20 Of The BEST Perennials For Zone 4

From shade-tolerant perennials that brighten up those less sunny spots, to sun-loving perennials that soak up every ray with joy, this list of Zone 4 perennials is diverse. So, whether you’re just starting out or have been digging in the dirt for years, come join me in exploring this list of Zone 4 perennials.

As a home gardener, I’ve always had a soft spot for perennials. There’s something incredibly rewarding about watching these resilient beauties come back year after year. I had the pleasure of taking some classes on perennial borders and hardy perennials through the University of Saskatchewan and let me tell you, it was an absolute game-changer for my garden! I learned all about the variety of perennials that are tough enough to withstand cooler zones including my zone 3 garden and the chill of USDA Hardiness Zone 4. Let’s grow together!

10 Sun Loving Zone 4 Perennials


Also first on my list of Top 20 Zone 3 Perennials, alliums are one of my favorite flowers. They come in many colours, most commonly white and purple, and sizes ranging from the size of a grape to the size of a large melon (Globe Master variety). They make excellent cut flowers and grow best in well-drained soil. Alliums bloom from late spring to early summer and are most often planted as bulbs. Edible perennial chives are a versatile option that are both beautiful and zesty. Their vibrant purple flowers can be made into Chive Blossom Vinegar and the whole plant can be used as a fresh addition to any dish. Check out this smoked beet recipe, using them as salad toppers. Beautiful, edible, and perennial? Yes please! Alliums also make great companion plants, helping to deter pests like deer from snacking on your foliage.

Yarrow (Achillea)

There are many varieties of yarrow that can be grown in zone 4. Yarrow is a native species to the American Prairies and can tolerate temperatures down to -35°F (-37°C). Yarrow can be grown in any cut flower garden, wildflower garden, or other landscape, tolerating poor soil conditions and periods of drought. Some favorite varieties of Achillea include “Firefly Peach Sky,” “Paprika,” and “Colorado Mix.” In Northern Alberta, I am able to walk in the field beside my house and pick wild yarrow throughout the summer. Yarrow is often used medicinally. Read more about that here.

Verbascum Southern Charm (Verbascum thapsus)

This beautiful zone 4 perennial has floral spikes that come in coral, pink, and cream. This is a reliable perennial that blooms all summer with the help of regular dead heading. It attracts many pollinators and the long stems make for perfect cut flowers. As an added bonus, verbascum are deer resistant.


Sun-loving sedum comes in a variety of heights ranging from low ground cover (Creeping Sedum) to upright (Thunderhead). These perennials are hardy to zone four and come in a variety of colours. The flowers are small, star-shaped, and grown in dense clusters. Sedum can tolerate many conditions as long as it is grown in well-draining soil. It makes a great garden border or low level perennial, blooming from early summer to early fall.


Clematis grows well in USDA Hardiness Zones 4-9 and while this flowering vine can tolerate partial shade, it flowers best when it has 6+ hours of sunlight daily. The beautiful blooms are most often star-shaped and come in a variety of colours with the exception of the Clematis ‘Roguchi’ variety which produces bell shaped flowers. Clematis needs a structure to climb such as an arbor, trellis, or a sturdy companion plant. This trailing plant will reach its full blooming potential after 2-3 years, dying back in the fall and regrowing in the spring.

Virginia Creeper

Not to be forgotten in the world of vining perennials, Virginia Creeper thrives in USDA growing zone 4. The deep green plant produces small berries for birds to snack on in the summer months and gives an amazing show in late summer and early fall as the leaves turn from green to bright red-purple. Virginia creeper requires full sun to thrive and well moist, well draining soil.

Poppies (Papaver somniferum L.)

Most varieties of poppies are hardy to zone 4 climates, benefiting from the cold winter months for natural cold stratification. The papery blooms come in many shapes and sizes, most often growing from 12-18 inches tall, making them great show pieces for cut flower gardens. Most varieties of poppies need full sun to thrive. If you are looking for a shade tolerant variety, check out the section below for information about the Yellow Wood Poppy.

Bee Balm (Monarda)

Bee Balm, also known as Monarda, is a perennial plant that’s hardy in USDA Zone 4. It’s an old-fashioned favorite due to its striking, crown-shaped flowers and the fact that it’s deer resistant. Bee Balm can grow between 24 to 36 inches tall, and it usually bursts into bloom in midsummer. The flowers come in a variety of colors, from red to pink to purple, depending on the variety. This plant prefers full sun to light shade conditions.

Peonies (Paeonia lactiflora.)

Peonies are a classic perennial that have been gracing gardens for decades. Their long stems and colourful blooms make them a great choice for cut flowers or a showy center piece to any flower garden. Peonies thrive in full sun and well draining soil with moderate protection from the wind. Planting them close to a house or other structure may be a good idea (ensuring they still get 6+ hours of sun).

Roses (Genus Rosa L.)

There are many varieties of roses that thrive as perennials in zone 4. Check out Heirloom Roses for an expansive selection of zone 4 hardy roses including an array of colors ranging from white, to coral, to deep burgundy. Where I live, we are lucky enough to have the “Alberta Wild Rose” (Rosa acicularis) that grows freely, often like a weed! Roses are a great cut flower; they make a beautiful addition to homemade bouquets and give richness to any landscape.

