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Perennial Fern
Shasta Daisy
Hens and Chick & Sedum
Mrs. Huff Lantana

The Garden Guru's Top Ten Perennials

From their spring appearance, seasonal flowering, and gentle decline, perennials play a vital role in the garden. McDonald Garden Center’s Garden Guru, Mike Westphal, shares his top ten perennials for Hampton Roads.


Perennials grow back each year from roots that go dormant in the soil in the winter.


Daylilies are often referred to as the perfect perennial for lots of reasons. Not only do they come in a variety of colors and sizes, but they also survive in a wide range of climates, often with very little care.

  • Full sun.
  • Easy to grow.
  • Come in an assortment of colors, yellows, reds, corals, etc.
  • Repeat bloomers.
  • Little deadheading require but will help them to continue to bloom.
  • Available in both compact and larger varieties.
  • Can be divided in early spring or fall (after they finish blooming).
  • Deer resistant.

Daylily Varieties:
Happy Returns • Stella d ora • Rosy Returns

#9 - FERNS

Ferns provide excellent texture in the shade garden and can be planted as companions to bright blooms or as stand-alone in the landscape.

  • Shade-loving (prefers afternoon shade).
  • Low maintenance.
  • Great for containers and growing in the landscape.
  • Add texture and movement in the landscape.
  • Available in a variety of colors (light, dark and bluish-green), and ornamental patterns (deep cut, serrated, or lacy details).
  • Can be divided.
  • Most are evergreen in our area.
  • Great as a filler in cut arrangements.
  • Deer resistant.

Fern Varieties:
Autumn Brilliance • Japanese Painted Fern • Tassel Fern • Hollyhock Fern • Ostrich Fern


Shasta daisies are an all-time favorite for the home garden and mix beautifully with other perennials. The large, pure white flowers and smooth, long stems make them perfect for cutting.

  • Full sun.
  • Hardy, tough plant.
  • Ideal in the landscape.
  • Lots of bloom power.
  • Produce classic daisy-shaped blooms.
  • Low maintenance.
  • Minimal deadheading required.
  • Drought tolerant.
  • Available in different colors (white is the most prevalent).
  • Come in different sizes.
  • Use in cut flower arrangements.
  • Can divide.
  • Deer and rabbit resistant.

Shasta Daisy Varieties:
Becky Shasta Daisy • Goldfinch Daisy • Crazy Daises


Rudbeckia are brightly colored perennials in shades of yellow, orange, and gold. They bloom for weeks in the summer garden with minimal care. They’re also a
favorite of pollinators.

  • Full sun.
  • Summer blooming.
  • Low maintenance.
  • Spreading habitat.
  • Drought tolerant.
  • Attracts pollinators.
  • Great as a cut flower.
  • Deer and rabbit resistant.

Rudbeckia Varieties:
Goldstrum Rudbeckia • Mini Beckia Flame


Hens & chicks are mat-forming succulents that produce clusters of rosettes. The parent rosettes are the “hens,” and the smaller rosettes that spring from them are the “chicks”. This low-growing perennial spreads quickly.

  • Full sun (some varieties will grow in light shade).
  • Low maintenance.
  • Easy to grow.
  • Drought tolerant.
  • Great as a groundcover.
  • Foliage can be red, green or a mixture thereof (some produce flowers).
  • Offers lots of texture in pots or in the landscape.
  • Available in purple, tricolored, greens, rosy-reds/pinks, etc.
  • Most are evergreen in our area.
  • Ideal in containers or in the landscape.

Hens and Chicks/Succulent Varieties
Little Miss Sunshine (stone crop) • Jaden Rose • Commander Hay • Odon • Autumn Fire


Perennial grasses are treasured for their hardiness, ease of care, dramatic appearance, and the wide variety of colors, textures, and sizes available. Large or small, grass brings rich texture, contrast and movement to most any space throughout all seasons.

  • Most grasses prefer full sun but some varieties can take shade to part shade.
  • Durable.
  • Versatile and easy to grow.
  • Beautiful plumes and some flowers.
  • Use in containers or in the landscape.
  • Great planted in masses.
  • Most bloom late summer fall.
  • Cut back in March/April (six to eight inches from the ground).

Grass Varieties:
Pampas • Sea Oat • Hamelin Pennisetum • Little Bunny • Pink Muhly • Blue Dune Fescue • Juncus Blue Arrow • Carex Everillo Sedge Grass • Liriope • Mexican Feather Grass • Horsetail Reed • Mondo • Black Mondo


Heucheras, also known as coral bells or alum root, are shade perennials known mostly for their striking, robust foliage. Heucheras begin to bloom in late spring and produce clusters of small blooms on spindly stems, typically in a magenta pink (hence the name coral bells).

  • shade-loving.
  • Easy to grow.
  • Gorgeous colors and leaf patterns.
  • Features wands of delicate cream to red bell shaped flowers.
  • Adds texture.
  • Great as a filler in containers or mixed in with other blooms in the landscape.
  • Blooms all season long.
  • Deer resistant.

Heuchera Varieties:
Carnival Black Olive • Redstone • Pumpkin Spice • Midnight Rose


Hostas can turn a dull, shady part of the yard into an beautiful, low-maintenance landscape. Unlike most perennials, hostas are grown for their colorful foliage rather than for their flowers. There are many varieties
to choose from, each with its own unique leaf shape, size, and color.

  • Shade-loving
  • Easy to grow.
  • Low maintenance.
  • Available in lots of varieties, sizes, and colors
  • (Variegated and non-variegated leaf patterns).
  • Easy to grow in containers and in the landscape.
  • Attracts butterflies.

Hosta Varieties:
Patriot • Mighty Mouse • Curly Fries • Great Expectations • White Margin • Empress Blue


Salvias, also called sages, are easy to grow, bloom abundantly, and are a beautiful addition to the landscape. The blooms offer long-lasting color and attract butterflies and pollinators. Available in different varieties and colors including blues, purples, pinks, reds as well as some whites and yellows.

  • Full sun.
  • Easy to grow.
  • Heat tolerant.
  • Comes in whites, pinks, reds, purples, yellows, and whites.
  • Attracts pollinators.
  • Deer resistant.

Salvia Varieties:
Blue Marvel • Snow Hill • Hot Lips • Mexican Bush Sage • Black and Blue


This easy-to-grow perennial boasts vibrant yellow, pink & orange blooms and loves the summer heat! You simply can’t beat lantana for summer-long blooms and heat tolerance.

  • Full sun.
  • Easy to grow and durable.
  • Bush-like habitat (can grow large).
  • Available in oranges, reds, and pinks.
  • Great in containers, hanging baskets and in the landscape.
  • Heat and drought tolerant.
  • No deadheading required.
  • Can be pruned to desired shape.
  • Attract pollinators.