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Quick-blooming perennials


Most perennials spend their first year after sprouting just establishing themselves, building some roots and setting the stage for their mature performance. Many will bloom in their second year, although some herbaceous perennials, and even more of the woody ones, will wait even longer to display their flowers.

The list below is for impatient gardeners (aren't we all?) who like to get at least a preview of ultimate performance earlier. Each of the plants in the table below has bloomed for me in its first year of life. In most cases, the blooms are not nearly as abundant or large as they will be in years to follow.

Note that I start most of my perennials indoors, starting in early winter. Many of the plants listed would not bloom if started outdoors in spring, or if wintersown to sprout when temperatures warm up - at least not in our zone 6 garden. Some of the plants are show-offs that start blooming already under the growlights in my basement (no doubt because of the artificial 14-hour days that those lights provide). Others are tender perennials that are grown as annuals in our climate - they'd better bloom in their first year, or they'd be rather useless as ornamental flowering plants!

The list below is sorted in order of botanical name. Click on the plant's name to go to page for that plant. Plant portraits (where I have photos on the page) are indicated with the symbol.

Botanical name Common name Category FlowersSize
Achillea ptarmica 'The Pearl' perennial (Z3-9) white (summer)16"
Agastache aurantiaca 'Kiowa Sunset' hummingbird mintperennial (zones?) orange30"
Agastache cana giant hyssopperennial (Z5-9) rose-pink (June-Sept)2-3 ft
Agastache mearnsii San Luis Mountain giant hyssopperennial magenta (summer)24"
Agastache rupestris sunset hyssopperennial (Z5-8) soft orange (summer)3'
Allium flavum yellow onionperennial bulb yellow clusters (summer)12"
Allium humile perennial bulb white
Alyssum montanum creeping basket of goldperennial (Z2-9) yellow (spring)
Anagallis monelli 'Blue Light' blue pimperneltender perennial (Z8-10) blue (summer-fall)6-12"
Antirrhinum braun-blanquetii hardy snapdragonperennial yellow/white (late spring)18"
Antirrhinum hispanicum Spanish snapdragonperennial (Z5-8) pink/yellow (spring-summer)12"
Aquilegia shockleyi desert columbineperennial (Z6-10) yellow/red4-8"
Arabis alpina 'Snowcap' mountain rockcressperennial (Z4-7) white (early spring)4"
Asclepias tuberosa butterfly weedperennial (Z4-10) orange (summer)to 2 ft
Atropa belladonna var. lutea yellow-flowered deadly nightshadeperennial yellow (May-June)3'
Callirhoe papaver woodland poppy mallowperennial (Z6-9) purple-pink (summer)12"
Campanula carpatica Carpatian harebellperennial blue, late spring6"
Campanula rotundifolia Scotch harebellperennial (Z5-10) blue (spring-summer)6"
Capnoides sempervirens pink corydalis; rock harlequinperennial pink/yellow (summer)18"
Caryopteris x clandonensis bluebeard, blue mist spireashrub blue (Aug-Sep)4 ft
Chaenorhinum villosum perennial lilac or pale yellow (summer)6-8"
Chamerion dodonaei ? pink
Chasmanthium latifolium sea oatsperennial grass golden tan3-4 ft
Clematis stans perennial (Z5-10) blue30"
Clinopodium multicaule var. yakusimense perennial white (summer)4-6"
Coix lacryma-jobi Job's tearstender perennial green3-4'
Corydalis ophiocarpa perennial (Z5-8) creamy yellow (spring)18-30"
Cotula 'Tiffindell Gold' creeping gold buttonsperennial (Z5-10) yellow (summer)4"
Cyclamen persicum mother's day cyclamentender perennial scarlet (late summer)12"
Dahlia 'Jazz' and 'Bishop of Llandaff' tender perennial deep pink-red (summer)2'
Datura angel's trumpetannual/tender perennial light purple (summer)18"
Delphinium grandiflorum 'Blue Butterfly' larkspurperennial blue (June-July)12-18"
Delphinium pylzowii perennial blue-purple (June-July)4-20"
Delphinium tatsienense perennial blue (summer)4-20"
