The state of West Virginia covers USDA plant hardiness zones 5a to 7a making it an excellent region for growing perennials. Because many perennials thrive in USDA plant hardiness zones 4 through 8 or 9, there are a wide range to choose from for your West Virginia perennial bed.
Bear in mind that even though the hardiness zones are listed for the following perennials, hardiness (and growing requirements) can vary even among cultivars of the same plant. Always check the plant identification label carefully to determine if the hardiness zone and growing requirements of the plant match the conditions in your perennial bed.
Coneflowers (Echinacea spp.)
Coneflowers come in a variety of colors from the lovely purple coneflower with its striking orange cone to striking autumn colors that range from deep orange, bronze and mahogany. All feature attractive, reflexed petals that fold backward to reveal a contrasting center. They grow to heights of 2 to 3 feet and work well for the middle of flower beds. These flowers are easy-to-grow and bloom from early to mid-summer into the fall. They prefer a sunny location with full or partial sun and do well in average well-drained soil. They are hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 3 through 9.
Coreopsis (Coreopsis spp.)
For brilliant shades of yellow and gold, coreopsis can’t be beat. These daisy-like flowers can be either single or double petaled and bloom from early summer into the fall. They range in height from short 2-foot varieties to towering plants of 6 feet, depending on the cultivar. Coreopsis does well in full sun, but can tolerate partial shade. It likes average, well-drained soil. Taller varieties benefit from some support and protection from strong winds. Coreopsis is hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 3 through 9.
Bee Balm (Morada)
Bee balm is a natural for attracting bees, butterflies and hummingbirds to the flower bed. These plants produce an abundance of frilly flowers atop stiff, upright stems. They range in color from red or white to lovely shades of pink and purple. Be balm grows to heights of 2 to 4 feet, depending on the cultivar. Plant bee balm in clusters in the middle of flowerbed to create drifts of color. It thrives in full sun in rich, moist soil. It is hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 4 through 9.
Hardy Begonias (Begonia grandis)
The hardy begonia sports rich green, heart-shaped leaves beneath clusters of pink or white flowers. It blooms from mid-summer through to the fall. This shade-loving plant does best in full or dappled shade and will suffer in direct sunlight. It likes, rich soil that is evenly moist and does not dry out excessively. Tuck hardy begonias into shady nooks or dark corners to brighten the area. Foliage dies back completely in the fall. It is hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 6 through 9.
Rudbeckia (Rudbeckia spp.)
The black-eyed Susan adorns flowerbeds across much of America, but that’s not the only rudbeckia that deserves space in your perennial bed. These flowers range in color from traditional yellow-orange to lovely shades of bronze, mahogany, red and gold, depending on the cultivar. They thrive in full sun and will tolerate nearly any soil as long as it drains well. They are hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 4 through 9.
Peonies (Paeonia spp.)
Lovely peonies usher in spring in style with their showy blooms in shades of white, pink and red with many lovely bicolors available, too. Peony blooms can be either single or double petaled with some sporting a distinct yellow center. They attract bees and butterflies and set the garden alight with color and movement. They grow to heights of 2 to 4 feet and do well in either full or partial sun. Peonies like rich, moist soil but will grow in average soil. They are hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 3 through 8.
Maximillian Sunflowers (Helianthus spp.)
This perennial sunflower produces masses of vivid yellow daisy-like flowers atop attractive airy foliage. They bloom from early to mid-summer until the frost in the fall. They grow to heights of 4 to 7 feet and produce 2-3 inch blooms. Maximillian sunflowers thrive in full sun and prefer average to poor soil, as fertile soil will cause excess foliage and fewer blooms. It is hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 3 through 9.
Garden Phlox (Phlox paniculata)
Garden phlox is an old-fashioned flower that has stood the test of time. This showy plant produces masses of tiny flowers clustered together in conical flower head. They range in color from white and magenta to reds, pinks and lavender with many striking bicolors edged in white. They bloom atop 2 to 3 foot stems in early to mid-summer and continue until nearly fall. Garden phlox prefer evenly-moist soil and thrive in either full sun or partial shade. They are hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 4 through 8.
Hostas (Hosta spp.)
You can’t go wrong when you add beautiful hostas to the perennial bed. These delightful plants are grown primarily for their large bold foliage and mounding growth habit. Foliage ranges in color from deep green and blue-green to lovely variegated varieties that are edged in white. Hostas range in height from tiny 8-inch dwarfs to plants that reach 8 feet tall, depending on the cultivar. Hostas prefer partial shade, but will grow in full sun if you provide afternoon shade. They like average well-drained soil that does not dry out excessively. Hostas are hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 3 through 9.
Establishing a perennial bed can be a lot of fun, but there are some things you should keep in mind. Perennials, unlike annuals, typically bloom for a short time before the flowers fade. To keep the garden alive with color all summer it is vital to choose perennials with varying blooming times. It is also important to understand that new perennials may not bloom the first year or may bloom sparingly, but that doesn’t mean you are doing anything wrong. Given time, they will reward you with abundant blooms.