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20 Best Zone 4 Perennials That You Need To Grow

Annuals bloom for a season and die in winter, but perennials come back to fight the winter repeatedly, even in cold Zone 4.

Generally, zone 4 perennials are synonymously cold-tolerant because of their distribution in the coldest northernmost regions of the United States. These perennials comprise herbs or shrubs such as Alliums, Asters, Yarrow, Stonecrops, Coneflowers, Hydrangea, etc.

Thanks to their internal freezing resistance, perennials adapt to cold and endure harsh regions like zone 4.

If you want to know more about these hardy zone 4 perennials, grab your sweaters, and let’s plunge into the cool life of these plants.

What is Zone 4?

Zone 4 falls in the colder uppermost regions of the United States, covering 22 states.

These cold regions occupy the northernmost parts, from northern Idaho to northern New York and New England.

It also covers some southern parts of the Canadian border and the Colorado Rockies.

Zone 4 is among the coldest regions in the northern hemisphere but is 10 degrees warmer than zone 3, 2, and 1.

Although life here is full of hardships, the region teams with cold-tolerant plant life.

So, any plants that survive winter temperatures of -30°F to -20°F can be called zone 4 perennials.

20 Best Zone 4 Perennials

Did you know Astilbe is the longest-flowering perennial present in zone 4?

Zone 4 perennials survive and offer lengthy blooming seasons even in low temperatures.

Here I have curated a list of the 20 best perennials suitable for planting within zone 4 regions.

1. Aster

Native to the Eastern U.S., Aster is a hardy flowering perennial with a whopping 508 species.

They are the ideal choice to plant to invite beneficial pollinators to your garden.

Asters can grow from zones three to eight and thrive efficiently if you give them moist soil.

Image represents honeybee sitting on an Aster flower, a zone 4 perennial
Planting Aster flowers in the garden attract pollinators.

With the proper care, Asters grow up to eight feet in height and bless you with flowers having light-purplish to pink-rayed petals.

The ovate and green leaves compensate brilliantly with the flower color. So, most Asters are chosen to prepare cut flowers.

2. Astilbe

Shade-loving Astilbe is the longest-blooming perennial found in zone 4.

A total of 36 Astilbe species are native to the mountains of China and Japan.

Due to their lengthy blooming period, the plant lives long enough to attain a height of two to three feet.

For ideal growth, use moist or wet soil as Astilbe is intolerable to dryness and high heat.

They grow in masses from late spring to mid-summer and retain dark-green leaves.

Astilbe produces clusters of feathery pink, white, or cream-colored flowers at the top.

3. Yarrow

Most growers prefer Yarrow among winter perennials because of their non-finicky soil requirements.

They are well-suited for poor soils as long as you provide ample drainage.

Besides, the plant tolerates full sun to partial shade and grows two to four feet tall.

Yarrow comprises 368 species, with origins tracing from coastal to Alpine zones of North America, Europe, and Asia.

Moreover, white flowers and fern-like foliage make them excellent plants for hanging baskets, walkways, and patios.

4. Peonies

Native to Asia, Europe, and Western North America, Peonies are one of the fastest-growing zone 4 perennials.

With 75 species under their account, Peonies are native to Asia, Europe, and Western North America.

These bushy plants produce lush cabbage-like fragrant white to pink flowers.

blooms of Peony, a zone 4 perennial plant
White-pink flowers of Peony are beneficial that can treat insomnia.

Although most of the zone 4 perennials are herbs, Peonies form shrubby growths that can quickly grow up to five feet in stature.

Peonies are easy to care for and require full sun with compost soil to thrive. They also leverage compound, tripinnate, biternate, and glossy green leaves.

5. Hostas

Hostas may be among the confusing zone 4 perennials for any grower because of the varieties.

These plants are kept for their variegated foliage rather than flowers.

However, Hostas produce white to purple lily-like fragrant flowers from their 1.5 to 2.5 feet tall stem in spring.

This zone 4 fragrant perennials comprise 43 species from China, Japan, and Korea.

Besides, Hostas prefer partial to fully-shade conditions and soil high in organic matter with good drainage.

