forget-me-not pink floweres

Spring Flowering Perennials

These perennials bloom during the early growing season and are a welcome sight after a long-cold winter. Mix these spring flowering perennials in with your summer and fall-blooming flowers for a show of sequential blooms all gardening season.

spring flowering perennial Purple Bergenia a.k.a pigsqueak with cluster of purple flowers.
Bergenia a.k.a Pigsqueak. Called Pigsqueak because if you rub two leaves together it makes a squeaking sound.
Bergenia love shade or dappled sunlight and a great alternative to the hosta. Bloom time is April and May.
spring flowering perennial Pink heart-shaped flowers hanging from outstretched stem of a bleeding heart perennial plant.
Bleeding Heart. Heart-shaped pink flowers that dangle from outstretched stems.
Cool-moist areas are best with morning sun. These hearts bloom mid-May to June.
spring flowering perennial, ajuga, with pikes of purplish-blue small flowers
Ajuga a.k.a Bugleweed. Aggressive spreading ground cover that helps choke out weeds.
These flowers bloom early May through June.
Commonly used for hard-to-grow shady area, erosion control or under Black Walnut trees since it’s resistant to Juglone.
close up of a red bloom of the spring flowering perennial, fernleaf peony,
Fernleaf Peony. Deep red large flowers grow on fine-textured fern-like foliage that grows in a 1′-2′ foot mound.
Provide 6 hrs of sun and will bloom late-spring. May need stem support to prevent drooping.
Pink purple small flower blanketing over green foliage of a forget-me-not perennial.
Forget-Me-Not. Pink or blue flowers of Forget-Me-Not create a blanket of small flowers over a short 5 inch to 12 inch plant.
Used as a ground-cover in landscapes, this perennial is biennial and reseeds itself.
Deadhead blooms to prevent re-seeding if you want to inhibit spreading.
They start blooming in May and can re-bloom later in the season.
Yellow daily like flowers shoot up over glossy leaf of a squaw weed.
Squaw Weed a.k.a Round-Leaved Ragwort. Excellent ground cover with sea of long-lasting yellow flowers. Will
flower in full sun to part shade and spreads slowly and easy to contain. Blooms late-spring to early-summer.
Blue and pink columbine flowers mixed together in the morning sun.
Columbine. Blue, pink, or purple bell-shaped flowers great for part shade and woodland areas. Native Columbine
has smaller red and yellow flowers that tend to have slightly more nodding in the flowers. Blooms mid-spring.
White flowers of sweet woodruff plant bloom above umbrella shaped leaves.
Sweet Woodruff. Forms thick mats of foliage with small white flowers in late spring. Best grown in moist, shady areas.
Can handle dry shade but won’t grow as prolific. Blooms April and May.
yellow and orange poppy flowers.
Poppy. A shorter lived plant that easily reseeds itself for year-after-year blooms.
These delicate flowers love growing in full-sun. Will bloom in cooler weather April through June.
Geum. This is a member of the rose family that loves full morning sun and afternoon shade.
Mid-spring flowers perch atop fuzzy stems. Long-blooming flowers that butterflies adore!
Dead-head old flowers to push more blooms.
Bright yellow bracts surrounding tiny yellow flowers of a cushion spurge plant.
Cushion Spurge. The tiny yellows flowers are insignificant but the bright yellow bracts surrounding the blooms
is what makes this cushion-shaped plant a lovely spring perennial. The leaves will also turn orange in the fall.
Grow in full sun to avoid legginess. As part of the Eupohorbia family, it can handle drought once established.
Lungwort.
Dark lilac blooms peek out from glossy dark green leaves of a vinca minor plant.
Vinca Minor. Prolific bloomer with deep lilac color flowers. Vining habitat that creates a blanket of gorgeous glossy
dark leaves. Shade tolerant but produces more blooms in mostly sunny locations.
Colorful red  and blue flowers of primerose plant.
Primerose. These extremely colorful flowers that come in multiple colors will bloom early to mid spring. They are
perfectly happy blooming before deciduous shrubs leaf out. Great for moist, partly shady garden areas!

We hope you have found a perennial that caught your eye! Look for the perennials above in our nursery as well these other spring flowering perennials, listed below, when you are adding to your landscape this season.

