37 Hardy Perennials For Troublesome Climates

Do you need help getting your garden to flourish? Growing a beautiful garden is possible, no matter your region. Many plants on the market are suitable for drought, shade, cold, and heat. It may take digging to find the perfect hardy perennials for your difficult climate. 

Not all problematic climates look the same. Some areas are arid, while others are cold or humid. This can make gardening tricky if you are unsure what you’re dealing with. 

The list below will give you plenty of ideas for your garden while also bringing back memories of old beloved plants. While each of these plants is tough in its preferred climate, it may not be in a region unsuitable for its needs. 

Basket of Gold

Basket of Gold perennials will help create the perfect, bright, inviting walkway all year round.

This perennial blooms in bright yellow for nearly two months, beginning in the middle of spring. Basket of gold has soft gray-green foliage that will remain attractive year-round.

Plant this hardy perennial near a walkway or along the front edge of your perennial beds. 

Basket of gold is not picky about the soil it grows in and loves growing in containers. Give the plant a nice haircut after flowering has finished to neaten up the appearance of your plant. 


Close up of tiny pink and white bell shaped flowers surrounded by small, green, waxy, oval shaped leaves.These shrubs are easy to grow and maintain and thrive in most soil conditions.

Bearberry is an excellent choice for an evergreen groundcover. This pretty plant has rounded, shiny leaves about 1 inch in length. In the spring, small clusters of flowers will appear and last for a few weeks.

Once these flowers fade, they make way for beautiful red berries that will last a few weeks. These berries are edible and can feed wild animals in the winter. 

This low-growing perennial is extremely cold-hardy. Bearberry is also very tolerant of many different soil types. It does not require fertilizer and is tolerant of salty and windy areas. 


Tall skinny, green stem with small, bright pink, trumpet shaped, flowers growing up the stem. Each flower has a white throat and long white stamen.Penstemon comes in over 200 varieties and is known to be drought-tolerant.

Beardtongue is a very pretty perennial that is also tough. A member of the Penstemon genus, more than 200 available varieties exist.

Each has brightly colored, unique flowers that are tube-shaped. You can find varieties in shades of pink, purple, white, and red.

Beardtongue requires well-draining soil. This perennial is a prairie plant and grows much happier in rocky or sandy soil. Beardtongue can tolerate drought but should get about one inch of water per week. 

Bee Balm 

Close up of a light pink, spiky, flower with a tiny black bug perched on one of the spiky petals.Bee balm comes in several different colors and will reach 2 to 4 feet tall.

Native to North America, this perennial herb will grow in moist woodlands and can withstand cold winters. Bee balm produces bright red or purple globe-shaped flowers with fringed petals. These flowers bloom on top of tall stems filled with aromatic leaves. 

Grow bee balm in rich soil. This is not a drought-tolerant perennial.

It tolerates moisture for short periods of time. Cut back your bee balm to the ground before your first frost.

Black-Eyed Susan

Several bright yellow flowers with long skinny petals and a large, brown, dome shaped center.These cheerful flowers are drought-tolerant and can thrive just about anywhere.

Black-eyed Susans are one of the most versatile perennials out there. Their bright yellow daisy-like flowers are recognizable by most gardeners.

These yellow blossoms may be single or double and can be found in pure yellow with hints of red or orange. Blooming all summer long, all these plants need is to be deadheaded if you wish to prevent self-sowing while promoting a second round of blooms. 

This perennial can grow as a wildflower, typically meaning it can grow nearly anywhere. Black-eyed Susans are drought-tolerant once established and love all soil types except wet and poor-draining soils. 

Blanket Flower 

Close up of several pink flowers that have small overlapping, pink and yellow petals with a spiky brown and yellow center.The blanket flower loves well-drained soil and will require some deadheading.

If you seek a brightly colored flower for your dry and sunny beds, look no further than the blanket flower. This perennial produces red and orange daisy-like flowers that could be single or double.

The foliage is an attractive shade of grey-green that grows in a lovely mounded shape. Deadhead the flowers to encourage more blossoms and to neaten up the plant.

