26 Annual and Perennial Plants & Flowers for Growing Zone 6

US Growing Zone 6 (ranging from Ohio through to Arizona and Washington State) lists average winter temperatures at -10°F to 0°F (-23.3°C to -17.8°C).

Many hardy annual and perennial plants can thrive within this zone with adequate care and protection.

The following annuals are ideal for adding summer intrigue to your garden before struggling with the arrival of frost while perennials can tolerate year-round conditions and may provide the texture or feature that becomes a mainstay of your outdoor landscape.

Best Perennial Plants for Growing in Zone 6

Monarda (Bee Balm)

Purple bee balm in full bloom.

Monarda, or bee balm, grows in compact clumps of globe-like blooms that attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds throughout spring and summer.

It performs best when protected from winter rain and features fragrant dark-green leaves that can be crushed for potpourri.

  • When To Plant: Spring
  • Size: Up to 1 foot (30 cm) tall with 8-10 inch (20-25 cm) spread
  • Flowering: Bright purple, red, pink or white blooms
  • Light Requirements: Full sun/partial shade

Shasta Daisy

Multiple shasta daisies in full bloom.

Easy to grow and most appealing when grown in small groups, shasta daisies grow in tall clumps and boast rich color throughout summer.

A vast selection of cultivars can suit their growth to all garden styles and sizes due to varying compactness and single/double blooms.

They are also drought tolerant and highly disease resistant.

  • When To Plant: Early spring/fall
  • Size: Up to 4 feet (120 cm) tall with 1-3 foot (30-90 cm) spread
  • Flowering: White/cream-yellow heads & yellow centers
  • Light Requirements: Full/partial sun

Heuchera (Coral Bells)

A variety of differently colored coral bells.

One of the more popular varieties, the ‘Bella Notte’ is a colorful statement plant delights with clusters of small bell-shaped rose-pink flowers with a dramatic backdrop of ruffled dark purpley-silver leaves high above evergreen foliage beneath.

It thrives best in perpetually moist soil and needs winter mulch to prevent frost heaving.

  • When To Plant: Late fall/early spring
  • Size: Up to 1 foot (30 cm) tall with 1-2 foot (30-60 cm) spread
  • Flowering: Light pink blooms
  • Light Requirements: Full/partial sun

Lavender

Lavender plant in full bloom.

This classic English lavender variety grows in long, elegant stems and can experience 2-3 flowering flushes throughout the season if blooms are trimmed back in spring.

Lavender is pretty resilient – tolerant of drought, deer, and rabbits – but requires excellent soil drainage and air circulation to thrive in warmer climates within Zone 6.

  • When To Plant: April/May
  • Size: Up to 3 feet (90 cm) tall with 4 foot (120 cm) spread
  • Flowering: Lilac blooms
  • Light Requirements: Full sun

Goat’s Beard

A goat's beard 'Chantilly Lace' in full bloom.

Also known as ‘Chantilly Lace’, this plant produces tightly packed feathery clumps of creamy white flowers that bloom throughout summer before giving way to its deep-green fern-like leaves beneath to maintain an attractive display throughout fall.

Goat’s beard performs best when grown in part shade in the southern part of Grow Zone 6

  • When To Plant: Spring/fall
  • Size: Up to 3 feet (90 cm) tall with 3-4 foot (90-120 cm) spread
  • Flowering: Tiny creamy flowers
  • Light Requirements: Thrives in full sun or partial shade

Purple Coneflower

Purple coneflowers blooming in profusion.

Popular for its colorful daisy-like appearance, nectar-rich purple coneflowers attract bees and hummingbirds to your patch, so long as overly rich soil is avoided to prevent leggy, unappealing stems.

As a self-seeding plant, be sure to cut back stems and spent blooms to prevent overcrowding.

  • When To Plant: Spring/early fall
  • Size: Up to 5 feet (150 cm) tall with 1-2 foot (30-60 cm) spread
  • Flowering: Pinkish-purple blooms with spiny brown centers
  • Light Requirements: Full/partial sun

Salvia 

Red salvia plants in full bloom.

Their compact, bushy growth and rich color make salvias ideal accent plants in small spaces and cottage-garden styles.

