Perennial Plants For Northern Regions: Choosing West North Central Perennials

White-Purple Flowers
WNC perennials
(Image credit: David Kish)

Selecting the right plant for your zone is crucial to your gardening success. Perennials for West North Central United States need to survive some pretty harsh, long winters. Across that region you could be gardening in Rockies and Plains, humid or dry conditions, and in a wide variety of soils, so it's smart to know your plants.

Keep reading for suitable choices and tips for successful gardening in Rockies and Plains areas.

Conditions for West North Central Perennials

The "Breadbasket of America" in the West North Central region of the country is known for its agriculture. Much of our corn, wheat, soybeans, oats, and barley are produced in the area. However, it is also known for blizzards, hot summers, and biting winds. These conditions can make perennial plants for northern regions hard to find.

The soil typical of the area ranges from heavy sand to compact clay, not exactly ideal for most plants. Long, cold winters lead to short springs and blistering summers. The short period of spring gives the gardener very little time to establish plants before the heat comes in.

Perennial plants for West North Central gardens need a little pampering the first year but soon become established, adapted, and come up beautifully the next spring. Plant hardiness ranges from USDA 3 to 6. Choose plants in the hardiness range and those that fit your garden lighting and soil.

West North Central Perennials for Shade

Garden beds in shade can be the most challenging to populate successfully. Not only do plants receive little sun, but the area may often remain overly moist, which in clay soils leads to pooling. Perennials are tough, however, and there are many that would be right at home in such conditions.

For borderline plants, increase light by pruning back bushes and trees and improve soil with the addition of sand or other gritty material. In shade to partial shade locations, try growing these perennials:

Sun-Loving Perennial Plants for Northern Regions

If you are lucky enough to have a full sun garden bed, the options for perennials skyrocket. There are many sizes, forms, colors, and other characteristics available. Whether you want a sea of color that blocks an ugly, old fence or a carpet of soft foliage to cover a hillside, there are many perennials hardy to the region.

Take into consideration where you want interest and plant so there is color and greenery year-round. Some easy to grow selections include:

Bonnie L. Grant

Bonnie Grant is a professional landscaper with a Certification in Urban Gardening. She has been gardening and writing for 15 years. A former professional chef, she has a passion for edible landscaping.