While the blanket flower is cold-hardy, it is drought-tolerant and can withstand heat. This perennial only requires well-draining soil. 

Blazing Star

Tall thick, green, flower stalks that have clusters of flower buds growing up the tops of each stalk. Some of the buds have bloomed into skinny, hairy like, light purple petals.These unique flowers will bring a pop of color to your cold, dark winters.

Blazing star is a lovely perennial that got its humble, yet tough, beginnings as a wildflower. Now, this perennial is available in a few different varieties with large stalks of flowers in a few shades of purple or white.

The foliage is just as attractive as the flowers, with long leaves resembling grass blades. When the flowers have faded, snip the stems back to within the foliage to neaten up your garden. 

While blazing star is an excellent choice for dry soils, it is also very cold-tolerant. This perennial prefers dry and poor soils. Overfly fertile soil will cause the tall flower stems to flop over. 

Blue False Indigo

Close up of a large black and yellow bumble bee perched on a small purple flower growing out the side of a tall, green, flower stalk.This variety adapts quickly in any garden and will reach 2 to 5 feet tall.

Blue false indigo is one of the loveliest perennials around. The gentle green leaves are born on stems that arch, giving the plant a beautiful vase shape.

While there are many varieties of Baptisia in various colors, it is most recognizable in its shades of bluish-purple. After the flowers fade, give the stems a slight trim to encourage vigor. Cut nearly to the ground in the late fall, before winter. 

Blue false indigo will establish itself quickly in your garden. When it does so, it will be drought tolerant. This perennial is also very tolerant of poor soil. 

Blue Fescue

Rows of light greenish-blue, grassy, bushes.This ornamental grass will add texture and color to your drought-tolerant garden.

Blue fescue is a small ornamental grass that perfectly adds to your sunny, dry gardens. Growing to about 2 feet in height, these small tufts of grass produce blue blades of grass that are arranged in an attractive mounded shape. In the fall, blue fescue will produce straw-colored flower plumes.

This ornamental grass is tough as nails. It thrives in drought and heat.

It does not need to be cut back or deadheaded. Every few years, it should be divided to keep the clumps attractive. Transplant to other parts of your garden and expand your blue fescue population. 

Blue Oat Grass 

Several clusters of tall grassy, light green, bushes.This staple grass is perfect for coastal, beachy gardens.

Blue oat grass is a beautiful ornamental grass. If you like blue fescue, this is very similar, except it is a bit more substantial. Growing from two to five feet tall, this grass produces lovely blue grass blades that are strong but will still have a bit of a fountain-like shape to them. 

Blue oat grass is lovely for coastal or particularly dry gardens. They require very little water and very little care. Pair them with low-growing, sand-loving perennials for a charming, low-maintenance garden. 

California Lilac

Bush with dozens of clusters of tiny, light bluish-purple, flowers growing in bunches on the ends of long, thick, green stems.This is a fast-growing shrub that, depending on the variety, will bloom at different times of the year.

While the California lilac is not a true lilac, it offers many of the same charming features. There are many different varieties of California lilac, and many of them bloom at different times of the year.

You will find types in shades of blue, purple, and white. This quick-growing shrub can be evergreen, depending on which variety you select. 

California lilac doesn’t like to be pruned too much. Take that into account when you are choosing a planting site for this plant. California lilac is tolerant of most soil types as long as they are well-drained. 


Tall flower stalks with clusters of trumpet shaped, light purple flowers growing up the stalk.Nepeta is heat and cold-tolerant and can thrive in many soil conditions.

Catmint is a classic garden perennial. Producing silver-green aromatic foliage, this perennial creates a lovely mounded shape that looks beautiful anywhere in your garden.

In the summertime, catmint has long spikes of long-lasting purple flowers. When this first round of flowers fades, give the whole plant a haircut. This will promote a second round of blooms.

Catmint is a cold-tolerant perennial that also does well in heat. It is tolerant of many soil types and is drought-tolerant once established.


Close up of a light pinkish-red flower that has five longer, spaced apart petals behind five, white, cup shaped petals in the center. This native will grow around 3 feet tall.

