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8 Easy to Grow Flowering Perennials for Zone 3a (Edmonton, AB)

annabelle hydrangeas perennial

These are some of my favourite, easy to grow perennials flowers for zone 3a (Edmonton, Alberta).

Judith is an eco-mom in Edmonton who is passionate about green, toxin-free, healthy living. She shares her journey and experiences on Juicy Green Mom. You can follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

I’ve lived in Edmonton my whole life and grew up with summer memories of sitting in a cherry tree and picking raspberries in my backyard. As an adult, I’ve begun to appreciate the joys of a beautiful garden. Because I’m also a bit of a lazy gardener, I love planting perennials that will come back year after year.

Annabelle Hydrangeas (feature photo)

Hydrangeas are my absolute favourite flowers, I even had them in my wedding bouquets. When I got the opportunity to landscape my backyard from scratch, I knew I wanted some kind of hydrangeas. I had Annabelle hydrangeas put into a raised bed and they have been producing beautiful round white bouquets of blooms for me for 10 years. They do well in sun to part shade with plenty of water. Be careful selecting hydrangeas as some box stores carry varieties that don’t tolerate our cold winters.

Bleeding Heart

I thought bleeding hearts would be really hard to grow because they look so delicate – but I finally took the plunge and got a few plants to try. I’ve had them for 2 years now and they grow larger and more beautiful every year. They do well in the part shade mulched area I put them in.

Bleeding Heart zone 3a



When I saw my first columbine, I fell in love with the blossoms. They are so strikingly beautiful! I’ve had my shrub for 2 years and it started out as a tiny thing. It grew very quickly and is now self-seeding around the mulched area I have it in, which I am perfectly happy with! It is super healthy in the shady spot it’s in, and supposedly the shrub will continue to grow and spread, which means it will offer great coverage.

Columbine zone 3a



Alliums are bulbs in the onion family, best planted in the fall before frost. Ornamental alliums produce gorgeous globe blooms. This is the second year I’ve had them, and they are just amazing! I have them in a part shade area and they don’t require much water.


Milkweed is essential for monarch butterflies to survive, and the David Suzuki Foundation has been campaigning to promote more milkweed planting to support the butterfly population. I have 2 plants growing in full sun that I have now harvested seeds from to keep propagating more. It grows quickly and produces unique big blooms. It seems to tolerate little water and lots of sun.

Milkweed zone 3a


When deciding on perennials, don’t just think about the summer. Pretty in all seasons with it’s red bark, Dogwoods are a medium-large sized bush and come in so many varieties! I love the vibrancy it adds to my yard in the winter, poking up through the snow. They aren’t much for showing flowers, so look for interesting leaves to add season-round depth to your garden.

Pictured here is the Ivory Halo, available at most box stores.

Angel halo dogwood

Abbotswood Potentilla

Some folks love them, some hate them – potentilla are a staple in garden stores and Zone 2-5 gardens. I like to use the small flowers and even smaller leaves of this compact, incredibly hardy sun loving plant to add texture to my garden. Once established this plant is pretty drought tolerant, so it’s perfect for that corner you keep forgetting to water.

Abbotswood potentilla

Mini Gallery Pink Lupine

These full to part-sun flowers are able to tolerate all but the absolute worst of Alberta winters (good to -40!). Their beautiful cone shapes always make me smile. You may have heard about lupines being super toxic. This is very true for the wild plant! Domestic cultivars like this one are less so, but never eat the seeds.

Can we just take a moment to admire the pretty flowers?

Mini Gallery Pink Lupine

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