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Annual and Perennial Flowers for North Dakota (H322)

The organization of this publication is to provide annual suggestions for specific locations in and around the landscape: Low growing plants, tall, shade, full sun/dry locations, for massing, naturalizing, and fragrance.

Barb Laschkewitsch, Agricultural Research Specialist

Esther McGinnis, Extension Horticulturist


Annuals and perennials are an excellent source of color and beauty for North Dakota landscapes.

Flower

Annuals are used for their continuous flower color throughout most of the growing season. Perennials are used for their permanence in the landscape setting, offering specific periods of bloom, relatively low maintenance and wide adaptability.

While annuals are started anew each growing season, perennials usually can be divided in the spring or fall. These new divisions can be replanted or given to a friend or neighbor.

Because North Dakota summers are so unpredictable, putting out transplants after killing frost threats have passed usually is a good idea.

This publication provides suggestions for flowers for specific locations in and around the landscape. These include low-growing and tall plants, and plants for shade and full-sun/dry locations, massing, attracting pollinators and fragrance.

This does not mean a plant selected for a particular location absolutely cannot grow in another type of location. This is merely a guide indicating where the selected plants grow best under those conditions. Some plants may be listed in more than one category.

Annuals

Low-growing (6 to 8 inches)

Ageratum
Alyssum
Dahlberg daisy
Dianthus
Dusty Miller
Lobelia
Marigolds (French or dwarf)
Moss rose
Nemophilia
Nierembergia
Pansy
Petunias (spreading) (Figure 1)

Photo by Esther McGinnis, NDSU

Figure 1. Spreading petunias are used effectively in the front of this landscape bed. (Esther McGinnis, NDSU)

Snapdragons (dwarf)
Vinca (spreading)
Zinnia (dwarf)

Intermediate (10 to 20 inches)

Angelonia (Figure 2)

Angelonias

Figure 2. Angelonias are a great medium-height plant. (Esther McGinnis, NDSU)

Begonia (wax)
Gaillardia
Gomphrena
Geranium
Impatiens
Marigold
Petunia
Salvia (S. splendens)
Verbena
Vinca
Zinnia (Z. angustifolia)

Tall (24 to 48-plus inches)

Cannas
Celosia (Figure 3)

Photo by Esther McGinnis, NDSU

Figure 3. Celosia adds color and height to the garden. (Esther McGinnis, NDSU)

Cleome
Cosmos
Fountain grass
Gaura
Marigold (American or African)
Nicotiana
Snapdragon
Statice
Zinnia (Z. elegans)

Plants for Shade

Begonia (wax and tuberous)
Coleus (Figure 4)

Photo by Esther McGinnis, NDSU

Figure 4. Coleus leaves brighten the shade. (Esther McGinnis, NDSU)

Dahlberg daisy (light shade)
Impatiens (Standard and New Guinea)
Lobelia (light shade)
Myosotis (forget-me-not)
Nemesia (light shade)
Nemophila (light shade)
Nicotiana (light shade)
Nigella
Pansy
Poppy (light shade or east side)
Torenia (light shade)

Full Sun/Dry Locations

Calendula
California poppy
Cleome
Dusty Miller (Senecio)
Gaillardia
Lisianthus (Eustoma)
Moss rose (Portulaca)Rudbeckia (Figure 5)

Photo by Esther McGinnis, NDSU

Figure 5. Annual forms of Rudbeckia are very striking. (Esther McGinnis, NDSU)

Statice (Limonium)
Sanvitalia
Tithonia (Mexican sunflower)
Verbena
Vinca

Striking Flower Show – Massed Plantings

Alyssum
Cannas
Dianthus
Dahlberg daisy
Geranium
Marigold
Moss rose (Portulaca)
Petunia
Salvia
Snapdragon
Verbena
Zinnia

Annual Plants for Attracting Pollinators

Alyssum
Cleome
Cosmos
Lantana (Figure 6)

Photo by Esther McGinnis, NDSU

Figure 6. Lantana attracts butterflies. (Esther McGinnis, NDSU)

Marigold
Pentas
Sunflower
Verbena
Zinnia

Annuals Planted for Fragrance

Agastache
Alyssum
Four-o’clock
Heliotrope
Lavender
Mignonette
Moonflower (vine)
Nasturtium
Nicotiana
Pincushion flower
Snapdragon
Stock
Sweet pea

