perennial wisconsin

Grow Your Garden with Perennial Wisconsin Plants

When thinking of perennials in Wisconsin, you might picture frosty lawns and snowy pines. But, imagine gardens bursting with color that stand up to the Midwest’s unpredictable weather. OurWisconsinGarden will show you how to plant perennials that bloom beautifully year after year. We’ve selected a variety of hardy perennials perfect for our unique climate.

Wisconsin’s changing weather is no problem for a well-planned garden. For 2023, we recommend 23 plants, including tough perennials that love our climate, making your garden a colorful and vibrant space1. Among these, the Dark Side of the Moon astilbe shines with its deep, rich tones and mysterious appeal. It’s a standout in Wisconsin gardens and won the 2023 Green Thumb Award1.

Picture these hardy perennials as the backbone of your garden2. Here, the sturdy Adnophora Liliifolia meets the tall, graceful Asiatic lilies. This blend of strength and elegance defines our local flora. Let’s work together to grow a garden that thrives in every Wisconsin season.

Table of Contents

Embracing the Climate: Hardy Perennials for Wisconsin Weather

In Wisconsin, picking out hardy perennials is key due to our unique climate. Our state has specific zones that guide us in choosing plants that can handle the cold and keep blooming. With rainfall increasing by 5% to 15% since the early 90s3, and expected to rise up to 20% by the mid-21st century3, we need plants that can deal with more water, too.

Understanding Wisconsin Hardiness Zones

Winter-proof perennials form the core of our gardens in Wisconsin. Knowing the temperature ranges in our zones helps us pick the right plants. By selecting species like coneflowers and sedum, we boost our garden’s chances against Wisconsin’s unpredictable weather.

Top Hardy Perennials for Thriving Through the Cold

We choose hardy perennials that are known to withstand Wisconsin’s cold winters. Black-eyed Susans and daylilies are great at surviving and flourishing in such conditions. They’re strong, adaptable, and keep the garden looking good every year.

Winter-Proof Favorites: Surviving Wisconsin’s Harsh Weather

When winter hits hard, we rely on perennials that can stand the cold and beautify our gardens. Hellebores, ornamental grasses, and winterberry look great against snow, adding texture and color. These plants show our gardens can stay lively even in the coldest months.

Designing Your Perennial Wisconsin Landscape

When creating a perennial Wisconsin landscape, we consider sun and shade, color, and easy care. Wisconsin’s weather poses challenges, but understanding local conditions helps. We aim for a garden that’s not only lovely but also easy to maintain.

Maximizing Sun and Shade: Layout Strategies

The right light balance can make your garden shine. Place sun-loving plants like prairie dropseed and black-eyed Susan in sunny spots. Shade-tolerant plants like ferns and wild ginger go in darker areas. This way, every plant gets the light it needs for a lush Wisconsin garden.

It’s also smart to think about how sunlight moves across your garden. Knowing this helps you plan where to plant for the best growth and enjoyment.

Selecting Color Palettes and Bloom Times for Continuous Beauty

Choosing the right colors can make your garden stand out. Aim for a scheme that looks good and fits the local landscape. By picking plants that bloom at different times, your garden will always have some color.

Adding plants like sedum and witch hazel extends the blooming season. A garden that changes colors through the year needs careful planning. Consider how different plants’ bloom times and colors will blend over the seasons.

Natural Beauty with Low Maintenance: Groundcovers and Native Species

Using groundcovers and native plants means less work and more beauty. Native species like wild columbine and butterfly weed help local wildlife4. Plants for rain gardens, like Joe-Pye weed, cut down on flooding and clean the water4. Organizations like Wild Ones and The Xerces Society offer tips for using these plants in your garden4. This approach helps preserve Wisconsin’s beauty with minimal effort.

A Sanctuary for Wildlife: Perennial Wisconsin Gardens

butterfly gardens in wisconsin

We love joining nature and gardening to create beautiful wisconsin perennial gardens. These gardens are more than just pretty. They are homes for animals big and small. We choose native plants and space everything just right. This way, our gardens look great and help the environment5.

Creating a Butterfly and Pollinator Paradise

We want to make butterfly and pollinator gardens full of color and life. By picking plants that bloom at different times, we keep butterflies coming all year6. We listen to experts and our community. Together, we make gardens that are good for pollinators7.

Choosing Deer-Resistant and Hummingbird-Friendly Perennials

We also think about animals like deer when we choose our plants. We pick flowers that deer don’t eat but that hummingbirds love. This way, every animal finds a place in our gardens5.

Milkweed for Monarchs: Balancing Beauty with Safety

Milkweed for monarch butterflies is central to our work. We make sure these plants are safe for monarchs. By doing this, we help protect these beautiful butterflies6.

Together, these choices create a garden that thrives in Wisconsin’s weather. It also supports local wildlife. We invite you to enjoy these gardens. They are beautiful and support animals we all love.

