The Best Perennials for the Lower Mainland & the Fraser Valley Skip to main content
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The Best Perennials for the Lower Mainland & the Fraser Valley

How to choose the right perennials for your garden and some of our favourite choices!

Perennial plants… the options are nearly endless!

Here in the Fraser Valley and moving towards Vancouver, we’re spoiled when it comes to plant choices. Since we have a more temperate climate than the majority of Canada — we generally stay above 0°C for most of the year — many plants can thrive in our region. This is both a blessing and a curse!

When you get to the garden centre, you might be overwhelmed with all of the choices before you. Below is a guide on what perennials are, how to choose them, and some of my personal favourites as well as some of the best choices for the region.


garden with stone wall

What are perennials?

Perennials are exactly what they sound like — plants that keep blooming year after year, which makes them “foundation plants” for every garden.

 When chosen correctly, perennials will continue to add beauty to your garden for decades, requiring little more than routine feeding and watering in the summer and mulching for winter protection.

 Planting your garden with perennials instead of annuals saves you time and money since you only have to plant them once and they’ll reward you with blooms year after year.

 Perennials multiply, so in a few years, they’ll provide a spectacular display while crowding out any weeds. They come in a variety of colours, shapes, sizes and bloom times, so plan carefully and you’ll never have a “dead” section in your garden.

 In contrast, annuals are flowers or plants that complete their entire life cycle within a single season. Whether planted in the late spring, summer or fall, annuals are usually exhausted and die off once the frost hits. Then they get replaced the next year!

garden with flowers and tree

How should I choose perennials?

There are four factors we look at when determining which perennials to plant on your property.

  • The existing structure of your garden beds, including what perennials you have and when they’ll be blooming. You should also consider which annuals you plan to plant… 
  • Sun and shade exposure in each of your gardens. Some flowers thrive in the sun, while others need some shade to reach their potential.
  • The hardiness zone your property is located in. Hardiness zones are geographic areas, divided by climate, that help determine which plants grow best in any given location. These zones determine if a plant can survive the winter in your location. (The Government of Canada has an awesome interactive map of hardiness zones here.)
  • The availability of flowers from your local nursery or garden centre, of course! In case you didn’t know, (By the way, we’ve opened a nursery and garden centre in Chilliwack at 6130 Chadsey Road where you can pick up annuals, perennials and more!)


What are the best perennials for the Lower Mainland & Fraser Valley?

These are my personal favourite perennials and ones I find myself returning to year after year due to colour, fragrance or just general shape.

  • Columbine — My favourite variety of these hummingbird-loved flowers are the Origami Mix, which come in a huge range of unique and colourful flowers. Usually these are bicolored in shades of blue, white, pink, red, rose or yellow.
  • Delphinium — These stately, tall flowers are just gorgeous. My favourite variety is Magic Fountains Dark Blue — beautiful, tall, purple flowers.
  • Aster — Noticing a theme? Another gorgeous purple flower, the Purple Dome aster will bloom in abundance for years.
  • Phlox (Violet Pinwheels) —Phlox is a nice, fragrant groundcover with soft purple flowers. Groundcover is what it sounds like — low-growing plants that cover the ground, reducing erosion and preventing weed growth.
  • Ajuga — This shade-tolerant groundcover stays attractive nearly all year. Particularly the fun-named “Chocolate Chip” which comes in dark, almost chocolatey-looking foliage and purple flowers. Yum!

Here are some other excellent choices for any garden in our region and what I frequently recommend to customers and clients:

  • Heuchera — Commonly known as “Coral Bells,” these shade-loving perennials are bestsellers for a reason — they fit in just about anywhere and tolerate many different sun, shade and soil conditions. Plus, the wide range of exciting leaf colours adds a bit of drama and interest to all gardens!
  • Hosta — Also called Plantain Lilies, these are some of the most well-known perennial plants in Canada. Their easygoing, low-maintenance yet resilient nature makes them ideal for nearly all conditions, and they come in loads of exciting colours and textures. There are over 3,000 known varieties of hosta out there and once they’re established, you can share them with friends by dividing them!
  • Astilbe — Light and graceful, these shade-loving plants come in many delicate hues. They look almost like ferns with their fine leaves — and their bright flowers mean they’re easy to love, year after year.

Where can I get these perennials?

Visit your local nursery and garden centre! Be sure to talk to the staff there about what you’re looking for, they’re often very willing to help and are passionate about plants!

Vandenberg just opened a retail garden centre in Chilliwack at 6130 Chadsey Road. Find out more and check our Instagram account for updates!