The Bumbleberry cultivar has contrasting dark wine-colored stems that produce deep-pink flower spikes in early summer.

These grow best in gravelly soil and when spent blooms are cut back after flowering.

  • When To Plant: Spring/fall
  • Size: Up to 1 foot (30 cm) tall with 1-2 foot (30-60 cm) spread
  • Flowering: Red, purple, white, blue, or pink flowers
  • Light Requirements: Full sun

Hellebore 

A Helleborus niger plant, or Christmas rose, in full bloom.

The wide selection of colorful cup-shaped blooms in the Helleborus plant genus can add year-round beauty to areas in need of brightening, such as under large shrubs and trees.

The multi-colored ‘Royal Heritage’ hybrid grows in sturdy stems above contrasting dark-green foliage and prefers sheltered areas to protect them from winter winds.

  • When To Plant: Fall/spring
  • Size: Up to 2 feet (60 cm) tall with 2-3 foot (60-90 cm) spread
  • Flowering: Purple, black, pale-green, white, yellow, pink, and red blooms
  • Light Requirements: Part/full shade

Blue Fescue Grass

Multiple blue fescue grasses sporting tall flowering plumes.

This ornamental grass variety looks stylish when mass planted in rock gardens and city areas due to its cool, crisp tufts of silvery blue needle-like foliage.

In summer, upright flower spikes grow, turning from blue to a tan wheat-like appearance, though shearing these spikes in late winter enhances its lifespan and appeal.

  • When To Plant: Spring/fall
  • Size: Up to 1 foot tall with 8 inch-1 foot spread (20-30 cm)
  • Flowering: Blue to tan flower spikes
  • Light Requirements: Full sun 

Hosta (Plantain Lily)

A green variegated hosta plant surrounded by leaf and pine needle mulch.

Hosta plants grow in a rounded mound shape of heart-shaped foliage with many varieties sporting attractive variegation of cream and light green leaf margins and a neatly serrated “pie-crust” edging.

These grow best in a rich soil medium and need protection against their regular pests: snails and slugs.

  • When To Plant: Early spring/early fall
  • Size: Up to 3 feet (90 cm) tall with 4 foot (120 cm) spread
  • Flowering: Small lavender blooms with exceptional care
  • Light Requirements: Partial sun/shade

Yarrow 

Pink and red yarrow blooms in garden.

Highly tolerant of heat, humidity, and dry soil, yarrows are beautiful, low-maintenance plants.

The ‘Inca Gold’ variety in particular boasts clusters of golden flowers that fade to bronze as fall approaches.

Avoid overly moist, rich soil to prevent leggy stems and cut back spent flowers to encourage re-blooming.

  • When To Plant: Spring/early summer
  • Size: Height and spread of 1-2 feet (30-60 cm)
  • Flowering: Delicate yellow, orange-gold, white, purple, or red  flowers
  • Light Requirements: Full sun

Daylily

A patch of yellow and orange daylilies with other flowers in background.

The daylily is often dubbed the “perfect perennial” due to its low care needs, resilience in most grow zones, and dazzling flowers.

The daylily is named so for its 24-hour cycle as each flower only lives for one day and is replaced by another flower stalk the next day.

Fertile loam soil is ideal and deep watering is encouraged for attractive, sturdy foliage.

  • When To Plant: Early fall/early spring
  • Size: 3 feet (90 cm) tall with 1-2 foot (30-60 cm) spread
  • Flowering: Profuse flowers in shades of yellow, orange, pink, red, and cream
  • Light Requirements: Full/partial sun

Yellow Foxglove

Yellow and purple foxglove blooming side by side.

Yellow foxgloves are considered one of the most well-performing varieties of foxglove and look especially appealing when planted in groups of three or more.

Their lightly colored tubular flowers bloom in clumps on leafy dark-green stems and attract hummingbirds in summer and birds in the fall.

  • When To Plant: Spring/fall
  • Size: Up to 3 feet (90 cm) tall with 2 foot (60 cm) spread
  • Flowering: Tubular creamy-yellow blooms
  • Light Requirements: Full/partial sun

Best Annual Plants for Growing in Zone 6 

Verbena (Rose Vervain)

Bright pink verbena rose vervain flower.