Pasque Flower
Hellebores
Foam Flower
Lupine
Brunnera
Geranium

If you are looking for more perennials to add to your garden, especially ones that can handle drought, give Top 8 Tough as Nails Perennials a read!

If you are searching for additional perennials to add to your landscape, customers love using Monrovia Plant Finder to search online first and then head out to the nursery lot to grab what you want!

Top 8 ‘Tough as Nails’ Perennials

When it comes to plants, reliable is a characteristic we love! This is our top 8  ‘tough as nails’ perennials that will come back every year and tolerate a wide array of conditions. We would like to mention, even though they are tough, it doesn’t mean they can be completely neglected of nutrients, sun, and water. These plants, after their first couple years of more watchful care, will definitely catch your attention with their beauty, tenacity and reduced level of care once established.


Yarrow

achillea-yarrow-garden

Yarrow Vintage Rose with Salvia in the background.

Achillea millefolium is a Native American plant. Yarrow adds light texture to a garden and one of the best low care perennials for adding a burst of color.  It grows tall ( can be up to 3′-4′) with showy clusters of fragrant white, red, pink, or yellow flowers, depending on the variety. It does well in hot and dry spots and resistant to pests.  Their blooms typically last from early summer through early fall and are a wonderful cut flower! 
 


Feather Reed Grass

feather reed grass

Feather Reed Grass

Calamagrostis x acutiflora is an upright clump forming ornamental grass, with multiple varieties, that adds architecture, movement, and the seed heads add floating fluffy textures in the fall through winter.  It does best in moist, rich soil but can handle poor, dry soils as well. This is the perfect grass for urban areas and tough to grow sunny areas. In addition to its high tolerance for multiple conditions, it is pest and disease resistant. Prune down foliage to a couple inches above soil before new growth in the spring and add  organic fertilizer if it’s in poor soil if you want to give it a boost and that’s it!


Phlox

flame coral phlox paniculata

Phlox paniculata Coral Flame.

There are so many varieties of phlox it’s impossible to describe them all but they come in low, medium, and tall growing forms to fit in just about any garden. It’s one of the most versatile and colorful plants that have been used in gardens for over 100 yrs and for good reason. Most are long-blooming, often fragrant, and tall varieties don’t require staking. They prefer moist, rich soil and full sun, but depending on the variety, some don’t mind poor, rocky soils or part-sun. Flower colors range from pure white to red, with nearly every shade of pink, lavender, salmon and purple and some multi-colored petals. With proper planting, you can avoid most disease issues, such as powdery mildew.


Daylily

handwriting on the wall daylily bloom

Handwriting on the Wall Daylily.

Hemerocallis means “beauty for a day”because daylily  buds blooms only one day but has successive blooms over 4-5 weeks. Some daylily varieties are labeled rebloomers since they perform a couple times in the season with successive blooms. The Daylily is considered “a perfect perennial” because it’s drought tolerant, can grow in almost any kind of soil, can grow in full or part-sun, offers an array of early season to late season blooming varieties, has showy vibrant colors, are pest and disease resistant, and attracts birds, bees, and butterflies. Can be grown on hillsides, around the city, or in a traditional garden with very little care needed.


Sedum

Sedum Pure Joy by Proven Winners paired with coneflower

Pure Joy Sedum with coneflowers.

Sedum, also called stonecrop, have thick succulent like leaves that form clusters of small colorful flowers (white,red,pink,or yellow) in late summer and fall that bees love! There are low-growing and tall varieties that love full sun and can handle drought conditions. Once these plants are established they require almost no care. Sedums are easy to split in spring and fall if they get too big for their space. These perennials can grow quickly! Foliage of the fleshy leaves are not only green but there are varieties with varying foliage colors. For example, Sedum Dragon’s Blood Tricolor has white and green foliage with pink edges or deep purple leaves like Sedum Dark Magic. Just make sure these plants have well-draining soil because they can succumb to root rot in prolonged wet soil.


Coneflower

pow wow wild berry echinacea- coneflower

Pow Wow Wild Berry Coneflower.

