41 Perennial Vegetables to Grow by Hardiness Zone

Are you going to add some perennial vegetables to your garden this growing season? Most perennials can be grown relatively easily, and can be a great project for gardeners both novice and advanced. In this article, we look at 41 of our favorite perennial vegetables, and organize them by the hardiness zone that they will grow the quickest in.

Sustainability has become a focus for many people in the past few years. One of the best ways to create a sustainable household is by growing and producing your own food. Perrenial vegetables are popular from a sustainability, depending on where you live.

Not all vegetables are created equally for each climate, though. What grows easily in one hardiness zone may not even sprout in another. Knowing which vegetables are likely to succeed in your zone is essential to sustainability. 

In this article, we dive in and take a look at a number of different perrenial vegetables that you can grow in your garden. You’ll learn about each one of them, and each hardiness zone in which they will perform best. Let’s jump in!

What are Hardiness Zones? 

Vegetable Garden
The different climate regions in the US are called hardiness zones to gardeners.

Hardiness zones are different climate areas across the continent. These are determined by temperature, humidity, elevation, and seasons. The USDA offers a tool for finding your hardiness zone by zip code and highly recommends using it to determine your gardening plans. 

There are 13 different zones within the United States. To some degree, these follow a north-to-south logic, but a few areas don’t fit into the longitudinal norms. Your local nursery or greenhouse should stock only plants that thrive in your zone, but it is best to double-check. 

The hardiness zones are for planting perennials, not annuals, because perennials return year after year. Most annuals can be cultivated in any zone with proper care, though they must be reseeded and planted new every year. 

How Strictly do I Have to Follow Hardiness Zones? 

Woman Planting Vegetable in a Garden
Planting vegetables according to hardiness zone is highly suggested for the best crops.

While you can plant outside the suggested hardiness zone, the outcome won’t be typical for that plant. If the hardiness zone is only slightly different, you may see smaller plants or a later bloom. 

However, if there is a significant difference between zones, you might see no growth at all, or the plant won’t bloom until the very end of the growing season, leaving too little time for the vegetable to mature. Thus, planting your vegetables by hardiness zone is highly recommended for a sustainable garden. 

There is some wiggle room for variation. If you’re uncertain, check with your local experts. They’ll have the experience with many variations and can help you decide how much you want to try outside the recommended zoning. 

Why Choose Perennials? 

Perennial Vegetable Garden
Once a perennial is planted, it only requires care throughout the year without having to reseed.

Perennials are an excellent choice for sustainable gardening because they only need to be planted once and then cared for each season. The actual farming of these plants is much simpler and doesn’t require heavy equipment, making them perfect for home gardens. 

When planted in the correct zone, perennial vegetables return yearly and produce vegetables to eat throughout most of the season. Each year the plant is established, it provides food more reliably and with larger produce. 

Perennials are hardier plants than annuals, making it easier for them to survive unexpected temperature extremes, droughts, animals, and insects. They also save time each year by not needing to be grown from seeds. 

Perennials help the soil grow stronger by encouraging organic growth and ecosystems of insects and plant matter and maintaining the porosity of the ground. Perennial vegetables often have beautiful flowers as well, making them an attractive feature in your garden. 

Where Are the Zones? 

Person Planting a Vegetable Based off Hardiness Zone
There are 13 hardiness zones across the United States, with sub-zones in each. 

Zones 1 and 2 

Zone 1 is the northernmost area of the United States, mainly in Alaska. It is one of the harshest areas to grow perennials because of the frigid temperatures and drought risk. Because of the short growing season, it is best to start your vegetable seeds indoors and transfer them to the ground once they’ve established roots. 

Zone 1 is like a barren wasteland when it comes to perennial crops. If you want to grow vegetables in these areas, it is best to grow in pots indoors. You can control the climate more efficiently by turning any room of your house into a greenhouse. 

Zone 2 is only moderately less harsh, and as a result, there are no recommended perennial vegetables for this zone either. Again, planting indoors is the best option for gardening in zone 2. 

Perennial Vegetables for Zones 1 and 2 

Unfortunately, these zones are not conducive to perennial vegetable growth. None are recommended here. 

Zone 3 

Zone 3 is the first zone within the continental United States. This area is found in the Northeastern U.S. and the upper midwest. Zone 3 doesn’t have many plants that can grow here, but it is not barren like zones 1 and 2. 

States which have zone 3 growing areas include:  

  • Alaska 
  • Colorado 
  • Idaho 
  • Maine 
  • Minnesota 
  • Montana 
  • New Hampshire 
  • New York 
  • North Dakota 
  • South Dakota 
  • Vermont 
  • Wisconsin 
  • Wyoming 

Plants grown in zone 3 require more care to begin and have the shortest growing season of all the zones in the continental U.S. The late frost date is May 15, and the early frost is September 15, so that doesn’t leave a lot of time for plants to grow. 

