ConeflowerAre you addicted to home improvement shows on TV? If so, do you ever notice how they always spend time and money on the front yard landscaping? That’s because they know that a beautiful front yard goes a long way towards improving a home’s beauty and value. And one of the most reliable perennials for front yard spaces is coneflower. This sun-worshiper tolerates poor soil and erratic watering while producing a nonstop supply of spectacular red, purple, yellow, orange, or white flowers. Plus many newer varieties also sport eye-popping double flowers all summer long. Coneflowers grow 18 to 36 inches tall and are also super attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds. Zones 3-8
Curb Appeal Asset: Coneflowers bloom in a candy box of colors.
Hardy HibiscusBig, bold blooms are the trademarks of both tropical hibiscus and hardy hibiscus. Sadly, tropical varieties don’t survive the winters outdoors in chilly climates, but hardy hibiscus are a reliable alternative that die back to the ground each fall and then grow fast when the weather heats up in the spring. They produce dinner-plate-sized blooms in red, white, pink, or bi-colors. Hardy hibiscus are large plants, often growing 6 feet tall and wide, making them an ideal plant for exposed locations where they can be admired from any direction. Plant them in groups along a lot line or fence or use them singly mixed with other perennials in the flower border. Zones 5-9.
Curb Appeal Asset: Hardy hibiscus blooms measure more than 6 inches across!
Ice PlantThey may be small in stature, but ice plants can add big impact to your landscape. These ground huggers grow only 6 inches tall, but when they burst into bloom, they create a traffic-stopping tapestry of color. Producing jewel-like flowers in a variety of colors, ice plant is also prized for its thick, blue-green foliage that keeps the color show going even when the plants are not flowering. Ice plant requires full sun and does best in quick-draining locations such as slopes, hillsides, and rock gardens. Zones 5-9
Curb Appeal Asset: The eye-popping flower colors will make drivers slow down.
HollyhockNo Victorian or cottage style home is complete without a generous helping of hollyhocks. Popular for decades, hollyhocks tower over other flowers, creating a 6-foot-tall wall of bloom that adds privacy and color to your landscape. Hollyhocks are not true perennials, but do self-seed so you’ll have new plants every year even if your original plants fade away. These sun-loving plants come in a variety of colors including red, pink, yellow, white, black, rose, and bi-color. In windy locations the plants may require staking to keep them from toppling. Zones 3-8
Curb Appeal Asset: Hollyhocks are one of the tallest perennials!
Black-eyed SusanSome perennials are better minglers than others. Take, black-eyed Susan, for example. This easy-care plant develops tons of cheerful yellow or orange daisy-like blooms throughout the summer. In the landscape, however, a single plant can look a bit lonely. But when you plant it in a big group black-eyed Susan comes alive, filling your landscape with a traffic-stopping layer of golden blooms. Black-eyed Susan is also heat and drought resistant, making it a top pick for exposed, street-side locations. The plants grow 18 to 30 inches tall and require a sunny spot in the landscape. Zones 3-9
Curb Appeal Asset: Plant in mass for a swath of golden blooms that stand up to heat and drought.
DaylilyWhen selecting perennials for a street-side border, look for plants that are as tenacious as they are colorful. Daylilies, for example, provide plenty of drive-by color, but they’re also tough enough to withstand salt from nearby roadways, heat, drought, pets, and even a little light foot traffic. Plus, daylilies offer a wide variety of colors and bloom types and flower from early spring to late summer. Just make sure to improve the ground before planting because as a general rule the closer you are to the street, the worse the soil will be. Spread fresh soil, compost, or rotted manure over the bed and till or spade it into the top several inches of soil. Zones 3-8
Curb Appeal Asset: Long blooming daylilies are in constant flower from spring through late summer.
Canna LilyGive your front yard a tropical facelift by adding cannas to your beds and borders. These gorgeous giants sport huge dark green, bronze, or striped leaves topped with spikes of showy red, yellow, pink or spotted flowers. Most varieties grow 5 to 6 feet tall so you can use them to create a living privacy screen. Dwarf forms, which grow 3 feet tall, work well in containers on your front deck or porch. Cannas are perennial in frost-free regions, but need to be dug and stored over the winter where temperatures dip below freezing. Cannas also attract colorful hummingbirds to your garden. Zones 9-11
Curb Appeal Asset: Flowers and foliage add tropical flair to front borders.
OleanderIn frost-free regions you can’t do much better than oleander when it comes to curb appeal. These graceful shrubby trees develop mass quantities of pink, red, white, or pale yellow flowers throughout the late spring and summer; there are also double-flowering varieties. Use oleander along a lot line or driveway or to camouflage an unsightly shed or garage. Oleander grows quickly and eventually reaches 15 to 25 feet in height, but it’s easily pruned to any size. Dwarf types grow 4 to 6 feet tall. Plant oleander in a sunny location with well-drained soil. In the North, use oleander in large tubs or pots by your front door. Oleander can be poisonous so keep it out of reach of children and pets. Zones 9-10
Curb Appeal Asset: Plant oleander in front of things you want to disguise, such as the side of a garage. From the street view, all they see is flowers!
HostaOne of the best ways to make sure your home looks inviting all season long is to plant perennials with colorful leaves. Hostas, for example, come in a wide variety of colors, shapes and patterns, and although they do flower, they are mostly prized for their never-ending display of bright foliage. They also look terrific planted en masse under trees, around shrubs, or in big drifts by themselves. Hostas prefer shade, but some varieties tolerate a surprising amount of sun. These rugged perennials can also take a lot of abuse, making them a great choice for street-side plantings. Zones 3-9
Curb Appeal Asset: Their variegated foliage is visible from across the street.