Columbine is a lovely perennial with colorful and unique flowers. Growing to about 3 feet tall, this perennial will begin to bloom in late spring and last into the summer. The foliage of columbine is a low-growing clump, and the flowers which are spurred bloom on slender stems above the foliage. 

Columbine is a beautiful cool weather plant due to its excellent cold tolerance. It’s not a good choice for warm climates. Columbine is tolerant of many different soil types.


Close up of a field of peach and pink colored flowers with long, oval shaped petals and a large, spiky, orange and brown, dome shaped center.Coneflowers come in various colors, such as pink, purple, orange, white, and more.

Coneflowers are a sure sign of summer and grow very nicely to fill large garden patches. This perennial produces large daisy-like flowers. While purple is the most popular, it comes in various colors, including pink, purple, orange, white, and more. The petals surround a large center cone that holds the seeds.

When these flowers fade, deadhead them to encourage new blooming. Or you may leave the spent flowers on the plant to allow the seeds to mature. These seeds may self-sow right into your garden and provide food for critters in the chillier months. 

Coneflowers grow best in well-draining soil. Once this perennial is established in your garden, it is drought tolerant. 


Close up of a bush that has clusters of tiny, light pink, berries on the top of each stem, surrounded by light green leaves.This low-maintenance shrub is both hot and cold-tolerant.

Coralberry is an excellent low-maintenance shrub choice that loves to be ignored. This shrub is known and loved for its decorative berries. These berries come from pretty bell-shaped flowers and are present in a charming coral shade of pink.

The flowers will bloom from springtime to the middle of summer. This is a deciduous shrub. It will lose its leaves during the wintertime. The good news is that the beautiful berries will be prevalent through most of the winter, adding beautiful charm to your garden. 

Coralberry loves to be neglected. While it grows best in moist and fertile soil, it is drought-tolerant and extremely cold-tolerant. 

Coral Bells

Tall red flower stalk that has clusters of small pink flowers growing up the stalk.Coral bells prefer full to partial sun and will reach 1 to 2 feet tall.

Grown primarily for its beautiful foliage, coral bells is an evergreen perennial. So many varieties are available with foliage in shades of green, orange, red, and nearly black.

In the late spring, small bell-shaped flowers will begin to poke up and out of the mounded foliage below. If you have dry shade areas in your garden, coral bells will be perfect for you.

Coral bells love to grow in sandy soil, although it does best when that soil can remain slightly moist. After this perennial is established, it becomes much more tolerant of challenging conditions. 

Creeping Thyme

Dozens of tiny pink flowers growing low to the ground.This beautiful perennial is becoming a popular lawn-replacement.

Creeping thyme is typically used as a groundcover, but recently it has been gaining popularity as a lawn alternative. This little shrub has pointy leaves that cover the shrub nicely and will turn bronze in the fall. In the summer, these leaves will be accompanied by small purple flowers attracting bees and other pollinators. Once the blooms pass, the leaves will remain attractive year-round. 

Creeping thyme grows very nicely in poor soils and is drought-tolerant.  Use creeping thyme in flower gardens, rock gardens, or as a lawn alternative. 


Close up of a bright orange flower that has six long, skinny, curved, orange petals and long yellow stamen in the center.Daylilies are easy to fit into any garden.

The daylily genus is large and features hundreds of varieties. With so many choices, finding the perfect daylily for your garden is easy.

This perennial produces long, narrow leaves that resemble grass. In the summer, they produce tall and sturdy stems which support a few flowers each. These flowers, while short-lived, are large and colorful. 

Daylilies prefer moist but well-draining soil. However, they are tolerant of many soil types. This perennial is also tolerant of drought, high humidity, and summer heat. 

Eastern Blue Star

Field of tall flower stalks with clusters of light blue, star shaped, flowers growing on the top of each stalk.Eastern Blue Star is drought-tolerant.

The eastern blue star is a lovely perennial for home gardeners. Beginning in the spring, this perennial produces beautiful light blue flowers.

These flowers are star-shaped and are gathered together in loose clusters. The foliage is lovely and covers each stem with narrow but elongated leaves. 

