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Perennial Flowering Plants in Mississippi

Hardy Perennials for Mississippi Gardens

Perennial plants have been long enjoyed for their flowers and foliage and for their ability to return to our gardens for many years with little trouble. Although dozens of perennials have long been shared between gardeners, retail garden centers offer many hardy perennials. By planting only three or four new types of perennials each year, you can quickly build up a showy perennial garden and then divide the plants for your own use or share them with other gardeners.

The following are some common and favorite perennial flowers grown in Mississippi, along with selected characteristics. This is by no means a comprehensive guide. Use this as a general selection guide for getting started with perennials. Try others as your success and confidence grow.

  Bloom Season Plant Height Remarks
Achillea (yarrow)
Achillea filipendulina
or millefolium
Spring; summer 1-3' Fernlike winter foliage, flat round heads of spring and summer flowers; excellent cut flowers; good companion to daylilies; pink or white cultivars popular, 'Coronation Gold' suffers on Gulf Coast from heat and humidity.
Amsonia (blue star) Amsonia tabernaemontana Spring; summer 2-3' Native, spikes of blue in mid-spring,
tolerates wet or dry soils, good cut flower; Clump-former to 3 feet tall
Artemisia

Artemisia ludoviciana
Foliage 2-3' Silver-gray foliage plant; invasive, but good companion; 'Silver King' and 'Powis Castle’
Asters
Aster sp.
Fall

2-5' Wide range of plant heights depending on type
Banana
Musa acuminata
Foliage 10-15' Foliage giant; trunk needs mulch protection in winter
Butterfly Lily
(ginger lily)

Hedychium coronarium
Late summer and fall 4-6' Bamboo-like summer foliage; pure white, fragrant flowers; rhizomes edible as a mild ginger; mulch in winter
Canna
Canna generalis
Summer 3-7' Dependable summer flowers; coarse foliage; tolerates both very dry and very wet soils; dwarf forms popular for landscaping; insects are a problem on foliage, but easily controlled; pruning forces new growth

Cardinal Flower
(Lobelia)

Lobelia cardinalis

Late summer and fall
3-4' Native to moist or lightly shaded areas; spikes of red flowers; cut flower; do not mulch in winter or rot may occur
Chives and Garlic Chives
Allium schoenoprasum
Spring 1-2' Edible flowering members of onion family; winter foliage
Coreopsis (Mississippi State Wildflower)
Coreopsis lanceolata
Spring and summer 2-3' Several forms include spring bloomers for cut flowers and invasive, low-growing summer bloomers ('Moonbeam', 'Zargreb' with ferny foliage)
Daisies (mums)
Chrysanthemum sp.
Spring to fall 1-3' Many forms and colors
Ox-eye Daisy
C. leucanthemum best variety
Spring 2-3' Naturalized wildflower 'May Queen'
Shasta Daisy
C. maximum
Spring 2-3' Very popular white daisy
Garden Mum
C. x morifolium
Fall 1-2' Often planted as an annual; needs dividing in spring to prevent rot
Clara Curtis Aster
C. rubellum (C. zawadskii latilobum)
Fall 2-3' Old garden (favorite; large and pink; often called ‘Country Girls’)
Daylily
Hemerocallis
Summer 1-4' Very popular clump-former with stems of large flowers; tolerates wide range of soils except wet; many improved varieties
Elephant Ear
Alocasia cucullata
Foliage 3-4' Favorite large-leaf foliage plant; corms edible; may be invasive; many other species and hybrids available
Ferns Foliage 1-5’ Many kinds, mostly shade; divide and transplant in winter
Examples

Adiantum capillus-veneria
Asplenium sp.
Athyrium sp.
Cyrtomium falcatum
Polystichum sp.
Pteridium aquilinum

Southern Maidenhair
Spleenworts
Lady Ferns
Holly Ferns (evergreen)
Leather Ferns
Bracken Fern