Stunning when planted en masse to let them sprawl, the rose vervain variety of verbena bursts into a show of pink and violet flat-topped flower clusters against dramatic dark-green foliage which can last all summer.

These are tolerant to dry soil and drought, but it’s essential they have winter mulch to prevent freezing.

  • When To Plant: May
  • Size: Height and spread of up to 2 feet (60 cm)
  • Flowering: Rose-pink to purple flowers
  • Light Requirements: Full/partial sun

Wild Geranium

A lovely purple wild geranium flower.

This sprawling, low-maintenance plant starts life as multi-branched foliage of green deeply lobed leaves before producing subtle pale pink or white blossoms from the spring-summer season which are replaced by long, narrow seeds as the foliage turns crimson in fall.

Geraniums thrive best in light, sandy soil for quick drainage.

  • When To Plant: Spring
  • Size: Height and spread of 1-2 feet (30-60 cm)
  • Flowering: Small white & pale-pink or purple blossoms
  • Light Requirements: Partial sun

Calendula (Pot Marigold)

Several orange calendula flowers.

Calendula plants produce cheery, daisy-like flowers in rich, warm colors that are perfect for mass planting or adding zest to herb and vegetable gardens in the summer.

These are incredibly cold tolerant and will bloom throughout the season until frost but will die in long periods of humidity.

  • When To Plant: Early spring
  • Size: Height and spread of up to 2 feet (60 cm)
  • Flowering: Varying shades of vibrant/subtle orange, yellow & cream blooms
  • Light Requirements: Full/partial sun

Cleome (Spider Plant)

Bright pink cleome flowers in full bloom.

This fast-growing plant has a delicate, graceful appearance due to its elongated stamens jutting out from snow-white or pink blooms that have a spider-like quality.

Their flowers last from summer to frost and look best when planted in clusters of six or more. Ensure all signs of frost have passed before growing from seed.

  • When To Plant: Mid-May
  • Size: Up to 4 feet (120 cm) tall with 1-2 foot (30-60 cm) spread
  • Flowering: Large white or pink blooms
  • Light Requirements: Full sun

China Aster

Several pink China aster flowers.

One of the most colorful and varied summer plants, China asters boast a bright rainbow of blooms that are in full swing from early summer into fall.

Their differing heights across the varieties suit them to many garden sizes.

Be sure to keep them spaced 12-18 inches apart for good air circulation to help them stay disease free.

  • When To Plant: Early spring
  • Size: 3 feet (90 cm) tall with 2 foot spread (60 cm)
  • Flowering: Yellow, pink, blue, purple, orange, red, and white blooms
  • Light Requirements: Full/partial sun

Morning Glory

Purple blooms of the morning glory plant.

The morning glory (genus Ipomoea)is a fast-growing climber of evergreen heart-shaped foliage accented by stunning violet-blue trumpet-shaped blooms that open each morning to reveal their beautifully contrasting white throats.

Cut back spent flowers to prevent weeds and encourage pretty growth across your trellis or garden fence.

  • When To Plant: Late spring
  • Size: Up to 10 feet (3 m) tall with 3-6 foot (90-180 cm) spread
  • Flowering: Purple, pink, or blue blooms
  • Light Requirements: Full sun

Torenia (Wishbone Flower)

A variety of differently colored torenias in full bloom.

This versatile, easy-to-grow plant blooms in pairs of trumpet-shaped flowers that fall away from each other creating a wishbone shape.

Torenias enjoy a lengthy blooming season in summer and are easily maintained by pinching young plants to encourage bushier growth in their attractive light-green oval foliage.

  • When To Plant: Spring
  • Size: Up to 1 foot (30 cm) tall with 9 inch (22 cm) spread
  • Flowering: White, purple-tipped blooms with yellow blotching
  • Light Requirements: Partial sun/shade

Common Sunflower

A common sunflower with many more visible in the background.

This especially tall variety of the iconic sunflower is ideal for growing in cottage gardens and other areas of limited space for that wow factor and will attract nature’s pollinators throughout the summer season.

Grow in humus-rich soil for great results, and plant in sheltered spots as even moderate winds may catch the heads.

