Color in the Perennial Garden

kakiskymorguefilecom.JPGWhen planting your perennial flower garden, it is helpful to take into consideration the different colors of the plants. The color of the flowers will create a specific mood and ambiance in your garden. Here are some of the colors you may be considering for your garden and the perennial flowers and plants that will fit into that color category.


The color yellow is perceived by the eye before the other colors. The members of this family attract and dominate the garden. You will want to plan groupings of yellow or gold as deliberate focal points. This will help to emphasize the features of your garden. You can also use yellow discreetly in order to make a surprise impact among a quieter planting. The color yellow is both warm and cheerful. It is reminiscent of the sun as it comes from behind a cloud. The following perennials have a yellow flower:

Alyssum                Butterfly                     Weed Columbine

Coreopsis             Corydalis                     Cushion Spurge

Daylily                 Evening Primrose          False Sunflower

Gallardia             Geum                           Golden Marguerite

Iris                     Lamiastrum                    Leopard Bane

Ligularia             Lupine                            Marsh Marigold

Mum                 Poppy                             Potentilla

Rudbeckia         Sedum                            Solidago

Sunrose            Trollius                            Yarrow


The color blue is stimulating, but it can be restful at times. In the distance, blue flowers will draw the eye after them and push the boundaries of the garden outward. At twilight, blue can seem to glow. The color blue will give your garden a cool feeling. The following perennials have a blue flower:

Ajuga                     Aster                                 Aubretia

Balloon Flower        Blue Eyed Grass                 Blue Flax

Brunnera                Campanula                        Catmint

Columbine              Delphinium                         Forget-Me-Not

Geranium                Globe Thistle                      Iris

Jacobs Ladder          Lavender                         Lungwort

Lupine                     Monkshood                     Mt. Bluets

Russian Sage           Salvia                             Spiderwort

Veronica                  Vinca                             Viola


The color pink is soft, gentle and luxurious. It evokes an atmosphere that is peaceful. Sunlight can bleach the delicate tints to a washed-out paleness unless deeper tones of pink are used to add strength. However, in the evening light, the pale pastel pinks will appear luminous. The pink flowers will form a gentle and restful background to or between a more definite area of color such as the strong complementary blues and yellows or violets and oranges which paint distinct pictures. The pinks also help where related colors such as vivid and warm reds, oranges and yellow focus the eye and demand attention. The following perennials have a pink flower:

Arabis                             Aster                                 Astilbe

Aubretia                         Baby’s Breath                    Beebalm

Bergenia                         Bleeding Heart                  Butterfly Weed

Canterbury Bells             Centaurea                         Columbine

Coral Bells                     Coreopsis                          Cupid’s Dart

Daylily                           Delphinium                         Dianthus

English Daisy                 Filipendula                          Forget-Me-Not

Foxglove                      Geranium                           Hollyhock

Iris                               Japanese Anemone             Jo-Pye Weed

Jupiters Beard              Lamb’s Ear                         Lamium

Liatris                          Linaria                                 Lungwort

Lupine                         Lythrum                             Miss Willmott Potentilla

Mum                           Obedient Plant                    Oenothera

Painted Daisy               Pasque Flower                    Penstemon

Peony                         Phlox                                 Pink Panda Strawberry

Poppy                         Primula                             Prunella

Purple Coneflower       Salvia                               Seapinks

Sedum                        Soapwort                         Spider Wort

Sunrose                      Thalictrum                         Thyme

Toad Flax                    Turtlehead                         Veronica



The color white helps to create a cool and restful mood in the garden. White gives a feeling of space. The neighboring colors will seem to glow more and be deeper. White flowers can separate the hues that contrast without altering their appearance of color. White can also make the color associations more pleasing and acceptable to the eye. Bright white will lighten up a shady area.

White flowers are an excellent choice for an evening garden during the summer. As the darkness begins to creep in, the white and pale pastels will remain distinguishable until all of the light is done. A border that is mixed with clumps of white will be given direction and coherence when the white clumps are repeated at regular intervals. The following perennials have a white flower or white variegated edge:

Arabis                         Astilbe                     Aubretia

Baby’s Breath             Bishops Weed         Bleeding Heart

Boltonia                     Bugbane                 Campanula

Candytuft                  Columbine                 Delphinium

Dianthus                    English Daisy             Forget-Me-Not

Gooseneck                Hosta                       Lamium

Liatris                        Lily                            Lily of the Valley

Lungwort                  Lupine                        Obedient Plant

Phlox                        Poppy                         Sandwort

Sedum                     Shasta Daisy                Snowdrop Anemone

Snow-in Summer     Sweet Woodruff            Thrift

Veronica                   Vinca                            White Coneflower


As you can see there are many different choices available for a perennial garden that will keep coming back year after year. While I have listed many varieties, this list is not inclusive. What are some of your favorite perennials and how will you use them in your garden this year?

Photo by: kakisky