A Deep Dive Into Popular Flower Families & Their Needs

Gardening enthusiasts know the importance of selecting the appropriate flowers when creating a vibrant landscape. Unfortunately, with so many blooming plants available today, it can be daunting to try to choose those most suited to one’s garden’s aesthetics.

Here are our favorite perennial flowering plants for perennial gardens, from those blooming in summer through fall and requiring full sunlight.


Sisyrinchium striatum, more commonly known as freesia, is one of gardeners’ most popular perennial plants. This clump-forming perennial features sword-shaped light green leaves with tall stems bearing fragrant funnel-shaped blooms in white or yellow. However, cultivars with other hues are also available.

Plant freesia corms in fall if you live in a frost-free zone or spring if not. Freesias thrive in containers due to their long vase life and sweet baby powder fragrance, so place them in quick-draining potting soil with moist but not saturated conditions for best results. Watch for spots on foliage that could indicate Iris Leaf Spot as this fungal disease spreads rapidly across plants – remove those that display such spots immediately to stop its further spread.


Strelitzia, more commonly known as Bird of Paradise, gets its moniker from its beautiful electric blue and orange flower resembling an exotic bird’s head. This genus contains five recognized species: Strelitzia reginae (Common Bird of Paradise) and White Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia nubilata).

This plant requires very bright indirect lighting; direct sunlight burns its leaves. If it is kept indoors without much direct light, use a grow light as an indirect alternative illumination source.

Divide these plants to propagate them, ideally every 3 to 5 years. Doing this will rejuvenate the plant, prompting it to produce more flowers. After they have been divided, report all divisions into fresh, well-draining potting soil, as this will allow their roots to form quickly and ensure strong starts for each new plant.


Once planted in your garden, Echinacea is an easygoing perennial that reseeds yearly. Blooms can be harvested for bouquets but only last for a while.

To start growing Echinacea from seed, cover 1/4″ loose seed starting mix and maintain temperatures between 65-70degF until seedlings emerge (10-20 days). After germination*, transition back to regular growing conditions by providing full sun (6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day) in well-draining soil conditions.

For optimal transplant results, dig a hole twice the size of the rootball and add blood, fish, and bone meal into the soil before mixing into the hole. Mulch well to retain water. Echinacea plants may become plagued with bacterial spots, leaf miners, powdery mildew, and powdery mildew; to prevent overcrowding, divide every four years to keep their count manageable; medical uses for Echinacea include cold relief, urinary tract infections, and upper respiratory illnesses.


Stachys is a hardy, easy-care plant popular for ground cover and borders. Its furry leaves attract pollinators such as bees. Evergreen in mild climates is suitable for shady or dry spots.

This family includes composite plants resembling daisies (see photo), as well as lesser-known wildflowers such as Joe Pye Weed or our native Blazing Star, with its tall purple spikes covered with tiny-flowered spikes. All bisexual flowers contain both stamens and pistils, which eventually expand to produce seeds.

Plants belonging to this family are distinguished by long, narrow leaves with broad lanceolate to oblanceolate margins that range from lanceolate to oblanceolate edges and simple or whorled stem nodes. Flowers in this family typically bloom in clusters composed of five petals, four sepals, and 10-20 stamens per flower, enclosed within a two-cavity capsule that eventually turns into fruit.


Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) are easy-to-grow annual flowers with tall stalks and heads that produce edible seeds that can be harvested as food sources. They should be planted after any risk of frost has subsided, ideally in springtime.

These plants prefer full sun and well-draining soil. Unfortunately, they are highly vulnerable to wildlife such as squirrels and rabbits, so it would be wise to protect your garden with protective netting or cages to deter their entry.

Many sunflower varieties are branching varieties that will send out multiple heads over several weeks, lengthening their bloom time. To maximize blooms throughout summer, stagger the sowing of seeds every two or three weeks to extend bloom time; this method is known as succession planting and can help your plants become more resistant to slugs and snails. Sunflowers originated in North America.