Eastern blue star is native to North America and offers benefits to the local ecosystem. One benefit is its ability to thrive in prairie-like conditions. Once established in your garden, this perennial is drought tolerant. When the blue flowers have passed, cut the plant back by one-third to maintain the shape and beauty of the plant. 

Globe Flower 

Close up of two tiny yellow, round flowers. Each flower has bright yellow, rounded petals, overlapping and curled up into a ball shape.These perennials are perfect if you need to fill a damp area in your garden.

Try adding globe flowers if you want to up the ante in your spring blooming. This perennial produces bowl-shaped flowers in a glowing shade of yellow.

After these flowers fade, cut them back. Divide the clumps every couple of years to keep them blooming nicely and expand your globe flower garden!

Globe flower is a great choice if your garden has a damp area. This perennial is also pretty cold-tolerant and is hardy to zone 3. It doesn’t like hot summers and the dry soils that accompany them. 

Hens and Chicks

Tall thick, waxy stem with bright, star shaped flowers on the top of each stem. At the base of each stem are clusters of smaller, thick, rosettes that fade from light green to light pink.These perennials are heat and drought-resistant, making them a perfect fit for rock gardens and desert landscaping.

Hens and chicks are very low-growing succulents. This succulent begins with one central rosette called the “hen.” It spreads and produces “chicks,” creating a beautiful and unique mat. This is a great plant selection for rock gardens, small cracks or crevices in retaining walls, and containers.  

This succulent is shockingly cold-hardy while also being very heat tolerant. Planting hens and chicks in well-drained but fertile soil will give you the best results as long as there is some grit to the texture of the soil, such as sand. 

Ice Plant

Close up of a bright pinkish-purple flower that has dozens of long, skinny, overlapping petals, surrounding a light yellow, spiky, center. The leaves surrounding it are small, thick, waxy, and pointy.Part of the succulent family, these perennials have long blooms and come in many colors.

Ice plant makes a great addition to any garden. This evergreen succulent will begin to bloom in the spring and will keep producing flowers all season. You can find varieties of ice plants in various colors, including pink, white, yellow, and purple. 

Ice plant grows best in well-draining, poor soils. If this perennial receives too much water or lives in moist soil, it will not grow as expected and will suffer. Ice plant is a great ground cover for your rock gardens. 

Lavender Cotton

Close up of a bush that has light grey, fern like foliage with light yellow, spherical flowers.This unique perennial will add texture and sweet aromas to your garden.

This neat plant is a dwarf shrub that gardeners will primarily grow for its aromatic foliage, but I think the flowers are pretty neat. The leaves of lavender cotton are a soft grey and deeply cut, almost fern-like.

The flowers are yellow and spherical, growing on long, slender stems. Lavender cotton blooms in the late summer or early spring, depending on where you live. 

Lavender cotton is drought-tolerant and grows well in a wide range of soils. Overly wet soils will cause issues with this plant, so keep it in your dry and hot gardens. 

Mountain Rock Cress

Close up of tiny white flowers with four rounded petals and a yellow center.This perennial ground cover will grow in dry soils.

This pretty evergreen plant is native to the United States and highly adaptable to many climates nationwide. When springtime rolls around, this plant will burst with loose clusters of white flowers. 

Mountain rock cress is perfect for a ground cover in front of your perennial gardens or in your rock gardens. This perennial thrives in poor soil and is very drought-tolerant.

When flowering has finished, cut this plant back severely. The only remaining leaves will be those at the base of the plant, but they will stay attractive year-round. 


Close up of two light purple flowers that have five, fan shaped petals and a white throat.Periwinkle is a low-growing flower that will attract many pollinators to your yard.

This perennial ground cover will produce deep green leaves on the vining stems. In the springtime, periwinkle will bloom with purple or white flowers, and suddenly, the bees will be abuzz in your yard.

As a bonus, this is an evergreen vine. While the flowers may not last year round, the green leaves will keep your ground properly covered and look glossy and beautiful all winter. 

For me, in my garden, periwinkle is the perfect ground cover. I have it growing in inferior soil baked by the heat and in my woodland edges where the soil is fertile and moist.