  • When To Plant: Late spring
  • Size: Up to 10 feet (3 m) with 2-3 feet (60-90 cm) spread
  • Flowering: Orange-yellow petals with large dark-brown center
  • Light Requirements: Full sun

Zinnia (Benary’s Giant)

A large patch of orange zinnias in full bloom.

‘Benary’s Giant’ is a mildew-resistant variety of the zinnia plant, making it a robust and long-blooming annual from early summer through to frost.

This zinnia features tall, sturdy stems topped with a statement globular bloom of boldly colored petals that hold up well against disease when spaced 12 inches apart.

  • When To Plant: Late April/May
  • Size: Up to 4 feet (120 cm) tall with 3 foot (90 cm) spread
  • Flowering: Red, pink, yellow, white, orange, lime, or purple double flowers
  • Light Requirements: Full sun

False Saffron

Two orange false saffron flowers.

Safflower or false saffron produces erect thistle-like blooms in lively orange and yellow shades, contrasting nicely with its foliage of modified spiny, dark-green leaves.

Due to its deep main root (taproot), safflower has exceptional resistance to drought and heat and enjoys a lengthy growing season from spring to early fall.

  • When To Plant: May
  • Size: 3ft (90cm) tall with 2ft (60cm) spread
  • Flowering: Bright orange-yellow thistles
  • Light Requirements: Full sun

Nasturtium

Bright yellow and orange blooms of nasturtium plants.

Available in both climbing and bushier low-ground varieties, the versatile nasturtium plant offers a low-maintenance eye-catcher of small colorful flowers atop rounded parasol-shaped leaves with prominent white veination.

Note that overly rich, fertile soil mediums will produce more foliage than flowering.

  • When To Plant: March-May
  • Size: 10 feet (3 m) tall with 1-3 foot (30-90 cm) spread
  • Flowering: Orange, red, yellow, or creamy-white blooms
  • Light Requirements: Full sun

Moss Rose

Bright yellow and pink portulaca flowers.

The moss rose, or portulaca plant, is a gorgeous ornamental succulent of bright-green needle-like leaves and vivid summer-bright flowers of delicate crepe-paper-like petals.

The result is a stunning dense blanket to brighten any rock garden or border front. Well-draining soil will be essential in helping prevent crown rot and pest damage.

  • When To Plant: Late May
  • Size: Up to 6 inches (15  cm) tall with a 2 foot (60 cm) spread
  • Flowering: Violet, salmon, red, orange, yellow, and white blooms
  • Light Requirements: Full sun

Euphorbia (Snow on the Mountain)

Snow on the mountain plant - a type of euphorbia.

Grown more so for its show-stopping foliage than its tiny central flowers, the glorious Euphorbia marginata produces a double layer of light green leaves on a single stem, the upper leaves of which appear snow-tipped with thick white margins.

Wear protective gloves when pruning back stems as all plant parts contain a poisonous sap.

  • When To Plant: Spring
  • Size: Up to 3 feet (90 cm) tall with 1-2 foot (30-60 cm) spread
  • Flowering: Subtle white flower clusters
  • Light Requirements: Full sun

Conclusion 

To summarize, the above plants come in various sizes and styles to suit certain garden landscapes, i.e. climbers, low carpet-style beds, or tall statement features.

As humidity, heat, and wind strength can vary within subsets of Grow Zone 6, this list may also help inform you of the best annual or perennial plant for your location based on things like spacing for air circulation and available shade.

Sources:

https://garden.lovetoknow.com/wiki/Gardening_Zone_6

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/gardening-by-zone/zone-6/zone-6-flowers.htm

https://www.gardenia.net/plants/hardiness-zones/6

https://www.bhg.com/gardening/flowers/annuals/annual-plant-pairing-ideas/

http://www.thegardenhelper.com/annualplants.html

https://sowtrueseed.com/blogs/monthly-garden-schedule-by-zone/zone-6-monthly-garden-calendar-chores-and-planting-guide

https://www.gardenista.com/posts/10-things-nobody-tells-annuals-everything-you-need-know/

https://www.backyardgardener.com/garden-forum-education/hardiness-zones/plant-hardiness-zone-map/

https://www.gardenpondforum.com/threads/hearty-bog-plants-in-nw-ohio-zone-6.25793/

https://www.tipsbulletin.com/amazing-perennials-for-zone-6/