Echinacea, comonly known as Coneflower are bright, upright, and tough perennials! They can take the heat and drought conditions once established ,deer resistant, and trouble free! Echinacea purpurea is the native coneflower to North America but there are varieties with many different bloom colors. These flowering perennials can have blooms that last from mid-summer though fall! Give coneflowers full sun and avoid other plants shading them. They don’t need much in regards to fertilizer if you mix in plenty of compost into the soil when planting. They attract bees and butterflies and if you leave the flowers on in the fall, birds like to eat the seeds. Prune off dead flowers in summer to promote more blooms for fall.

 


Russian Sage

denim n lace russian sage

Denim N’ Lace Russian Sage. 2020 PW Perennial of the Year.

Perovskia atriplicifolia, commonly known as Russian sage is a must have plant to add to your garden! Russian sage has grey-green leaves that are very aromatic with bluish-purple flowers that bloom mid-summer through fall. It can tolerate clay soil, dry soil, street salt, and are deer and rabbit resistant. It’s also disease and pest resistant! It really is a tough plant! They can fill up a 3′-4’x3’x4′ space in your garden quickly. Birds, bees, and hummingbirds will appreciate this valuable addition as well! 


Hyssop

blue fortune hyssop

Blue Fortune Hyssop. Photo Courtesy of Monrovia.

Agastache, or commonly known as Hyssop or Butterfly Mint, have very fragrant foliage and flowers that attract bees and butterflies. The flowers bloom late summer through fall to add color when other perennials are winding down. Most hyssop varieties are native to North America and not only like compost rich soil but also lean, dry soil. They prefer a “tough love” approach so they don’t need much water once established and be sure not to over-fertilize. Only top-dress with compost in spring if you want. Hyssop prefer full sun but can tolerate part sun areas.

 

Download our Drought Tolerant Plants List!

Tiger eyes sumac in the fall

Fall Landscape Shrubs for Autumn Color

Don’t overlook these shrubs that will give you a wonderful show and variety to your garden in the fall! We can help you look ahead into the fall (summer isn’t over yet!) and pick out some plants that have wonderful autumn color.

Here are a just a few examples of shrubs that have pleasant fall colors you can plant now if you want to keep the colors going all the way to snowfall – and some beyond!

Shrubs

Tiger Eyes® Cutleaf Staghorn Sumac

Tiger eyes sumac in the fall

Tiger Eyes Sumac in the summer

This sumac grows about 6′ wide and 6′ tall and the foliage is beautiful all season long! The brilliant chartreuse green foliage is in the summer giving way to the fall when it’s leaves turns orange, yellow, and scarlet color. This plant definitely has an oriental look to it! It’s drought resistant, can take full sun, and is a zone 4 so it will survive the winters here!

Photos: Courtesy of Bailey Nursery

 


Native Glossy Black Chokeberry

Glossy black chokeberryblack fruit on Glossy black chokeberry

fall colors starting glossy black chokeberry

This native deciduous shrub grows about 5′-7′ tall and wide and starts off the spring season with small white flowers! It is adaptable to most soils, wet or dry, and can grow full sun to full shade! *However, more berries will be produced and growth in full sun. The 1/4″ black superberry fruit it produces has 400% more antioxidants then blueberries. Great for pollinators and birds, there is plenty to love about this plant. Autumn colors are orange, red, and purple and their natural fullness make a great informal hedge planted in mass.

Berry photo: Courtesy of Bailey Nursery

 


Orange Rocket Barberry (Really any barberry!)

orange rocket barberryWe wanted to add this shrub because it provides color from spring through fall. The new leaves come out coral orange, turn green, and then a bright red in the fall, always adding warmth and a pop of brightness to your landscape. It grows 4′-5′ tall and 2′-3′ wide and likes full to partial sun. Tolerant of most soils other than slow draining/wet areas. Can take drought conditions once established and great can tolerate road salts and pollution well. Most barberries have wonderful fall color transitions so check out barberry as a great barrier plant in your contemporary or rustic garden.