6. Bee Balm

Mainly kept by gardeners in winter to attract pollinators, Bee Balm has vibrant pink to red flowers.

They bloom under the full sun of mid-summer and can grow up to 2-4 feet tall, depending upon the sunlight.

Native to the Eastern United States and Southeastern Canada, 33 species of Bee Balms require well-draining, moist soil.

With that said, the plant’s aromatic leaves are repellants for herbivores like rabbits.

Leaves of Bee Balms release a chemical when sunlight falls on them. So, circularly plant Bee Balms around the vegetables to repel the rabbits.

7. Daylily

Another zone 4 perennial that blooms all summer is Daylily hailing from Asia with 41 species.

The Daylily displays yellow, white, orange, or golden-colored blooms under full sun to partial shade.

Image represents the flowers and rosette leaves of Daylilies
Daylilies are known for their various bloom colors and rosette habit of leaves.

However, plant it in rich, organic, and well-draining soil for maximum growth.

Daylilies grow to a height of one to three feet, supported by grass-like rosette leaves at the base of the flowering stem.

8. Iris

Originally from Central Asia and the Mediterranean, Iris is another zone 4 perennial comprising 533 species.

In addition to vibrant flowers, Iris plants also bestow healthy green leaves.

They can grow anywhere between 0.5 to 3 feet tall with spiky, green, linear, and variegated foliage with ideal care.

Meanwhile, Iris produces aesthetic flowers with variable colors of blue, purple, and lavender in spring and summer.

Remember, Iris needs full-sun and marshy or standing water conditions in the soil most of the time.

9. Lavender

Lavenders are the sweetest-smelling winter perennials that you can have in your Zone 4 garden.

With a total of 65 species, Lavenders originate from the Mediterranean, Middle East, and Asia.

Under full sun to partial shade compensated by loamy-sandy alkaline to neutral soil, Lavenders can attain a height of one to three feet.

They produce blue or purplish aromatic summer flowers that are bee magnets.

The flowers and the grayish-silver green-colored leaves are also equally fragrant, another reason to please your nose.

10. Mallows

Fast-growing and self-caring, Mallows comprise 134 species hailing from Southern European Asia.

Mallows are prolific bloomers that produce pink, white, or blue colored flowers from early summer to fall.

Image represents the flowers and leaves of Mallow
Unique leaves and purplish-colored flowers of Mallow suit perfectly for the garden.

With optimal growth conditions, the Mallows can grow up to 0.5 to 2 feet tall and develop attractive circular to kidney-shaped leaves with long petioles.

To make a Mallow bloom, plant them in a warm spot with sandy and dry soil.

11. Coneflowers

Coneflowers, native to North America with 17 species, are a perfect choice if you are fond of tall-garden plants.

These hardy plants are found between zones three to nine; hence they can survive in various climates.

Under ideal care, Coneflowers can grow up to a height of five feet, showcasing beautiful heart-shaped leaves.

Nevertheless, they require full sunlight to grow in well-draining soil.

At maturity, the plant produces arching pink-rayed flowers with copper-orange central cones.

12. Stonecrops

As the name suggests, Stonecrops love growing around rocks and are perfect for rock gardens.

Stonecrop flowers come in various colors, from pink and purple to lavender, are showy, and attract pollinators such as butterflies.

The plant is native to Europe, Asia, North Africa, Mexico, and North America, spreading in 219 species.

Stonecrops can grow over a height between 1.3 to 1.5 feet when provided with ideal care.

Although Stonecrops are zone 4 perennials, they are known for heat and drought tolerance, largely due to fleshy and waxy leaves.

You can plant Stonecrops under full sun with dry clay soil and incorporate drainage properties.

13. Speedwells

Whether it is Blue Woolly or Royal Candles, both types of Speedwells well-suit themselves for the cold environment of zone 4.

Speedwells are spring and summer bloomers displaying variable flower colors ranging from lavender to purple.

Native to Asia, their spiked flowers and lanceolate, serrated leaves are the main attractive features.

Image represents the spiked flowers of Speedwell
Speedwells are less demanding for soil requirements, making them best for planting in poor soil.

These plants require full to partial sun and quickly grow anywhere between 0.5 to 1.5 feet high.