10 Shade Tolerant Zone 4 Perennials

Astilbe (False Goats Beard)

Astilbe is a zone 3 perennial that grows clumps of bright plume-like flowers with fern-type foliage. They prefer shade and moist soil, making them the perfect low-lying perennial for around buildings and trees. Astilbe varieties come in a range of colors including purple, peach, pink, red, and white to name a few. Different varieties can range in heights from 1 to 4 feet.

Arctic Kiwi Vine (Actinidia Arguta)

Arctic Kiwi Vine is an excellent choice for Zone 4 gardens. Not only does it provide delicious fruit, but its vigorous growth and attractive foliage make it a great option for covering fences or walls. One of the most appealing features of the Arctic Kiwi Vine is its ability to produce small, grape-sized kiwis. These fruits are sweeter than the larger, more commonly known kiwi fruit (Actinidia deliciosa) and can be eaten whole without peeling. Plant your Arctic Kiwis in rich soil that is well draining for best results.

Bergenia (Bergenia crassifolia)

Bergenia, also known as Pig Squeak or Elephant’s Ears due to the unique texture of its leaves, is a hardy perennial that can thrive in USDA Hardiness Zone 4. Bergenias are particularly known for their broad, evergreen leaves that turn a beautiful reddish-purple color in the fall and winter. In early spring, they produce clusters of bell-shaped flowers on tall stalks. These flowers can be pink, white, or red, depending on the variety.

Bleeding Hearts (Dicentra)

Bleeding Hearts are a hardy, shade loving perennial that boast beautiful, hanging heart shaped flowers along tall stems. Dicentra are hardy down to zone 3. They are most often started as bare root perennials, propagated from cuttings, or transplanted from nursery pots. Bleeding hearts continue to come back year after year and I look forward to seeing the bright pink flowers every summer! They make awesome cut flowers. Bleeding hearts thrive in shade gardens with lush green ferns around them.

Coral Bells (Heuchera)

Coral Bells, also known by their scientific name Heuchera, are a popular choice for gardeners in USDA Zone 4 due to their cold hardiness and love of shade. These plants are native to North America and are particularly known for their attractive foliage, which comes in a wide range of colors from green and bronze to purple and even silver. In late spring or early summer, they send up slender stalks with tiny, bell-shaped flowers that can be white, pink, or red. These delicate blooms attract hummingbirds, making Coral Bells an excellent addition if you want to bring wildlife into your garden. Coral Bells thrive in shady rock gardens.

Ferns (Polypodiopsida)

Ferns are unique, low maintenance perennials that don’t produce flowers, but instead propagate via spores. They’re the masters of shadowy spots, flourishing in the most shaded corners of your garden! Unique, spiky fern leaves come several shades of green and add interest and texture to any area. Several fern varieties, such as Athyrium Godzilla Ferns, Ostrich Fern, and New York Fern, to name a few, thrive as perennials in Zone 4. An added bonus? The fern’s large leaves serve as fantastic greenery for cut flower arrangements.

Hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla)

Some varieties of hydrangea are able to survive zone 3 and 4 gardens. Panicle hydrangeas and Annabelle hydrangeas are among the hardiest hydrangeas you can find, making them ideal for colder climates. The Annabelle variety is particularly admired for its large, eye-catching white flowers that display a striking white hue against a backdrop of lush, dark green foliage. These blooms make their appearance from June to September, offering a whole season’s worth of beauty. Hydrangeas tolerate part shade– they’re best suited to locations with moderate morning sunlight and shade in the afternoon. To help your hydrangeas prepare for winter, surround the base of your plant with ample mulch and prune any dead stalks


Ligularia, often referred to as ‘The Rocket’, is a robust zone 4 hardy perennial plant that is well-known for its large, attractively lobed leaves and impressive clusters of golden flowers. The plant is particularly notable for its shade-loving nature, making it a good choice for those darker corners of your garden. Ligularia bloom in late summer and early fall making them a good option to keep your perennial garden full of blooms late into the growing season. Plant Ligularia in fertile, moist, well drained soil.

Lily Of The Valley (Convallaria majalis)

Lily Of The Valley plants are impressively resilient, capable of weathering brief growing seasons and enduring the chill of Hardiness Zones 2 and 3. They flourish best in areas with partial to full shade and display their delicate blooms during the spring and summer months. These blooms are petite, white, and shaped like little bells.

Yellow Wood Poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum)

This variety of poppy thrives in moist, fertile soil full of organic matter. These American native plants can be found in woodland areas with partial shade. Its blooms range from bright yellow flowers to bright orange flowers for the months of May and June and then sporadically throughout the summer. They grow from 12-18 inches and are self sowing.

Kate’s Conclusion

When planting perennials, it is important to consider a number of factors including height, colour, bloom time (early spring all the way until fall), sun and soil requirements, and plant hardiness zone. Soil characteristics should also be considered. This list of zone 4 perennials is just a taste of what can be grown in your zone 4 garden. It is also important to consider companion planting when planning out your garden, picking perennials that will deter pests and improve the health of nearby plants.
More Zone 4 Perennials To Consider

In addition to the expansive list above, a few more noteworthy zone 4 perennials include: Indian Steel Blue Prairie Grass and other ornamental grasses, Black-Eyed Susan, Blue False Indigo, Balloon Flower, Ornamental Lillies (super fragrant flowers), and Tulips.

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