Delphinium x belladonna 'Volkerfrieden' perennial larkspurperennial (Z4-7) blue (summer)30-48"
Desmodium canadense showy tick trefoil pink
Dianthus amurensis 'Siberian Blues' Amur pinkperennial violet-blue (summer)6-12"
Dianthus deltoides maiden pinkperennial pink (spring)6"
Dianthus gratianopolitanus cheddar pinkperennial (Z3-8) rose (May-June)12"
Dianthus superbus fringed pinkperennial (Z3-8) pink-red24"
Dicentra macrocapnos yellow bleeding heart vineperennial yellow (summer)vines to 20'
Dipcadi viride tender perennial greenish-white (summer)8"
Dracocephalum canescens dragonheadperennial (Z7-8?) blue6-12"
Dracocephalum grandiflorum dragonheadperennial (Z4) blue (summer)8"
Echeandia texensis 'Loma del Potrero Cercado' Texas crag lilyperennial (Z8-10) yellow (fall)5'
Ennealophus fimbriatus Argentine blue irisperennial (Z7-10) lavender (summer)10"
Eragrostis curvula weeping lovegrassperennial (Z7-9) 2-4' in bloom
Erigeron karvinskianus Mexican daisyperennial? (Z6-9) white (spring)12"
Eryngium creticum Crete eryngo; field eryngoperennial blue24"
Eupatorium maculatum 'Purple bush' spotted Joe-Pye weedperennial (Z4-8) purple (mid-late summer)2-4'
Gaillardia grandiflora blanketflowerperennial warm colors, summer2-3'
Galega officinalis goat's rueperennial white3 ft
Gaura lindheimeri perennial (Z5-10) pink (summer)3'
Gazania linearis treasure flowerperennial (Z5-8) yellow (early summer)6"
Geranium asphodeloides cranesbillperennial small darker-veined pink10"
Geranium bohemicum annual blue (summer)12-18"
Geranium pyrenaicum hedgerow cranesbillperennial (Z5-10) purple or white (spring-fall)6"
Geranium wallichianum 'Buxtons Variety' cranesbillperennial blue, summer into fall12"
Glandularia canadensis 'Perfecta' rose vervainperennial deep violet
Hackelia floribunda manyflower stickseedbiennial/perennial blue (May)12"
Haloragis erecta 'Wellington Bronze' erect seaberrytender perennial insignificant18"
Heterotheca pumila alpine false goldenasterperennial yellow (summer)4-6"
Hibiscus coccineus scarlet rose mallowperennial (Z6-9) purple-red (summer)3-6'
Hieracium maculatum spotted hawkweedperennial (Z5-9) yellow (summer)12"
Hyssopus officinalis hyssopperennial lavender-pink (summer)24"
Iliamna rivularis streamside wild hollyhockperennial (Z4) pink (summer)3-6'
Impatiens auricoma 'Jungle Gold' tender perennial yellow-orange15-18"
Kalimeris incisa cutleaf Japanese asterperennial light blue (June)2'
Laurentia axillaris blue star creeper? blue (summer)6"
Leibnitzia anandria Leibnitz daisyperennial white (late spring and early fall)1' tall, 6" wide
Lesquerella ovalifolia oval-leaf bladderpod yellow7"
Linaria dalmatica broadleaf toadflaxperennial yellow3'
Linaria triornithophora three birds flyingperennial (Z7-9) purple/yellow (late spring-fall)18-30"
Linum lewisii blue flaxperennial light blue3 ft
Lobelia siphilitica great blue lobeliaperennial (Z3-9) blue or white (summer)18-30"
Lobelia x gerardii purple lobeliaperennial purple, red (summer)3'
Lupinus luteus European yellow lupineannual yellow (summer)2'
Lychnis x arkwrightii 'Vesuvius' Arkwright's campionperennial/biennial (Z3-10) orange-red (summer)24"
Lysimachia minoricensis perennial? white (late summer)12"
Malva preissiana Australian hollyhock
Mirabilis longiflora angel's trumpetsperennial (Z7-10) white/pink24"
Monarda austromontana lemon beebalmperennial pale pink-white
Ocimum basilicum 'Osmin' basiltender perennial purplish blue (summer)18"
Oenothera acaulis evening primroseperennial (Z5-8) white (summer)6" tall x 8" wide
Oenothera kunthiana evening primroseperennial (Z6-10) white/pink (summer)18-24"
Oenothera macrosceles evening primrose yellowsprawler
Oenothera pallida white evening primroseperennial (Z4-9) white (summer)30"
Oenothera perennis small sundropsperennial (Z4-9) yellow (late May - June)12-24"
Oxalis stricta yellow wood sorrelperennial yellow (spring-summer)18"
Papaver amurense poppyperennial (Z5-9) white/yellow (late spring)18-24"