Four-o'clocks
Mirabilis jalapa
Spring to fall 1-3' Fragrant evening bloomer; easy and fast from seed; tolerant of every poor soils;
good for hummingbirds
Hibiscus (rose mallow)
Hibiscus moscheutos
Summer and fall 3-5' Several hardy varieties; do not confuse with Chinese hibiscus; tall plants, 'Disco Belle' series have dinner-plate-sized flowers; insects a problem on foliage
Hosta (plantain lily) Hosta plantaginea Summer 10-24" Shade plant with coarse foliage; cut flower; not heat tolerant near Gulf Coast
Iris
Iris sp.
Spring 2-5' Louisiana iris thrives in wet soils; Bearded iris popular, but often rots in heavy soils or if planted deep; Siberian iris more dependable in central and north Mississippi; Dwarf crested iris is a shade-loving groundcover.
Lamb's Ears
Stachys byzantina
Foliage 1-2' Silver-gray foliage, spikes of yellow flowers in spring; drought-tolerant groundcover; container plant
Lantana
Lantana camara
Spring to fall 2-4' Long-blooming butterfly plant; drought tolerant; attractive berries poisonous; new cultivars may not be hardy in the north
Liatris (blazing star)
Liatris spicata
Summer 2-3' Outstanding native with tall spikes of lavender flowers that bloom from top
down; great cut flower
Liriope (monkey grass)
Liriope muscari
Summer 1-2' Tough clump-former with evergreen foliage; variegated varieties available; often overlooked as flowering plant for dry or shady sites
Lythrum (loosestrife)
Lythrum salicaria
Summer 3-5' Tall spikes of pink flowers; butterflies; and fall named cultivars ('Morden's Gleam', etc.) not invasive; tolerates wet soils or water gardens
Mistflower
(wild ageratum)

Eupatorium coelestinum
Fall 2-3' Native; blooms in fall with masses of blue flowers
Monarda (bee balm) Monarda didyma Summer 2-3' Native to lightly-shaded moist sites; flowers used for herbal tea; good butterfly plant
Mondograss
Ophiopogon japonicus
Summer 4-8" Dwarf lily turf; good ground cover; full sun to part shade
Phlox
Phlox sp.
Spring 1-3' Most kinds native; early spring 'Thrift'; (P. subulata) good for rock gardens and edging; "wild sweet Williams" (P. divaricata) good for ground cover; "summer phlox" (P. paniculata) taller cut flower (suffers from mildew)
Physostegia (obedience)
Physostegia virginiana
Summer and fall 2-4' Invasive native with spikes of cut flowers; 'vivid' pink cultivar
Purple Coneflower
Echinacea purpurea
Summer 2-4' Native summer cut flower; attractive seedheads
Red Hot Poker
(Kniphofia)

Kniphofia uvaria
Late spring to summer 2-3' Striking stems of late spring flowers above clumps of thin foliage
Rudbeckia
(Black-eyed Susan)

Rudbeckia fulgida or hirta
Summer 2-4' Traditional native wildflower; R. hirta is a short-lived spring perennial; reseeds readily; R. fulgida 'Goldstrum' is a more dependable, spreading groundcover with many mid- summer flowers on stiff stems. Winter foliage
Salvia
Salvia sp.
Summer 3-4' Several hardy species and cultivars (S. greggii, S. farinaceae, S. guarantitica), mostly blue cut flowers on spikes
Saponaria (soapwort, bouncing bet)
Saponaria officinalis
Spring to fall 8-10" Old-world plant used by pioneers to make soap lather; spreading groundcover with pink and white flowers in clusters;
good winter foliage
Sedum
Sedum acre or spectabile
Spring or summer 10-18" Several hardy species include cascading S. acre with yellow spring flowers, and S. spectabile ('Autumn Joy') or house leek; very hardy, easy to root or divide; excellent outdoor pot plants
Stoke's Aster
Stokesia laevis
Spring 18-24" Native, low-growing clump-former with large blue aster-like flowers; tolerates wet soils
Verbena
Verbena x hybrida
Spring to Summer 1-2' Spreading ground covers for sunny, dry areas; garden verbenas are propagated from cuttings, not seed like the annual species; V. rigida and V. tenuisecta (moss verbena) are wild along roadsides and are too
invasive for most gardens, but do best in very poor soils; prune in summer
to control mites
Violets
Viola williamsii
Late winter
and spring
6-10" Woodland natives that also grow in full sun; may become weedy in lawns; winter flowers edible