Perennials for Your Yard

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These are a few of our favorite perennials and a couple of grasses by season, and all do really well in our Atlanta garden.  All are native except as noted, and are great habitat plants supporting wildlife with pollen, nectar, seeds, berries and as host plants.


Common Name Scientific Name Color Height comments
early Carolina Jessamine Gelsemium sempervirens yellow vine Flowers attract native bees, hummingbirds and Spicebush Swallowtail Butterflies. [3]
early Dwarf Crested Iris, Dwarf Iris Iris cristata, Iris verna blue 8 – 12 in. Flowers attracts hummingbirds and bees. [3]
early Moss Phlox Phlox subulata multiple  4 – 6 in. An early nectar source.
early Wood Poppy Stylophorum diphyllum yellow 12 – 18 in. Chipmunks feed on seeds. [3]
mid Bleeding Heart Dicentra cucullaria pink, white 6 – 12 in. Special Value to Bumble Bees. [3]
mid White Clover Trifolium repens white up to 3 in. This non-native is considered a weed by some.  We find that the bees love it and it adds nitrogen to the soil.  A host plant for more than eight butterflies. [9]
mid Violet Viola spp.  blue, purple  6 in. Butterfly host plant and good for naturalizing.
mid Creeping Phlox Phlox stolonifera multiple 6 – 12 in. Watch out for rabbits. [4]
mid Crossvine Bignonia capreolata red & yellow  vine An early nectar source for butterflies and hummingbirds.[3]
mid Foamflower Tiarella cordifolia white  9 – 12 in. Many varieties available.
mid Green and Gold Chrysogonum virginianum yellow 6 – 12 in. Low-growing with brilliant yellow flowers and evergreen foliage. For part shade.
mid Mayapple Podophyllum peltatum white 12 – 18 in. Box turtles love the fruit and it can be used to make jams.  (warning: other parts are poisonous) [3]
mid Red Columbine Aquilegia canadensis red, yellow 24 – 36 in. Blooms attract hummingbirds, bees, butterflies, and hawk moths. Seeds are consumed by finches and buntings. [3]
mid Wild Geranium Geranium maculatum pink 18 – 24 in. Seeds attract Mourning Doves and Bobwhite Quail.
mid Woodland Phlox Phlox divaricata  purple  9 – 12 in. Flowers attract butterflies, including swallowtails, gray hairstreaks, and western pygmy blues. Roots consumed by rabbits and voles. [3]
late American Wisteria Wisteria frutescens purple vine Select only this species.  Others are invasive and harmful.
late Mouse Ear Coreopsis Coreopsis auriculata yellow 6 – 9 in. Flowers attract butterflies. Seed attracts songbirds. [3]
late Solomon’s Seal Polygonatum biflorum  white 12 – 36 in. Roots are consumed by mammals. Fruits attract birds. [3]
late Virginia Strawberry Fragaria virginiana  white  6 – 9 in. Special Value to Native Bees. Larval host for Grizzled Skipper and Gray Hairstreak butterflies. [3] [5] [6]


Common Name Scientific Name Color Height comments
early Blue-eyed grass Sisyrinchium angustifolium lavender 18 – 24 in. Conspicuous flowers. [3]
early Anise Hyssop Agastache foeniculum lavender 2 – 4 feet Special Value to Native Bees. [3] [5]
early Indian Pink Spigelia marilandica  red, yellow 1 – 2 feet Flowers attract hummingbirds. [3]
mid Cardinal flower Lobelia cardinalis  red 2 – 4 feet In bloom, Cardinal Flower attracts hummingbirds. [3]
mid Milkweeds Asclepias spp. multiple  1 – 4 feet Host plant for the Monarch butterfly. Special value to Native Bees. [3] [5] [6]
mid Spiderwort Tradescantia spp. purple 18 – 36 in. Special value to native Bees. [3] [5]
mid St. John’s Wort Hypericum spp. yellow 12 – 18 in. Special value to native Bees. [3] [5]
mid Beebalm Monarda didyma, M. fistulosa multiple 2 – 3 feet Birds, Hummingbirds, Butterflies. [3]
mid Black-eyed Susan Rudbeckia hirta, R. fulgida yellow 2 – 3 feet Nectar-Bees, Nectar-Butterflies, Nectar-insects, Seeds-Granivorous birds. [3]
mid Coneflower Echinacea purpurea, E. pallida pink 2 – 5 feet Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. [3]
mid Garden Phlox Phlox paniculata multiple 2 – 4 feet Sweet-smelling blooms loved by pollinators and hummingbirds.
mid Prairie Coneflower Ratibida pinnata yellow 3 – 5 feet Birds, Butterflies. [3]
mid Passion vine Passiflora incarnata lavender vine Fruit-birds. Attracts Butterflies.  Larval host for Gulf Fritillary, Zebra Longwing and others. [3]
mid Stokes Aster Stokesia laevis lavender 12 – 24 in. Attracts and is a nectar source for butterflies. [3]
mid Sunflower Helianthus spp. yellow 3 – 10 feet Attracts birds. [3]
mid Swamp hibiscus Hibiscus coccineus  pink, red 3 – 6 feet Large striking blooms favored by Hummingbirds.
late Mountain Mint Pycnanthemum spp.  white 1 – 3 feet Special Value to Native Bees. [3]
late Rain Lily Zephyranthes atamasca white, yellow, pink 9 – 12 in. Low-growing, blooms in part shade and likes wet areas.


Common Name Scientific Name Color Height comments
early Joe Pye Weed Eutrochium fistulosum, E. purpureum  pink 4 – 7 feet An important source of honey, attracting pollinators by the score. Seeds eaten by Swamp Sparrow. Attracts birds and butterflies. [3]
early River Oats Chasmanthium latifolium green 2 – 5  feet Aggressive and will spread. good erosion control. Seeds eaten by small mammals and granivorous birds.  Stems and leaves used as nesting material by birds.  Attracts Butterflies. [3]
early Stonecrop Sedum spectabile  pink 12 – 24 in. Bees love the flowers and it’s drought tollerant.
mid Goldenrod Solidago spp. yelow 3 – 5 feet Special value to Native Bees. [3]  Very high protein pollen – critical for winter bulk up and survival.
late Asters Symphyotrichum spp. multiple 3 – 6 feet Many wonderful plants to choose from. One of our best pollinator plants with persistent seedheads for birds in winter.
late Pineapple Sage Salvia elegans  red 2 – 3 feet Not a native.  Acts like a perennial here. Hummingbirds love it and is a great end of season nectar source for hummers.
late Pink Muhly Grass Muhlenbergia capillaris  pink 2 – 3 feet Beautiful fall color and winter seeds for birds.


Common Name Scientific Name Color Height comments
early Lenten Rose Hellebores ssp. multiple 12 – 18 in. Non-native.  Winter bloomer attractive to bees.
early Crocus Crocus ssp. 3 – 6 in. Non-native.  Great winter color.
early Partridgeberry Mitchella repens red up to 3 in. Ground cover for shady areas with bright red berries.

References and Additional Information

[1]  Georgia Native Plant Society
[2]  UGA Extension: Flowering Perennials for Georgia Gardens (B 944)
[3]  Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
[4]  Missouri Botanical Garden
[5]  The Xerces Society
[6]  Butterflies and Moths of North America
[9]  Butterfly Gardening for the South, Geyata Ajilvsgi