Note: Updated January 25, 2019
With spring coming up in a few months, does the warmer weather get you thinking about gardening? Have you ever wondered what the best perennials for Calgary are? Considering our dynamic climate, sometimes choosing the best perennials for the season can be daunting. Our horticultural team has put together a list of seven perennial flowers that grow best in Calgary. In this list we’ve included the bearded iris, the cranesbill, the globe thistle, the peony, the blue flax, and the blanket flower.
Bearded Iris (Iris spp.)
This type of flower is both charming and sturdy. The buds of irises will grow until a crisp dawn causes the petals to gently peel back, revealing a beautiful design. The term ‘iris’ is of Greek origin and means rainbow, which is fitting as bearded irises come in a wide range of colors. Irises love all types of soil, but particularly enjoy being around or in water (next to a water feature perhaps?). Bearded irises require full sun and tend to bloom mid-May to mid-June. If you’re looking to add some majestic colour to your flowerbed, consider the addition of a beautiful bearded iris.
Cranesbill (Geranium x)
The cranesbill is a type of geranium that grows in clusters and blooms throughout the summer. The cranesbill is great for planting around path borders. This type of geranium is fairly moisture retentive and can go up to a week without watering (although not recommended). The great thing about geraniums is that they do not need any fertilizers, making them perfect for the eco-wise gardener.
Globe Thistle (Echinops ritro)
The globe thistle is an eye-catching perennial due to its bicolor foliage of blue and green. An important note is to dead head globe thistle (the process of removing the flowers that are turning brown or loosing their petals) to prevent self-sowing. The globe thistle is fairly adaptable to multiple kinds of soils, making it a great fit for growing in Calgary. The globe thistle works best when it’s paired with flowers that have contrasting textures and foliage.
Peony (Paeonia cvs.)
The peony is an old-fashioned flower that is very traditional in nature. This type of perennial should be planted in early fall or spring when soil is warm. Peonies will bloom in the late spring or early summer. This type of flower will flourish in all soil types that have good drainage. Peonies are highly fragrant and bloom in almost every single colour except blue. The peony makes for an excellent cut flower, as they are a beautiful addition indoors.
Blue Flax (Linum perenne)
This type of flower comes in shades of pale lavender blue and white. The blue flax is versatile in all soil types as long as it is well drained. The blue flax will bloom best in full sun and can grow up to 60 cm tall. The blue flax is distinct with its spectacular spirally arranged leaves.
Blanket Flower (Gaillardia aristata)
This type of flower is known to attract butterflies, making for a beautiful sight to be seen. The blanket flower is a hearty flower and has the ability to withstand very dry ground. Blooms can be seen from spring to fall. You may know the blanket flower by a different name as this flower comes in a range of hybrid versions and colors. This plant is also native to the prairies, making it the perfect fit for a flowerbed in Calgary.