Papaver miyabeanum Japanese poppyperennial (Z2-8) yellow (summer)6"
Pardancanda norrisii candy lilyperennial (Z5-10) orange3'
Penstemon tenuis Gulf Coast penstemonperennial (Z7-10) lavender to violet24"
Penstemon triflorus scarlet penstemon; Heller's beardtongueperennial dark pink20"
Phacelia bolanderi blue-flowered grape-leafperennial (Z7-10) blue (late spring-summer)6" tall x 3' wide
Phemeranthus sediformis pink or white (summer)1"
Pinellia pedatisecta green dragonperennial orange spathe (late summer)15"
Polemonium brandegeei Jacob's ladderperennial (Z4-8) yellow8"
Polemonium pauciflorum perennial (Z3-7) yellow (May-June)12"
Primula capitata v. mooreana perennial (Z5) blue8-12"
Primula poissonii perennial pink
Primula saxatilis primroseperennial purple (April-May)8"
Ratibida columnifera prairie coneflower; Mexican hatperennial (Z3-10) yellow (summer)24-32"
Ratibida columnifera f. pulcherrima showy grey-head prairie coneflowerperennial (Z3-8) yellow (summer into fall)2-3'
Rosa x rehderiana polyantha roseshrub
Rudbeckia hirta gloriosa daisy; black-eyed susanperennial (Z3-10) yellow-orange-burgundy2'
Ruellia humilis hairy wild petuniaperennial (Z4-8) lavender (summer)18-24"
Salvia forsskaolei Indigo sageperennial (Z6-9) violet/white (summer)2' by 2'
Salvia pratensis Haematodes meadow sageperennial (Z3-10) blue-purple3'
Salvia roemeriana cedar sagetender perennial (Z7-10) red (summer-fall)12"
Salvia texana Texas sageperennial purple-blue (spring)18"
Salvia verticillata subsp. verticillata hardy ornamental sageperennial purple (summer)2-3'
Scutellaria alpina ssp. supina perennial
Scutellaria altissima tall skullcapperennial (Z4-10) purple2-4'
Scutellaria antirrhinoides snapdragon skullcapperennial purple-blue (summer)
Scutellaria baicalensis Chinese skullcapperennial blue (summer)8"
Scutellaria sevanensis perennial yellow (late spring)6"
Scutellaria sp. ex. Yucatan skullcap? pale purple16"
Scutellaria suffrutescens pink skullcapperennial purple (summer-fall)8"
Sida elliottii Elliott's fanpetalsperennial? orange-yellow (summer)18"
Sidalcea malviflora 'Party Girl' prairie mallowperennial (Z5-9) rose (summer-fall)36-40"
Silene maritima catchflyperennial (Z2) white (spring-summer)6" tall x 20" wide
Silene pusilla perennial white
Silybum marianum Mary's thistle, milk thistlebiennial see belowfoliage to 12", flowers to 24"
Sisyrinchium bellum blue-eyed grassperennial blue12-18"
Solenostemon scutellarioides coleustender perennial blue (summer)2'
Strobilanthes attenuata perennial dark blue/purple (late summer-fall)24"
Talinum calycinum large fameflowerperennial (Z5-9) pink (late spring-summer)8"
Tanacetum parthenium 'Aureum' golden feverfewperennial yellow/white1 ft
Tetranema roseum Mexican violettender perennial (Z10-11) pink-violet6-12"
Teucrium botrys cut-leaved germanderannual pink (summer-fall)6-12"
Tinantia erecta widow's tearstender perennial magenta (summer)36"
Trichostema dichotomum blue curlsperennial blue (summer-fall)24-36"
Turnera ulmifolia yellow buttercup; yellow alder; sage rosetender perennial/shrub (Z9-11) yellow (summer-fall)24-36"
Urospermum dalechampii smooth golden fleecebiennial/perennial yellow12-16"
Verbascum chaixii 'Album' nettle-leaved mulleinperennial (Z5-8) white/mauve3 ft
Verbascum diascia mulleinperennial yellow30"
Verbascum nigrum dark mulleinperennial (Z3-8) yellow (early summer)3'
Verbesina alternifolia wingstemperennial yellow (Aug-Oct)to 12'
Veronica longifolia 'Blauriesin' long-leaf speedwellperennial (Z4-8) blue spikes (summer)3-4'
Vigna vexillata wild mung bean; wild cow pea; zombi peatender perennial magentavine
Viola perennial violetperennial blue/yellow (spring and fall)4-8"
Viola bertolonii Corsica violetperennial violet (late spring)8"
Viola corsica Corsican violetperennial (Z4-10) violet6-12"
Vitex negundo chastetreeshrub (Z6-10) blue (summer)see comments

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