Annuals for Drying

Amaranthus (A. caudatus)
Celosia
Fountain grass (Pennisetum sp.)
Gomphrena
Salvia (S. farinacea)
Statice
Strawflower

Vining Annuals

Black-eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia)
Cup and saucer vine (Cobeae)
Morning glory (Ipomoea)
Purple hyacinth bean (Lablab)
Sweet pea

Good for Cut Flowers

Dahlias
Dianthus
Fountain grass (Pennisetum)
Gladiolus
Gomphrena
Lisianthus
Snapdragons (Tall)
Statice
Sunflower
Zinnia (Z.elegans)

Perennials

Perennials often are used to solve troublesome spots in the landscape. Some of these areas might be wet, dry or shady, or possess infertile soil. Perennials are effective as background plantings, for naturalizing or simply as a border to define a planting bed.

Wet areas could be planted with Iris sibirica, Monarda didyma and Viola odorata. For dry areas, consider using yarrow (Achillea) or daylilies (Hemerocallis). Where the soil is poor, blue false indigo (Baptisia australis) could be used.

For tall background plantings, consider Phlox paniculata or Boltonia asteroides ‘Snowbank.’ Naturalized plantings may use prairie gayfeather (Liatris pycnostachya) or purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), while rocky areas will accommodate plantings of columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) and basket-of-gold (Aurinia saxatilis ‘Citrina’).

Borders can be accented effectively with snow-in-summer (Cerastium tomentosum) or moss pink (Phlox subulata).

Perennial selection can be made on the basis of flower color and the season of bloom. The following selections will highlight these qualities.

Color Guide

Blue to Purple

Ajuga
Aquilegia
Campanula (Figure 7)

Photo by Esther McGinnis, NDSU

Figure 7. Campanula glomerata ‘Joan Elliot’ has lovely purple petals. (Esther McGinnis, NDSU)

Delphinium
Echinacea
Hosta
Iris
Liatris
Nepeta
Phlox
Platycodon
Salvia
Scabiosa
Symphyotrichum (aster)
Veronica
Viola

Pink to Red

Achillea millefolium
Astilbe (Figure 8)

Photo by Esther McGinnis, NDSU

 Figure 8. The pink spires of astilbe light up the shade. (Esther McGinnis, NDSU)

Boltonia
Dianthus
Dicentra
Echinacea
Erigeron
Geranium
Hemerocallis
Heuchera
Iris
Lobelia cardinalis
Lychnis calcedonica
Paeonia
Phlox
Physostegia
Salvia ‘Rose Queen’
Sedum spectabile
Symphyotrichum (aster)

Gray to Blue, and Variegated Foliage

Achillea
Ajuga
Artemisia
Cerastium
Dianthus
Echinops
Heuchera
Hosta
Lamium
Nepeta
Sedum
Thymus

Yellow to Orange

Achillea ‘Coronation Gold’
Alchemilla
Aurinia saxatilis
Coreopsis (Figure 9)

Photo by Esther McGinnis, NDSU

Figure 9. Coreopsis adds cheer to the garden with its yellow flowers. (Esther McGinnis, NDSU)

Gaillardia
Hemerocallis
Heliopsis
Iris
Ligularia
Linum flavum
Oenothera
Papaver orientale
Ratibida
Rudbeckia
Sedum
Solidago

White

Achillea ‘Angels Breath’
Arabis albida
Aruncus
Astilbe
Boltonia
Cerastium
Dendranthemum
Dianthus
Dicentra
Dictamnus
Echinacea (Figure 10)

Photo by Esther McGinnis, NDSU

Figure 10. Echinacea ‘White Swan’ brightens a garden. (Esther McGinnis, NDSU)

Hosta
Iris
Paeonia
Phlox
Symphyotrichum (aster)
Veronica
Yucca

Season of Bloom

May to June

Ajuga
Cerastium
Dicentra
Dictamnus
Erigeron
Geranium
Iris
Lychnis chalcedonica
Paeonia
Viola

June to July

Aruncus
Campanula
Delphinium (Figure 11)

Photo by Esther McGinnis, NDSU

Figure 11. Delphinium brings height and a vivid blue to the landscape. (Esther McGinnis, NDSU)

Heuchera
Salvia ‘Rose Queen’

July to August

Achillea ‘Angels Breath’
Ligularia
Lobelia cardinalis
Monarda
Physostegia
Ratibida

August to September

Boltonia
Sedum spectabile
Symphyotrichum (aster)