Ranunculus is an expansive genus with hundreds of species ranging from prize-cut flowers to nuisance lawn weeds. Still, the multicolored Persian buttercups (Ranunculus asiaticus) are among the more familiar varieties associated with its name.

Creeping buttercups are an attractive wildflower that thrives in meadows and species-rich lawns. Their bright yellow flowers form thick mats that attract bees and hoverflies. Furthermore, their nectar—and pollen-rich blooms make an excellent addition to wildlife gardens, as bees and hoverflies visit nectar-rich blooms regularly for a nectar source.

Seed or corm propagation methods may be used, with seed being the quicker of the two methods and keeping moisture levels consistent throughout their growing season when planting corms in soil that drains well in an exposed sunny spot. Corms will take more care to establish itself. Seed will usually germinate quickly, while corms need your extra attention before they bloom successfully. Seed germinates faster, while corms require additional consideration when planted as soon as the ground warms up and keeps moist throughout their growing period.

Globe Thistle

Echinops is a beautiful Old World perennial ideal for flower beds with low-growing ground cover and flowering herbs such as blue irises, lamb’s ears, Russian sage, or bright yellow yarrow. It also makes an excellent companion plant and stands up well against rabbits and deer browsing!

Echinops flowers feature steely blue or white petals on tall stems that rise above their spiny foliage. They bloom throughout the summer to attract bees and other pollinators and enough to be dried for indoor floral arrangements. Hardy in USDA zones 3a-10b, Echinops is pest-free and tolerates dry soil conditions better than wet growing conditions; root rot or powdery mildew issues may develop under wetter growing conditions; Aphids may occasionally appear; blasting with water usually works to eliminate them. These perennials can survive drought conditions better.


Aster flowers are perennial favorites in gardeners’ gardens for their vibrant colors, starburst arrangement of petals with a yellow center, and autumnal foliage. They belong to the daisy family and are related to sunflowers, marigolds, chrysanthemums, and other herbaceous perennial plants.

Asters perform best when planted in moderate summers and nights and complete or partial sun (though certain species can tolerate shade with fewer blooms). They prefer well-draining loamy soil; wet clay soil may cause root rot, while dry sandy soil could result in plants withering away prematurely.

Aster flower bouquets are commonly used to celebrate birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, and graveside floral displays. As September’s birth flowers, they symbolize loyalty, wisdom, and achievement while acting as important pollinator plants attracting bees and butterflies.


Carnations’ vibrant hues and long flowering season make them versatile garden plants. They often add splashes of color to borders, rockeries, beds, and containers. Furthermore, they make excellent choices for edging pathways or patios or adding color to wildflower meadow blends.

White carnations represent purity and innocence, while red ones evoke strong passion. Lighter shade carnations convey respect and admiration – ideal gifts to express our deep appreciation for someone special.

Like many popular flowers, carnations are susceptible to fungal diseases. Planting them in well-draining soil and providing proper ventilation will help minimize issues like powdery mildew and botrytis blight; otherwise, a natural fungicide such as Bonide Neem Oil, available in pint, quart, and gallon sizes, should provide effective control when symptoms appear.


Anemones can be found dotted throughout tide pools and coral reefs. They appear more like flowering plants than predatory invertebrates such as corals and jellyfish. Anemones share family relationships with these sea dwellers.

Members of this extensive, widespread family are distinguished by flowers that tend to form clusters above leaf- or sepal-like bracts, often in any hue imaginable, and are wind-pollinated.

Herbaceous anemones thrive in sunlight or shade and should be planted from corms in autumn for blooms in spring. Many hermatypic varieties host zooxanthellae as their symbiotic algae; to achieve healthy anemones, they need stable water parameters and sufficient but not excessive water movement (to transport food and oxygen without blasting powerheads into them). When happy, anemones will appear inflated rather than shriveled and may bud new plants from their stems either randomly or as a response to stress when blooms fade in their stems if not promptly replaced by another bloom – anemones have many ways of doing this, too.

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