 

 


Bailey Red Twigged Dogwood

baily red twigged dogwood

bailey red twigged dogwood in the winter

This one we are also focusing further into the fall season and winter. We don’t want to take away from the adorable white berries that adorn the plant in late summer but sometimes it’s what’s within that gives us the real beauty. The dropping of its dramatic red and orange foliage in fall reveal bright red twigs that stand upright against the mostly colorless landscape. They can get fairly big at 9′ tall and 5′ wide. It’s great for mass planting, wetter areas, and its roots work well to create an embankment for erosion control. Plant in full to partial sun and hopefully somewhere you see often in the winter! Really easy care and cutting back old stems in the spring will give you best color on new growth.

Winter photo: Courtesy of Monrovia

 


Spirea

Birchleaf spirea autumn colors

Birch leaf spirea autumn colors

Magic Carpet SpireaSpirea is a spring/summer flowering shrub that works well for your border plantings and provides spring blossoms as well as great fall foliage. Some spirea varieties can also bloom spring and fall. Two Spirea came to mind when thinking of fall color. Magic Carpet Spirea (See image on the right ) that turns a rich russet red in the fall after its summer season mature bright gold foliage or the Tor Birchleaf Spirea that turns gold, red, and purple in the fall. The Tor Birchleaf grows in compacted mounds and is deer resistant, fragrant, and attracts butterflies. The Magic Carpet grows full and bushy, is an early bloomer, and has brightest colors in full sun. Planting them en masse and paired with other perennials would create a more dramatic effect in your landscape. Ask us about which varieties can be pruned after first flowering to try for continued blooming into fall.

Left photo: Courtesy of Behnkes


There are many plants, other than shrubs, that can provide you extended seasonal color and eye appeal in your landscape or garden. The garden is an evolving thing so when you have time to take tabs on when plants are blooming or changing color, why not add more plants for fall interest?

apricot orange colored blooms on the Zonta Minnesota Mum

Perennial Mums that Survive MN Winter

Bright red, pink, yellow, white, purple, golden orange, copper, cream…you will find a large variety of perennial Mum flower colors! Thanks to the University of Minnesota’s Mum breeding program beginning in the 1920’s we now have perennial Mums that survive MN winters!

Here’s a bit of history for you! The cushion habitat mum was the first patent of the U of M in 1977.  “Plants are dome-shaped, with flowers almost completely covering the outside surfaces of each plant. Previous mums bloomed only at the top of long stems (upright habit). Within a decade, the cushion type became the dominant chrysanthemum plant habit worldwide.”- U of M Chrysanthemum breeding program.

There is continued development of a different growth habitat mum like the wave hardy mum since right now most are the cushion or upright habitat. Hopefully we see more of those soon!

These perennial mums survive MN winters but they are known to be finicky. Here are some steps to take care of your perennial Mum so it comes up year-after-year.

Before Winter Care:

  1. Plant your Mums in well-draining soil. If the soil doesn’t drain well and results in standing water that freezes, the ice around the root system can kill a plant.
  2. Find a sheltered location protected from high winds.
  3. “Tests show that Mums survive the winter better when the above-ground dead plant stems are not removed in the fall. This is also a beneficial technique to use with other herbaceous perennials.” -U of M 
  4. Cover your Mums with 4″ of leaves or mulch to give them good insulation AFTER THE GROUND HAS FROZEN and there isn’t extreme fluctuations of temperature.

Spring Time Care:

  1. Take off the mulch over your Mum as soon as the ground starts to thaw.
  2. Snap off or trim off the dead growth. Be careful not to pull out or cut new growth.
  3. This is the time also that you can divide your mum, if you need. The outer new growth is the most vigorous and you may see little stray growths that are perfect for splitting. Dig down and snip off the new growth, leaving as much of new roots on as you can on the cutting and then pot them up in a clean pot and soil in a warm sunny windowsill for a few weeks and be sure to water but not too much. Do the finger test of sticking you finger down into the dirt on the side at least two inches to see if the soil is dry. Then you can plant them into the ground after a few weeks.

Sources:

https://mnhardy.umn.edu/varieties/flowers/chrysanthemums
http://www.hortmag.com/headline/dividing-hardy-mums

Mature blue false indigo in the display gardens at Drummers.

