6 of Our Favorite Perennials for 2023

asheville native perennials, asheville native plants, bee balm asheville, wnc native perennials

It’s December and we thought it would be a good time to reflect on some of our favorite plants this year.  For this list, we are only including herbaceous perennials, more to come for shrubs and other plants.  Plants are in no particular order and are chosen both for beauty and ease of growth for us in the mountains of Western North Carolina.

1. Baptisia, Lemon Merangue

We LOVE baptisia, and Lemon Merangue might just top the list.  There is something perfect with its silvery leaves and bright yellow flowers in spring.  If it underwhelms at first, just give it a year or two to find its stride.

2.  Monarda punctata

This bee balm took us by surprise this year.  This native is tough to find and doesn’t love being in pots, but if you can find some, scoop it up.  Not only are the flowers unique and long-lasting, it also attracts unique pollinators like wasps.

3. Gaura, Whirling Butterflies

Never mind the bad pic on this one, it’s a beauty in the landscape.  The pink varieties of Gaura are nice too, but there is something about the tall classic Whirling Butterflies variety.  If you trim these back after flowering, the show will extend up to fall.

4. Iris Germanica, My Friend Jonathan

Iris isn’t a huge favorite of this author, but this is a show-stopper.  What really sold us on My Friend Jonathan, besides the name, was another big fat fresh bloom in October.

5. Allium, Lavender Bubbles

You can’t go wrong with any of the summer-blooming alliums in Western North Carolina.  They are easy as pie, deer-resistant, and take the clay like a champ.  We love how they look like grass early in the season, then pop out purple pom pom flowers in the heat of summer after many flowers are fading.

6. Coreopsis, Enchanted Eve

Coreopsis is another family that does very well in this area and comes in a big range of colors.  Enchanted Eve is in the “Lil Bang” series so it stays shorter than other varieties.  Any of them are great plants, but we liked this one for its paint brush-like effect with the red and yellow, vigorous growth, and flower power.

Stay tuned for more of our favorite plants of 2023!


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