A good thing about Speedwells is that they are less demanding about the soil.

But remember to use regular watering and rocky soil to establish them, but you can mix draining components occasionally.

14. Rock Cress

Rock Cress is attractive rock-loving zone 4 perennial that prefers alkaline, well-drained soil and open meadows receiving full sunlight.

While their flowers are white and carry a sweet scent, rose to pink-colored flowers are also present in some varieties.

Rock Cress grows only a foot tall, making them suitable as charming garden border plants.

They produce flowers during spring and summer that spread over the rocks, so they are well-suited for planting in rock gardens.

Leaves bear the characteristic of being hairy with dentate margins that look attractive and are also edible.

15. Bleeding Heart

Prized for heart-shaped pink or rose-colored blooms, Bleeding Heart is native to Northern China and Japan.

With 19 accepted species, they are summer bloomers but full to partial shade, growing to a foot tall at maturity.

The flowers with compound and lobed leaves make Bleeding Heart perfect for placing on walkways.

For prominent blooms, aim to provide the plant with moist acidic soil rich in organic matter.

Remember, Bleeding Heart can be mildly poisonous to humans and pets.

16. Balloon Flowers

Native to Eastern Asia, Ballon flowers are winter hardy species prized for their puffy appearing buds before opening.

However, this perennial slowly breaks the dormancy and will only pop open its buds in late spring.

Image represents balloon flowers with balloon-like buds
Balloon flowers produce balloon-like puffy buds before opening.

But, once the flowers open, the plants showcase beautiful blue to purple colored petals that are bell-shaped.

Moreover, the leaves have doubly serrated margins that compensate for the plant’s clumping growth habit.

Aim to give Ballon flower plants well-draining, loamy soil so they can grow a maximum height of 1.5 to 2 feet.

17. Creeping Phlox

Creeping Phlox is the one you need that can act as ground cover for winter.

These zone 4 perennials are native to Eastern North America, comprising 110 species.

Although their growth habit is a creeper, Creeping Phlox can easily grow to a height of six inches if you place them on sunny sites.

The plants bloom with burgundy to purplish-colored flowers during spring and summer.

However, the creeping habit and gray-silver-green leaves make the plant a better choice as a ground cushion cover during winter.

The plant prefers slightly alkaline to neutral sandy soil with high organic matter.

18. Grannybells or Ladybells

You can categorize Ladybells as zone 4 perennial shade-loving species.

These winter hardy perennials originally belonged to Europe and North America, with around 62 species.

The plants grow to a mature height of 45 to 60 cm and bear blue to purple-colored campanulate (bell-shaped) flowers with light-green leaves.

Although winter tolerating, Grannybells are also present to bloom under the full sun from late summer to autumn and prefer moist well-draining soil.

19. Hummingbird Mint

As the name suggests, Hummingbird Mint can attract hummingbirds if you place them in your garden.

There are 28 species of Hummingbird Mint worldwide, and almost all of them originate from North America and Eastern Asia.

The plant bears tall spiked inflorescence harboring creamy, pale orange, bright blue, or light rose-pink flowers during early summers.

Image represents flowers of Hummingbird Mint
In addition to birds, Hummingbird Mint also attracts other pollinators like bees and butterflies.

The Hummingbird Mint can grow up to 4 feet tall when given well-draining silty soil with less organic matter.

One of the notable highlights of this plant is its fragrant, green, and marginally serrated leaves.

Thanks to their fragrant leaves, you can classify Hummingbird Minr as a deer-resistant zone 4 perennial.

20. Black-Eyed Susan

Black-Eyed Susan is native to the Central USA, with 74 species under its name.

Yellow-colored petals of the plant surround a black cone in the middle, well-suited for use in cut flowers.

Under the full sun, Black-Eyed Susan grows rapidly to a height of three feet.

The green leaves also form a rosette below the stem that complements winter ground cover if you grow them in groups.

From Editorial Team

This list is just scratching the surface of what you can decide to plant, and there are many zone 4 perennial combinations to choose from.

However, you should carefully consider lighting and soil requirements, as these conditions can make a difference for these hardy plants.

If everything is right, you can create a luxuriant zone 4 perennial garden in no time.

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