Top 10 Perennials 2019

Back in January of this year, the full-time staff went to the Northern Green Conference up in the Twin Cities for continuing education and to see what is new for this year in landscaping and gardening. One of the more popular sit downs was the Top 10 lists of perennials, shrubs, and trees. Since June is Perennial Gardening Month we thought we’d share the Top 10 Perennials of 2019 decided by Mike Heger. Mike has been in the horticultural industry for over 40 yrs and has even written a book on growing perennials in cold climates.  He of course prefaced the list with saying this was a very difficult list to make and was focusing more on natives and pollinators this year. Check out the quick list of his Top Ten Perennials!

Top Ten Perennials 2019

  1. Baptisia Lactea ‘ White False Indigo ‘. Tough, long-lived plant, and tolerates many different soils and light conditions. Great nectar plant. The Blue False Indigo, Baptista ‘ American Goldfinch ‘, and Baptisia Decadence Series are other Baptisia he mentioned.
  2. Calamintha nepeta ‘ Montrose White ‘ (Catmint). Clump forming mint with long bloom time. Great for bees and hummingbirds love it. Considered a zone 5 but could possibly survive our winters in the right spot.
  3. Clematis ‘ Arabella ‘. A rambling ground cover that can have flowers all summer long. Mike said his bloomed 14 weeks! Bees and Hummingbirds enjoy!
  4. Helianthus ‘ Lemon Queen ‘ (Hybrid Sunflower). Blooms late summer and fall and great for all kinds of pollinators. It’s a great tall, background plant. Blooms 2-2.5 months!
  5. Native Liatris ligulistylis ( Meadow Blazing Star ). It blooms from the top down and monarchs and butterflies love it. Tolerant of many soils and high light. Another good native option is Liatris Pycnostachya.
  6. Nepetax faasenii ‘ Purrsian Blue ‘ Catmint. A low maintenance clumping mint with 4-6 mths of color. The ‘Cat’s Pajamas’ is the shorter version with similar qualities. Will see butterflies, moths, bees, and hummingbirds around it!
  7. Origanum ‘ Rosenkuppel ‘ (Ornamental Oregano). Burgundy blooms June-September and even past September at times. It prefers full sun and no wet feet. It is a zone 5 plant so may not survive winters in southern MN.
  8. Salvia nemorosa ‘ Blue Marvel ‘. This perennial sage has violet-blue blooms and the butterflies and bees flock to it. Other forms of Salvia have white, pinks, and purple blooms and there are plenty of varieties to choose from.
  9. Stachys monieri ‘ Hummelo ‘ Boteny. This is the 2019 Perennial of the Year by the Perennial Plant Association. This perennial tolerates many different soil and full sun to light shade.
  10. Vernonia fasiculata ‘ Common Ironweed’. This native perennial can get up to 6′ tall and is a wonderful nectar plant. Painted lady butterflies love them and are a great plant in the back of the garden due to their height. Their blooms are a bright purple and bloom July, August, and September.

 

bloomstruck hydrangea

Acidic Soil Loving Plants

Water, Sun, and Soil (Nutrients). These are plants three basic needs.

Plants need nutrients and a relationship with elements in the soil can determine the health of plants. Soil pH is important to the uptake of nutrients and related to some common issues that may arise. For example, you may add fertilizer to your garden but still have little effect on your plants if for some reason your soil pH is off.

The texture of the soil is an additional variable (loamy, silty, sandy, or clay) and another topic all together. There is a method at the bottom of the post that will also improve soil texture/aeration.

Now, we will go over acidic soil ranges, what plants grow best in acidic soil, and what you can do to improve your soil’s pH.

What is acidic soil?

The range of pH is from 0-14. Acidic soil is considered anything below 7.

Acidity ranges:
Slight  6.0
Strong  5.5
Very Strong 5.0
Extremely 4.5

Most plants like to grow within the 6-7.5 pH range for optimal nutrient uptake. In Southern MN, you may notice a lot of clay soil with lime, which tends to be more alkaline, 7 or above. Water coming from hoses in this area are usually more basic (increases alkalinity) as well.

Other factors that affect soil acidity are rainfall, nitrogen fertilizers, plants like pines, and subsoil acidity. The best way to know your soil acidity level is a quick home test. We have soil pH tests plus soil nutrient tests. If your plants are thriving than you probably wouldn’t need to test it unless you are curious.

