Longevity of Perennials

When selecting perennials for the home landscape, it's important to consider their size, bloom period, hardiness, and cultural requirements. Another consideration is their longevity. Some perennials are extremely long-lived. For example, it's not uncommon to see 50- to 60-year-old peonies in older neighborhoods in Iowa. In contrast, some perennials tend to be short-lived. These short-lived perennials persist for several years and then decline and fade away.

A list of long-lived and short-lived perennials are provided below. If given proper growing conditions and good care, long-lived perennials often persist for 20 or more years. Short-lived perennials usually disappear within 10 years.

Long-lived PerennialsShort-lived Perennials
Monkshood (Aconitum spp.)
Lady's Mantle (Alchemilla mollis)
Goatsbeard (Aruncus dioicus)
Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
False Blue Indigo (Baptisia australis)
Snakeroot (Cimicifuga racemosa)
Gas Plant (Dictamnus albus)
Ferns (various species)
Hardy Geraniums (Geranium spp.)
Ornamental Grasses (various species)
Daylily (Hemerocallis spp.)
Hosta (Hosta spp.)
Siberian Iris (Iris sibirica)
Blazing Star (Liatris spp.)
Daffodil (Narcissus spp.)
Peony (Paeonia spp.)
Balloon Flower (Platycodon grandiflorus)
Lungwort (Pulmonaria spp.)
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida 'Gold
Stonecrop (Sedum spp.)
Carolina Lupine (Thermopsis caroliniana)
Columbine (Aquilegia spp.)*
Tickseed (Coreopsis grandiflora)*
Delphinium (Delphinium spp.)
Pinks (Dianthus spp.)
Blanket Flower (Gaillardia x grandiflora)*
Baby's Breath (Gypsophila paniculata)
Coral Bells (Heuchera spp.)
Hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis)
Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum spp.)
Perennial Flax (Linum perenne)*
Lupine (Lupinus hybrids)
Maltese Cross (Lychnis chalcedonica)
Iceland Poppy (Papaver nudicaule)
Pincushion Flower (Scabiosa spp.)
Painted Daisy (Tanacetum coccineum)
Hybrid Tulips (Tulipa spp.)
*Freely reseeds

Links to this article are strongly encouraged, and this article may be republished without further permission if published as written and if credit is given to the author, Yard and Garden, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. If this article is to be used in any other manner, permission from the author is required. This article was originally published on February 22, 2006. The information contained within may not be the most current and accurate depending on when it is accessed.