Thriving Perennials for Edmonton and Surrounding Areas: A Guide for Zones 3 and 4

A Complete Guide In Demistifying Gardening Zones zone 3 perennials

Gardening in zones 3 and 4, particularly in Edmonton and its surrounding regions, can be a rewarding but challenging endeavour. With harsh winters and shorter growing seasons, it’s essential to choose plants that are hardy and resilient. Fortunately, there are many perennials that not only survive but thrive in these conditions, adding beauty and colour to your garden year after year. In this guide, we’ll explore some popular perennials for both sun and shade, and why they are beloved by gardeners in these regions.

Shade-Loving Perennials:


Bergenia, also known as “elephant’s ears,” is a tough and versatile perennial that thrives in shady conditions. Its large, glossy leaves provide year-round interest, turning beautiful shades of red and bronze in the fall. In addition to its ornamental value, Bergenia is also valued for its ability to tolerate a wide range of soil conditions, including heavy clay.


Astilbe is prized for its feathery plumes of flowers, which bloom in shades of pink, white, and red in the summer. It’s a low-maintenance plant that thrives in shady, moist areas, making it an excellent choice for woodland gardens or alongside ponds and streams. Astilbe also attracts pollinators like butterflies and bees, adding to its appeal.


Hostas are perhaps the quintessential shade-loving perennial, prized for their lush foliage and tolerance of low light conditions. Available in a wide range of sizes, colors, and leaf textures, there’s a hosta variety to suit every garden. Beyond their aesthetic appeal, hostas are also valued for their ability to suppress weeds and fill in shady areas where other plants struggle to grow.

Ray Flower (Ligularia)

Ray Flower, or Ligularia, is a striking perennial with bold, paddle-shaped leaves and tall spikes of yellow, daisy-like flowers. It prefers moist, shaded conditions and is well-suited to borders, woodland gardens, or alongside water features. Ray Flower adds drama and contrast to the shade garden, and its flowers are attractive to pollinators like bees and butterflies.


Ferns are classic shade garden plants valued for their graceful fronds and lush greenery. They thrive in moist, shaded conditions and are perfect for filling in gaps between other plants or adding texture to shady borders. Ferns are also relatively low-maintenance, requiring little more than regular watering and occasional fertilizing.

Sun-Loving Perennials:​

Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)

Russian Sage is a hardy perennial with silvery foliage and spikes of lavender-blue flowers that bloom from midsummer to fall. It thrives in full sun and well-drained soil, making it an excellent choice for hot, dry areas. Russian Sage is drought-tolerant once established and attracts pollinators like bees and butterflies.


Sedums, also known as stonecrops, are succulent perennials prized for their drought tolerance and low-maintenance nature. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from low-growing groundcovers to tall, upright varieties. Sedums thrive in full sun and well-drained soil, making them ideal for rock gardens, borders, or containers.


Peonies are beloved for their large, fragrant blooms and lush, bushy foliage. They come in a variety of colors, including white, pink, and red, and bloom in late spring to early summer. Peonies thrive in full sun and well-drained soil, making them a stunning focal point in sunny borders or perennial beds. Beyond their ornamental value, peonies are also long-lived and low-maintenance, making them a favourite among gardeners.

Salisbury Greenhouse-Alberta-Late Summer Peony Care-pink peonies in the garden

Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)

Black-eyed Susan is a cheerful and easy-to-grow perennial with bright yellow, daisy-like flowers and dark centers. It blooms from midsummer to fall and thrives in full sun and well-drained soil. Black-eyed Susan is drought-tolerant once established and attracts pollinators like bees and butterflies, making it a must-have for sunny borders and wildflower meadows.

Daylilies (Hemerocallis)

Daylilies are beloved for their vibrant flowers, which come in a wide range of colors and bloom from early to late summer. They are extremely hardy and adaptable, thriving in full sun to part shade and a variety of soil conditions. Daylilies are low-maintenance and drought-tolerant once established, making them perfect for busy gardeners.

Daylilies in garden | Salisbury Greenhouse - Sherwood Park, St. Albert
Whether you’re gardening in sun or shade, there are plenty of beautiful and resilient perennials to choose from for zones 3 and 4. By selecting plants that are well-suited to your local climate and growing conditions, you can create a thriving and vibrant garden that will bring joy for years to come.


Read through our Growing Guides for tips to enrich your garden! 

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