Tips for Identifying perennial flowers include inspecting them closely, determining the plant’s preferences, examining the plant to identify its growing pattern and learning about when to plant the flowers. Inspecting the flower for distinct shapes can often provide clues.
Trumpet vines produce long, trumpet-shaped blooms. Coral bells appear as tiny, colorful bells on long stalks. Salvia and catmint produce flowers that bloom on long spears. Honeysuckle vine produces a distinct fragrance.
If the plant is shade-loving, chances are it may not be a perennial, as shade-loving perennials are much less common than those that prefer sun. Some shade-loving perennials include foxglove, delphinium, hosta and columbine. Some perennials grow so large that they appear to be bushes. Sometimes perennials grow as low-lying ground cover plants such as vinca or wild ginger.
Determining when the plant flowers during the season can provide clues to its identity. Some perennials bloom all summer long, but common plants such as peonies, iris and veronica typically bloom for a shorter period during the spring.
In general, a perennial is a plant that lives for at least 3 years or longer. Annuals complete their life cycle in one year. Field guides that identify garden flowers are an excellent resource for learning about and helping to identify perennial flowering plants.