Perennial Wisconsin for Every Niche

Wisconsin’s gardens are a rich tapestry with a spot for every plant. Whether in shade or sun, many plants are ready to beautify our outdoor spaces. Choosing the right plants can make any garden niche thrive.

Groundcovers: Beautifying Difficult Areas

Groundcovers excel in hard-to-grow areas. They are the tough members of our garden, thriving where others won’t. Shade-loving groundcovers like Vinca and Pachysandra spread beneath trees, creating a lush carpet.

Vertical Accents: Clematis and Other Climbers

Vertical elements add a new layer to our gardens. Climbers, like the vibrant clematis and sweet-smelling honeysuckle, bring height and drama. They use every bit of space, turning the air into a living painting.

Edging and Borders: Defining Spaces with Low-Growth Varieties

Edging and borders sketch our garden’s shape. Using low-growers like creeping thyme or sedum makes for pretty, textured lines. They mark garden areas with elegance and precision.

Wisconsin’s wetlands are battling Reed Canary Grass (RCG), which covers over 500,000 acres8. Introduced in the early 1900s, RCG spreads fast, crowding out native species8. It grows over 10 feet yearly, spreading through seeds and stems8. Controlling RCG, which has over 115 types, is crucial for ecology8. For more on managing RCG, check the Reed Canary Grass Management Guide.


Gardening with perennials in Wisconsin isn’t just a hobby for us—it’s a promise to make our outdoor spaces beautifully lasting. We carefully choose perennials that can handle Wisconsin’s tough weather. This creates gardens that last. People like Richie Steffen, a fern lover with 35 years in the field, show how much hard work gardening takes9.

On our gardening journey, we’ve learned a lot from top gardeners. For example, Brent Horvath has introduced over 100 new perennials. He’s won awards, including a Gold from GWA and the PPA Grower of the Year in 20169. We aim high in choosing perennials, inspired by such achievements. Garden writers like Nina Koziol, with her articles and years teaching about gardens, also guide our choices9.

We urge you to dive into gardening, using Wisconsin’s climate to your advantage. Our gardening strategies mix colors and support wildlife. This turns gardens into havens for bees and adds beauty. Every plant we pick and every garden we design is influenced by seasoned gardeners. Together, we’re creating a perennial oasis in Wisconsin. This brings life-affirming green spaces around our homes.


What are perennial Wisconsin plants?

Perennial Wisconsin plants are strong survivors of the state’s tough winters. They return each year, making gardens beautiful for a long time.

What are the best perennial plants for Wisconsin gardens?

Coneflowers, black-eyed Susans, daylilies, and sedum are great for Wisconsin. They’re tough and grow well in the local weather.

How do I determine the hardiness zones in Wisconsin?

Knowing Wisconsin’s hardiness zones helps pick the right plants. Each zone has different temperatures. This makes sure your plants can grow well.

What are some winter-proof favorites for Wisconsin gardens?

Evergreen perennials like hellebores, grasses, and winterberry are good for winter. They keep the garden looking good, even in the cold.

How can I maximize sun and shade in my Wisconsin garden?

Place your plants thoughtfully to use the sun and shade well. Some love the sun, others grow in the shade. This helps each plant get what it needs.

What factors should I consider when selecting color palettes for my garden?

Think about when each plant blooms to pick your colors. Mixing different bloom times lets you enjoy colors all season.

What are some low maintenance options for Wisconsin gardens?

Groundcovers and native plants are easy to care for. They keep the garden pretty and help local wildlife, without much work.

How can I create a butterfly and pollinator paradise in my Wisconsin garden?

To make a home for butterflies and bees, choose the right plants. Offer flowers for nectar, places to hide, and water. This will bring them to your garden.

What are some deer-resistant and hummingbird-friendly perennials for Wisconsin gardens?

For a garden safe from deer, try coneflowers and bee balm. Trumpet vine and columbine will attract hummingbirds.

Why should I include milkweed in my Wisconsin garden?

Milkweed is vital for monarch butterflies. It feeds their young. Growing milkweed helps monarchs and adds beauty.

How can I utilize perennial Wisconsin plants in different niches in my garden?

Use perennials as groundcovers, vertical accents, or for borders. They bring beauty and versatility to any garden spot.

What are some groundcovers suitable for Wisconsin gardens?

Creeping phlox and dwarf daylilies are great groundcovers. They fix tough spots like slopes or shady areas, controlling erosion and adding beauty.

How can I add vertical accents to my Wisconsin garden?

Clematis and climbers add height and drama. Train them on structures like arbors to make eye-catching points.

What are some low-growth varieties suitable for edging and borders in Wisconsin gardens?

Creeping phlox and dwarf daylilies are great for edges and borders. They bring color and structure to garden edges.

Source Links

  8. Canary Grass Management Guide_0.pdf


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