Plants that enjoy acidic soil:

Plants that enjoy slight acidity, 6.0-7.0 range:
Most plants! Each plant has a pH range it can tolerate and many plants can handle 6.0.

Plants that tolerate strong acidity, 5.5:
Trees and shrubs –  Raspberry 5.5-7.0, Pears 5.5-7.0, Peaches 5.5-7.0
Vegetable and Fruits- Potato 5.5, Squash 5.5, Garlic 5.5-8.0, Carrot 5.5-7.0, Sweet Peppers 5.5-7.0, Tomatoes 5.5-7.5, Cauliflower 5.5-7.5, Cucumber, 5.5-7.0, Pumpkin 5.5-7.0, Eggplant 5.5-6.5, Sweet Potatoes 5.2-6.0, Rhubarb 5.5-7.0
Flowers – Begonia 5.5-7.0, Black-Eyed Susan 5.5-7.0, Clematis 5.5-7.0, Marigold 5.5-7.5, Nasturtium 5.5-7.5, Pansy 5.5-6.5, Snapdragon 5.5-7.0, Zinnia 5.5-7.0, Fox Gloves 5.5-6.5, Cyclamen 5.5-6.5

Plants that tolerate very strong acidity, 5.0:
Trees and shrubs – Spruce 5.0-6.0, Juniper 5.0-6.0, Blackberry 5.0-6.0, Apple, 5.0-6.5, Serviceberry 5.0-6.0, Fothergilla 5.0-6.0, Magnolia 5.0-6.0
Fruits – Strawberries 5.5-6.5, Grapes 5.5-7.0
Flowers – Coneflower-Purple 5.0-7.5, Cosmos 5.0-8.0, Gladiolus 5.0-7.0, Lupine 5.0-6.5

Plants that tolerate extremely strong acidity, 4.5:
Trees and shrubs – Azalea 4.5-6, Blueberry 4.5-6, Hydrangea-Blue flowered 4.0-5.0, White Pine 4.5-6.0, Rhododendron 4.5-6
Flowers – Lily-of-the-Valley 4.5-6.0

As you may have noticed, plants have a range of pH that they will grow in and thrive. Those plants that have very strong and an extremely strong acidic soil needs, may need additional amendments to keep soil pH down. If you are noticing any issues like yellowing leaves, no fruit production, growth seems stunted, and not blooming, checking the pH is recommended first before using fertilizers.

What can you do to change soil pH?

The best way to improve soil pH is through addition of amendments and adding organic material. To increase acidity, add sulfur, and to decrease acidity, add lime. With both of these amendments, you will have to do it in stages as to not shock the plant. Read instructions on any product you use since each may differ.

These are our favorite supplements to use to adjust the soil pH and will not shock the plants if used as directed:
Epsoma Soil Acidifer – Organic, Safe, long-lasting, and won’t burn the plants if used as directed. Repeat in 60 day intervals if needed.
Epsoma Berry Tone for Berries – Organic, Good if you need to slightly increase acidity, Use early and late spring, Use on blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries, Will help produce bigger plants and more berries.

Ways to adjust soil pH by adding organic material:
Add compost, manure, and peat moss to your garden beds. If you add compost and manure your soil, it may become more neutral so the addition of peat moss, which is acidic (3.0-4.5) can help temporarily adjust acidity. This is best to do in the fall since it takes more time to adjust the soil pH using this method but feel free to feed plants with top dressing of compost/manure during the growing season which is another great way to improve the soil’s aeration.

Modifying your soil’s pH will take some time. Depending on the type of soil you are working with, the addition of supplements and organic material may be needed year-after-year.

If you test your soil and notice you have troubles with keeping your soil more acidic, choose plants that will tolerate more neutral or alkaline soils. There are plenty out there!

Creating Winter Interest

The garden and landscape is an important feature of the home even in winter. Consider what you will look at through your windows as you cuddle indoors. Here’s a great article from the Minnesota Horticultural Society’s Northern Gardener Magazine to guide your thoughts as you design your landscape to include interesting things to look at throughout winter. Include evergreens, colorful and shapely shrubs, trees with interesting bark, statuary and even containers to catch the eye.