Periwinkle forms such a nice mat that it is excellent for suppressing rampant weeds in hot gardens. Plant on slopes or throughout your wooded gardens. Drought tolerant once established.

Pincushion Flower 

Several flowers with dark red petals in the shape of a dome on top of tall, slender, light green stems.The Pincushion flower is delicate in appearance but surprisingly hardy, tolerant of both hot and cold climates.

The pincushion flower is a clump-forming perennial that sports pincushion-like flowers in shades of blue, pink, and nearly black. The foliage is mounded and very attractive. The pincushion flowers look best when planted in large groupings, but they also make charming additions to perennial or rock gardens. 

The pincushion flower is relatively drought tolerant, and it is also cold hardy. It is not picky regarding soil, just so long as it is not too wet. The further south you live, the more tolerant the pincushion flower is of shade. This is an easy plant to grow from seed!

Poppy Mallow

Close up of a light pink flower with five, fan shaped, light pink petals that fade into white in the center.This whimsical flower will thrive in hot and cold climates.

Poppy mallow is a late spring blooming plant that will dazzle you and your garden. The cup-shaped flowers bloom in a bright shade of purple atop deeply lobed leaves. This foliage is evergreen in warmer climates and is an excellent addition to your winter gardens. 

Poppy mallow grows best in dry soils. Sandy and rocky soils work great as well! If poppy mallow sits in water too long, you may struggle with diseases like rust. 

Rock Rose

Close up of a bright yellow flower that has five, rounded overlapping petals and tall yellow stamen in the center.This perennial blooms for only one day.

Rock rose is a low-growing evergreen shrub. This shrub will begin blooming in the late spring. Each blossom will bloom for one day, but this shrub will continue to produce new buds and blooms all summer. 

Plant rock rose in well-draining soil. Rock Rose is drought tolerant. Add to your rock gardens or sunny flower beds and borders. 

Rose Sage

Field of tall flower stalks that have clusters of deep red flower clusters growing at the top of each stalk.This plant features fragrant foliage and beautiful, eye-catching blooms.

Rose sage, also known as Mojave sage, is an evergreen perennial producing purplish-blue flower spikes. These flowers are especially showy due to the purple bracts which surround them.

The foliage is fragrant light green with a touch of silver. This perennial is tolerant of most soil types, but it should be planted in well-draining soil.

Russian Sage

Several large bushes with tall, light purple flower stalks with tiny light purple flowers growing up each one.This popular coastal plant is very salt tolerant.

Russian sage is a beautiful shrub-like perennial. This plant produces low-growing soft silver leaves and long spikes of purple flowers.

Russian sage will begin to bloom in the summer and will last well into the fall. Just before winter sets in, cut this plant almost all the way back to the ground. 

Russian sage has been known to flop over. Staking this plant can help, but so can planting it in the sun. This will keep the plant more compact and less leggy. 

Once Russian sage is well established, it is drought tolerant. Russian sage makes an excellent coastal plant as it is very salt tolerant.  

Sea Holly

Close up of light purple, round, spiky flowers that are surrounded by seven, long, spaced apart, light purple petals.These perennials can thrive in harsh, dry conditions and reach about 1 to 3 feet tall.

Sea holly is a uniquely beautiful perennial that thrives in poor soils.  These perennials give the appearance of being sharp and prickly, but they are not.

The egg-shaped cluster of flowers is surrounded by showy bracts intended to protect the flower but truly offer some entertaining drama to your garden. Sea holly is primarily purple, but white varieties are also available. 

Plant sea holly in your sandy gardens that receive full sun. This is a great plant to grow in your garden’s bone-dry, scorching-hot portion. Cut the plant back to the ground in the fall to protect it from winter damage and rejuvenate it for the next growing season. 

Siberian Iris 

Field of tall flower stalks with light purple flowers perched on top. Each flower has several petals curled down and away from the center petals that are pointed in an upwards direction.These flowers love full sun to partial shade and come in a few different colors.

Siberian irises are not entirely unlike other irises in the genus. The main difference with Siberian irises is that the flowers are smaller and less showy.

