Five Hardy Fruiting Plants and Perennials for Your Outdoor Garden
By Laurelynn Martin
Planting hardy fruits and perennials outdoors is one of the great joys of springtime gardening. Many of these plants will grow, bloom and fruit in a matter of months so it’s a miraculous event to witness. We have chosen some favorite hardy plants for their color, fragrance and fruit. The ‘Grand Cascade’ Butterfly bush is one of my favorites.
Huge lavender flower panicles measure 12-14” long and look like a series of cascading wands to attract pollinators. It’s quite a site when dozens of butterflies, bees and hummingbirds work the honey-scented blossoms of these nectar-filled treats. ‘Grand Cascade’ flowers in late summer to early fall and dies back to the ground in colder zones during the winter months. However, as soon as next year’s growth begins, ‘Grand Cascade’ fills out and starts flowering again.
I’ve grown Maypop in my garden for many years along a south-facing stonewall. The 3” flowers put on a show all summer long, with their creamy pink petals and fully banded corollas. Every day I walk by to find a new bloom and inhale the sweet fragrance of Maypop Passionflower. By the end of the summer, I am rewarded with the succulent fruit that forms on the vines.
Paw Paws are native to North America and they are some of the easiest hardy fruiting trees to grow. Purple flowers bloom in springtime and the green fruit ripens to golden yellow by early fall. The large, flavorful fruit has a flavor similar to banana custard and can be stored in a refrigerator for several weeks. You must plant two different varieties for cross-pollination. Paw Paws are not susceptible to insects and diseases and therefore they make easy-care fruiting trees. Expect fruit 2-3 years after planting and fruit yields usually exceed 30 pounds per tree.
Two more favorite hardy flowering plants are the Rose ‘Ringo’ and Allium ‘Millenium.’ Both are easy growers and do best in full sun. Rose ‘Ringo’ p.p. (Rosa Hybrid) flowers delight the onlooker with a kaleidoscope of color since they open bright yellow with red centers and as the blooms age, they become lighter yellow and finally white with pink centers. ‘Ringo’ blooms from summer to fall, and no deadheading is required.
Allium ‘Millenium’ (Allium hybrid) has garnished a lot of attention for its fragrant 2” rose-purple flowers that bloom in profusion during June, July and August. Individual flowers last up to a month and stand tall on its aromatic foliage. Allium also makes a great pollinator plant for butterflies and bees. No wonder it was the 2018 Perennial Plant of the Year winner. Allium is a great addition to a cut flower arrangement, or the flowers can be dried and preserved.
We hope you’ll enjoy planting some hardy fruits and perennials in your garden this year and these plants will reward you with beauty and bountiful harvests for years to come. You can learn more below about the hardy fruits and perennials mentioned in this article: