longer period of time, and tolerate shade.

28. Liatris/Blazing Star

A must have for visual interest and when you want to grow more native perennials.

29. Achillea the Pearl

I wish I could have found a free stock image of achillea the pearl, because it’s sweet white flowers are so beautiful.  You’ll want to add this stunner to your garden.  Find seeds here.

30. Blanketflower/Gailardia

The vibrant combination of orange and yellow adds some much needed colour to your garden. Gardillias are also a beautiful option when you’re trying to grow more native plants.

31. Sedum

Sedums come in so many shapes, sizes, and flowering options that you won’t be able to pick just one. I personally love the Autumn Joy variety for late season blooming.

32. Balloon Flowers/Platycodon

Balloon flowers literally have a flower within a flower.  When closed they are in the balloon shape that gave them their name.  Children adore this plant, so consider getting one if you have small children or grandchildren.

Spring Blooms

Plant spring bulbs in the fall so you can enjoy beautiful blooms in the spring.

33. Tulips

Tulips can be found in almost every colour and combination.  I still love the classic red and yellow, and nothing else quite says spring to me.

34. Crocuses

Plant crocuses in your lawn for an early hit of colour.  Don’t worry, they’ll be done blooming by the time you actually have to mow.


Related: Secret Spots to Find Wild Crocuses in Saskatchewan

The Best Cut Flowers For Your Garden


35. Daffodils

Shrubs

36. Spirea

My mom’s spirea has often been the victim of many floral arrangements.  I personally like the variety that has pink flowers and lime coloured leaves.

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36. Weigela

I have a feeling that if I owned a weigela, it would also be the victim of many floral arrangements.

37. Lilacs

Purchase a lilac for the beautiful scent of spring.  Scratch that.  Purchase three, so you can have one in white, light purple, and dark purple.

38. Roses

Roses are beautiful but do require maintenance.  Beginner gardeners should wait until they have a bit more confidence in their skills before purchasing one.  If you’re in Saskatchewan, be sure to purchase one of the Morden varieties developed for the Prairies.

39. Double Flowering Plum

These are the the most beautiful pink bloomed trees of spring.  You’ll definitely want to pick one up if you have the space.  Check out this Calgary-based company for a place to order, or your local nursery.

Edible

40. Chives

Delicious and beautiful.  Use chives in the place of onions in your recipes.

41. Chocolate Mint

Unlike it’s cousin the mint plant, chocolate mint does not spread!

42. Asparagus

If you plant asparagus, don’t expect to eat a meal from it until three years later.

43. Sage

Sage is equally good in soups and stews as it is as a filler plant in a flower arrangement.  It’s also quite hardy and can withstand frost to around -5 celsius.

44. Borage

Borage is an extremely useful plant for both edible and medicinal purposes.  It makes a wonderful companion plant in the vegetable garden.

Groundcover

Sorry for the lack of pictures in this section. . . I guess ground cover perennials aren’t a popular photography subject.  I’ve provided links to pictures on other sites. Many of these also work as plants that you can grow underneath a tree.

45. Creeping Phlox

A gorgeous filler plant that looks especially stunning in a rock garden.

46. Mother of Thyme

Learn all about mother of thyme on Wikipedia.

47. Silvermound

Silvermound is maybe a bit of a stretch for a ground cover, as it does keep its clumped shape.  However, it will spread.  It’s super easy to grow and will survive the hottest summer days.

48. Golden Globe

A lovely ground cover with beautiful small yellow flowers.  Learn more at Dave’s Garden.

49. Hens and Chicks

Keep it outdoors as a ground cover, or transfer it inside over winter and take part in the succulent craze.

Vines

50. Clematis

Perfect for growing over an archway.

53 tried-and-true perennials for the beginner flower gardener.Click To Tweet

Small Blooms

51. Smooth prairie aster

A beautiful perennial that is native to Saskatchewan.  It’s one of my favourite flowers to see in the ditches in summer.

52. Dianthus

53. Butterfly Weed

Some varieties have a tendency to be invasive, but this perennial is a must-have for attracting pollinators to your garden.

Aren’t all these options beautiful?  Just because you’re gardening in zone 3 doesn’t mean you can’t have a beautiful garden.  I’d love to know which flowers you’ll be planting this year and if there’s any that should be on this list.  See you in the comments!


Want to Create a Perennial Garden that Constantly Blooms from Spring to Fall, without Constant Work? Here’s how. . .

Everything you need to easily create your own perennial garden with constant blooms. You’ll get an easy to follow system, along with 5 templates and 5 done-for-you plans, plus fun bonuses.

Learn More Here!


Pin me for later!

Build a low maintenance flower bed in your back yard or front yard with these 53 perennial flower and shrub plant ideas. Perfect for the beginner gardener landscaping a flower garden in USDA hardiness zone 3 (although these picks will work in many other zones as well!). Quickly add curb appeal on a small budget! #flowergarden #landscaping #gardening #perennials #flowers #curbappeal #backyard #frontyard

Kristen Raney

Kristen Raney

Kristen is a former farm kid turned urban gardener who owns the popular gardening website, Shifting Roots.  She is obsessed with growing flowers and pushing the limits of what can be grown in her zone 3b garden.  She also loves to grow tomatoes, but oddly enough, dislikes eating them raw.

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Kristen

Welcome!

Hi, I'm Kristen and I help new gardeners learn to grow their own vegetables and beautify their yards. I also share recipes that use all that delicious garden produce. Grab a coffee (and your gardening gloves) and join me for gardening tips, simple recipes, and the occasional DIY, all from the lovely city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

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