These flowers are commonly shades of blue, purple, and yellow. The upside to the smaller blossoms is that they are very long-lasting. Plant Siberian irises in groupings for maximum impact.  

The Siberian iris is excellent for colder climates and tolerant of many growing conditions. While this perennial prefers regularly moist soil, it is drought tolerant once established in your garden. 


Clusters of tiny white berries hanging down from a skinny branch, surrounded by dark, dusty, round leaves.In the summertime, snowberry produces small flowers beloved by many different pollinators.

Snowberry is known for its beautiful white berries that bring winter interest into home gardens. This shrub is evergreen and remains attractive year-round. In the summertime, snowberry produces small flowers that aren’t showy but beloved by pollinators.

Once the flowers fade, they make way for the beautiful white berries. These berries feed critters all winter long. 

This shrub is perfect for a woodland edge or an area where you would love to add some shrubs but only want to spend some time maintaining them. Snowberry grows best with neglect. This shrub tolerates varying sunlight conditions and does best in well-draining soil, so avoid planting snowberries anywhere damp. 

Sticky Purple Geranium 

Close up of small, light purple flowers that have dark purple veins and a light pink center.Sticky purple geranium produces purple blooms all summer long.

If you love the more common perennial or hardy geranium, the sticky purple geranium is an excellent option for difficult climates. The palmate leaves and purple flowers are reminiscent of its geranium family members. Once these flowers have bloomed, they will produce large seed pods that can provide food for critters. 

Once established, the sticky purple geranium will not require supplemental watering. This perennial will look beautiful all season long and even offers red foliage just in time for fall!


Tall, thick, light green flower stalks with bright red clusters of tiny flowers growing at the top of each stalk.This perennial succulent thrives in dry soil.

Stonecrop, or sedum, is a large group of perennial succulents that are as beautiful as they are tough. There are many varieties to choose from, and each offers different qualities.

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ is a classic garden plant growing to about 2 feet tall and producing gorgeous red flowers in the summer and fall. Sedum ‘Angelina’ is chartreuse in color and low growing and mat-forming. 

You can choose to deadhead blossoms from these plants, but leaving them on the plant will add winter interest to your garden. Stonecrop loves full sun and dry soils. Once your stonecrop is established in your garden, it will be drought and heat-tolerant, as well as disease-free!


Close up of several bright yellow flowers with a bright yellow center. Each flower has eight, overlapping, petals with a jagged edge.Deadheading these flowers will bring a second round of blooms in the fall.

Tickseed, commonly called coreopsis, is a sunny perennial bursting with yellow flowers. This fluffy, almost shrubby perennial will grow to about 2 feet tall, most of which is made of its fern-like lacy leaves. Tickseed is a summer bloomer and will bloom longer into the fall if you deadhead the first round of flowers as they fade. 

Too much shade can cause these plants to get lanky and flop over. This perennial is not picky about the soil it grows in, with varieties that even favor sand or rocky soil. 


Tall, thick, green flower stalks with tiny white flower clusters growing at the top of each stalk. This pollinator favorite is drought tolerant and loves to be in full sun.

Yarrow is an ancient plant that was once used for healing soldiers. Today it has grown from a wildflower into a very intentionally planted perennial with many benefits.

Its foliage is feathery and is often in a soft shade of green. The flowers bloom at the tips of stems and come in various colors, including white, pink, orange, and yellow. For a beautiful display, try ‘Colorado Blend’. This collection of rainbow colors easily grows from seed.

Deadhead once the first bloom has passed to encourage a second round. If you want your yarrow to spread, leave the spent flowers to dry on the plant. 

Yarrow is not too picky about its soil type. This perennial thrives in well-draining soil, so don’t over-soak it. 

Final Thoughts 

Do not get stressed out searching for the perfectly tough plant. There are so many beautiful options for you to consider. When shopping at your local garden center, you will likely have no trouble finding plants suitable for your climate. If you shop online, triple-check that the plants will work for your garden. All the plants I have listed above are tough plants that can grow in difficult, albeit different, climates. Good planting and care practices will help you develop a beautiful garden. 

Leave a comment