Extended Season of Bloom

Achillea millefolium
Aquilegia (Figure 12)

Photo by Esther McGinnis, NDSU

Figure 12. Aquilegia comes in different colors. (Esther McGinnis, NDSU)

Coreopsis
Echinacea
Dianthus
Gaillardia
Heliopsis
Hemerocallis
Hosta
Liatris
Linum flavum
Oenothera
Phlox
Rudbeckia
Sedum
Solidago
Veronica

Foliar Impacts

Gray, Blue and Variegated – Season long

Achillea
Ajuga
Artemisia
Cerastium
Dianthus
Echinops
Gypsophila
Heuchera
Hosta
Lamium
Perovskia
Sedum
Thymus

Shade-tolerant Perennials

Ajuga spp.
Aquilegia canadensis
Asarum canadense
Astilbe spp
Bergenia cordifolia
Campanula spp.
Centaurea macrocephala
Cimicifuga racemosa
Coreopsis spp.
Dicentra spectabilis
Digitalis spp.
Hosta spp.
Lamium spp.
Mertensia virginica
Myosotis spp.
Phlox divaricata
Ranunculus repens
Sedum kamtschaticum

Heights

Less than 12 inches

Ajuga
Asarum
Aurinia
Cerastium
Dianthus deltoides
Coreopsis ‘Golden Shower’
Iris cristata
Iris pumila
Oenothera missourensis (Figure 13)

Photo by Esther McGinnis, NDSU

Figure 13. Oenothera is a low-growing perennial. (Esther McGinnis, NDSU)

Phlox subulata
Sedum
Viola

12 to 24 inches

Achillea ‘Baby’s Breath’
Achillea ‘Moonshine’
Achillea ‘Fire King’
Arum
Asarum
Campanula rotundifolia
Coreposis auriculata ‘Nana’
Dendranthemum
Dianthus barbatus
Dictamnus albus
Erigeron ‘Walther’
Geranium
Heuchera sanguinea
Hosta lancifolia
Iris, Bearded
Linum perenne
Lychnis X arkwrightii
Paeonia tenuifolia
Phlox divaricata
Sedum aizoon
Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’
Sedum spectabile
Veronica ‘Crater Lake Blue’
Veronica spicata

More than 24 inches

Achillea filipendulina
Aquilegia canadensis
Aster
Astilbe
Boltonia asteroides ‘Snowbank’
Campanula glomerata
Coreopsis ‘Golden Shower’
Delphinium elatum
Dictamnus albus ‘Purpureus’
Echinacea purpurea
Echinops vitro
Eryngium X zabelii ‘Amethyst’
Hosta sieboldiana
Iris
Liatris spicata
Lychnis chalcedonica
Monarda didyma
Papaver orientale
Phlox paniculata
Physostegia virginiana
Rudbeckia
Salvia
Solidago ‘Gold Dwarf’
Veronica virginica
Yucca (Figure 14)

Photo by Esther McGinnis, NDSU

Figure 14. Yucca thrives in dry soils. (Esther McGinnis, NDSU)

All-America Selection (AAS) Winners

Courtesy All-America Selections

 2014 AAS winner Florific™ Sweet Orange New Guinea Impatiens. (Courtesy All-America Selections)

All-America Selections is an independent, nonprofit organization that tests new varieties of annuals and vegetables across the U.S. Each year, All-America Selections winners are announced. Interested gardeners should consider using these varieties in their plant selections, whether these are current winners or winners from previous years.

These are the most extensively tested herbaceous plants in North America. NDSU has two AAS demonstration gardens: one on the campus in Fargo and the other at the Williston Research Extension Center. There, you can observe just how well these selections are doing under “normal” care.

Information on All-America Selection winners.

The Perennial Plant of the Year

Photo by Esther McGinnis, NDSU

Polygonatum odoratum ‘Variegatum’ (Variegated Solomon’s Seal) was the 2013 Perennial Plant of the Year. (Esther McGinnis, NDSU)

The Perennial Plant of the Year (POY) program began in 1990 to showcase a perennial that is a standout among its competitors. Perennials chosen are suitable for a wide range of growing climates, require low maintenance, have multiple-season interest and are relatively pest/disease-free. If you are looking for an excellent perennial for your next landscape project or something reliable for your gardens, make sure to check out the Perennial Plant of the Year archive list at www.perennialplant.org/education/plant-of-the-year. More information about other perennials can be found in the Plant Database.

USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Plant Hardiness Zone Map (Figure 15) provides guidance for planting perennials. The southern two-thirds of the state is in zone 4. Gardeners in zone 4 should look for perennials that are hardy to zone 4 or a lower number.

NDSU Hardiness Zone Map

Figure 15. The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is based on the average lowest winter temperature for the years 1976-2005.

The northern one-third of the state is in zone 3. Gardeners there should purchase perennials that are hardy to zone 3 or lower. Hardiness zones are indicated on the plant label.

Gardeners who live near the boundary of zone 4 and 3 should be more conservative and purchase zone 3 plants.

Common Name Reference

Annuals

Ageratum — Floss flower
Amaranthus — Love-lies-bleeding
Antirrhinum — Snapdragon
Begonia — Begonia
Briza — Quaking grass, rattlesnake grass
Calendula — Calendula
Campanula — Bellflower
Catharanthus — Annual vinca
Celosia — Cockscomb, plumed and crested
Centaurea — Basket flower
Chrysanthemum — Chrysanthemum
Cleome — Spider flower
Coleus — Coleus, flame nettle
Consolida — Larkspur
Coreopsis — Calliopsis
Cosmos — Cosmos
Cynoglossum — Chinese forget-me-not
Dianthus — Pink, sweet William
Dyssodia — Dahlberg daisy
Eschscholzia — California poppy
Eustoma — Lisianthus, prairie gentian
Gaillardia — Blanket flower
Gerbera — Transvaal daisy
Gomphrena — Globe amaranth
Helichrysum — Strawflower
Iberis — Rocket candytuft
Impatiens — Garden balsam
Ipomoea — Moonflower, morning glory
Lathyrus — Sweet pea
Limonium — Statice, sea lavender
Lobelia — Lobelia
Lobularia — Sweet alyssum
Moluccella — Bells-of-Ireland
Myosotis — Forget-me-not
Nemesia — Pouch nemesia
Nicotiana — Flowering tobacco
Nigella — Nigella, fennel flower
Papaver — Poppy, Iceland poppy
Pelargonium — Geranium
Petunia — Petunia
Phlox — Annual phlox
Portulaca — Portulaca, moss rose
Rudbeckia — Coneflower
Salvia — Salvia, sage
Senecio — Dusty Miller
Tagetes — Marigold
Tithonia — Mexican sunflower
Tropaeolum — Nasturtium
Viola — Violet, viola, pansy
Zinnia — Zinnia

Perennials

Achillea — Yarrow
Ajuga — Bugleweed
Alchemilla — Lady’s mantle
Anaphalis — Pearly everlasting
Aquilegia — Columbine
Arabis — Rock cress
Artemisia — Wormwood
Aruncus — Goatsbeard
Astilbe — Astilbe, false spirea
Aurinia — Basket-of-gold
Boltonia — Boltonia
Campanula — Bellflower
Cerastium — Snow-in-summer
Coreopsis — Tickseed
Delphinium — Delphinium, larkspur
Dendranthemum — Garden mum
Dianthus — Pink
Dicentra — Bleeding heart
Dictamnus — Gas plant
Echinacea — Purple coneflower
Erigeron — Fleabane
Gaillardia — Blanket flower
Geranium — Cranesbill
Gypsophila — Baby’s breath
Heliopsis — False sunflower, oxeye
Hemerocallis — Daylily
Heuchera — Alumroot
Hosta — Plantain lily
Iris — Iris
Lamium — Dead nettle
Liatris — Blazing star, gayfeather
Ligularia — Bigleaf goldenray
Linum — Flax
Lobelia — Cardinal flower
Lychnis — Arkwright campion, rose campion
Monarda — Bee balm
Myosotis — Forget-me-not
Nepeta — Catmint
Oenothera — Sundrops, primrose
Paeonia — Peony
Papaver — Poppy
Perovskia — Azure sage, Russian sage
Phlox — Prairie phlox
Physotegia — Obedience, false dragonhead
Ratibida — Prairie coneflower
Rudbeckia — Coneflower, black-eyed Susan
Salvia — Sage
Scabiosa — Pincushion flower
Sedum — Stonecrop
Solidago — Goldenrod
Symphyotrichum — Aster
Thymus — Thyme
Veronica — Speedwell
Viola — Violet
Yucca — Adam’s needle

This publication was authored by Barb Laschkewitsch, NDSU agricultural research specialist, and Ron Smith, retired NDSU Extension horticulturist.

May 2016

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