Many gardeners have summer flings with annuals, but if you prefer longer relationships with your garden plants, pick perennials. Herbaceous perennials live for three or more seasons. If you are thinking of growing perennials in zone 8, you’ll have lots to choose from. Read on for a short list of common zone 8 perennial plants.
Perennials for Zone 8
Perennials are plants with a life cycle longer than one growing season. Annual plants complete their life cycles in one season. Many perennials for zone 8 die back in fall then send up new shoots in spring. Yet some have evergreen foliage that stays green through the winter.
If you start growing perennials in zone 8, you’ll have to decide whether you are looking primarily for flowers or for foliage. Some zone 8 perennial plants offer gorgeous leaves but insignificant blossoms, while others are grown for their ornamental blossoms.
Common Zone 8 Perennials
If you want ornamental leaves more than flowers, you aren’t alone. Lots of gardeners fall for lush greenery. For foliage plants, consider ornamental grass and ferns as perennials for zone 8.
Ornamental grasses are common zone 8 perennials. Hakone grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’) is exceptional since it thrives in partial shade, unlike many grasses. The long, arching grass blades are pale green with a touch of bronze.
If you are interested in ferns, ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris) is a beauty, often growing taller than an average gardener. Or you could incorporate the silvery foliage of a Brunnera. Consider shrub-size Siberian bugloss (Brunnera macrophylla ‘Alexander’s Great’) as one of your zone 8 perennial plants.
If flowering perennials are more your thing, then the following plants may be suitable for you:
Hardy geraniums are common zone 8 perennial plants, and one of the loveliest is Rozanne (Geranium ‘Rozanne’) with its deeply cut leaves and generous waves of blue flowers. Or try phlox. Popular cultivars of phlox include Phlox paniculata ‘Blue Paradise,’ with its deep blue flowers maturing to purple.
For great blossoms, consider planting lilies as perennials for zone 8. Asiatic lilies (Lilium spp) offer an extended bloom and exquisite fragrance. Star Gazer lilies (Lilium ‘Star Gazer’) are also delightfully fragrant and make great cut-flowers.
Daisies are also common zone 8 perennials, like cherry ox-eye daisy (Chrysanthemum leucanthemum). You might plant it with lantana (Lantana camara), or, for color contrast, Mexican petunia (Ruellia brittoniana) works well with its purple blossoms.
When you start growing perennials in zone 8, don’t neglect herbs. Mexican oregano (Poliomintha longiflora) produces lavender flowers and aromatic leaves. Add pink autumn sage (Salvia greggii) for its pink flowers and evergreen shrubbery, and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) with its familiar needle-like foliage.