Perennial Vegetables for Zone 3 

  • Rhubarb 
  • Sorrel 
  • Asparagus 
  • Chives 
  • Jerusalem artichoke/Sunchoke 
  • Horseradish 
  • Walking Onion 
  • Lovage 

Zone 4 

Zone 4 is still quite cold and covers areas just south of zone 3. Typically found in the mid-to-upper midwest and across to Montana and Wyoming in the west, zone 4 can be harsh and unforgiving for growth. 

States which have zone 4 growing areas include:  

  • Alaska 
  • Arizona 
  • Colorado 
  • Montana 
  • Nebraska 
  • Nevada 
  • New Mexico 
  • New York 
  • North Dakota 
  • South Dakota 
  • Utah 
  • Vermont 
  • Wisconsin 
  • Wyoming 

The frost dates are between May 15 – June 1 and September 15 – October 1, and the climate is approximately 10 degrees warmer than zone 3. There isn’t much of a growth window in zone 4 compared to zone 3, but it typically has a better crop overall. 

Plants designated as “hardy” should be appropriate for growth in zone 4. 

Perennial Vegetables for Zone 4 

  • Angelica 
  • Horseradish 
  • Dandelion 
  • Black Salsify 
  • English Sorrel 
  • Turkish Rocket 
  • Lovage 
  • Wild leeks 
  • Arrowhead 
  • Common Camas 
  • Sunchoke 
  • Walking Onion 

Zone 5 

Zone 5 is 10 degrees warmer than zone 4, giving it a longer growing season, and it is in the mid-range of the U.S. zones by longitude. 

States with zone 5 growing areas include: 

  • Alaska 
  • California 
  • Colorado 
  • Connecticut 
  • Idaho 
  • Illinois 
  • Indiana 
  • Iowa 
  • Kansas 
  • Maine 
  • Maryland 
  • Massachusetts 
  • Michigan 
  • Minnesota 
  • Missouri 
  • Montana 
  • Nebraska 
  • Nevada 
  • New Hampshire 
  • New Mexico 
  • New York 
  • Ohio 
  • Oregon 
  • Pennsylvania 
  • South Dakota 
  • Utah 
  • Vermont 
  • Virginia 
  • Washington 
  • West Virginia 
  • Wisconsin 
  • Wyoming 

With the last frost date of May 15 and a first frost date of October 15, the growing season is longer than zone 3 by an entire month. 

Perennial Vegetables for Zone 5 

  • Asparagus 
  • Rhubarb 
  • Ramps (onion, leek, garlic) 
  • Sorrel 
  • Chives 
  • Thyme 
  • Parsley 
  • Mint 
  • Sage 

Zone 6 

Zone 6 is 10 degrees warmer than zone 5 and has frost dates between April 1 – April 21 and October 15 – October 31. However, the growing season here is unpredictable as there are significant differences between the regions within zone 6. 

States that have zone 6 growing areas include:  

  • Alaska 
  • Arizona 
  • Arkansas 
  • California 
  • Colorado 
  • Connecticut 
  • District of Columbia 
  • Georgia 
  • Idaho 
  • Illinois 
  • Indiana 
  • Iowa 
  • Kansas 
  • Kentucky 
  • Maine 
  • Maryland  
  • Massachusetts 
  • Michigan 
  • Missouri 
  • Montana 
  • Nevada 
  • New Hampshire  
  • New Jersey 
  • New Mexico 
  • New York 
  • North Carolina 
  • Ohio 
  • Oklahoma 
  • Oregon 
  • Pennsylvania 
  • Rhode Island 
  • Tennessee 
  • Texas 
  • Utah 
  • Virginia 
  • Washington 
  • West Virginia 
  • Wyoming 

With a medium-long growing season, zone 6 has some incredible vegetable options. 

Perennial Vegetables for Zone 6 

  • Chicory 
  • Chinese yam 
  • French sorrel 
  • Garlic chives 
  • Giant Solomon’s seal 
  • Ramps 
  • Rhubarb 
  • Sunchoke 
  • Turkish rocket 
  • Watercress 
  • Broccoli 
  • Kale 
  • Leek 
  • Shallot 
  • Walking onion 

Zone 7 

Zone 7 is found across the belt of the continental United States. With average temperatures 10 degrees warmer than zone 6, the growing season is even longer still. 

The average last frost date is around mid-April, and the first frost isn’t until mid-October to early November. Zones 6 and 7 have a lot of crossover in their planting recommendations. 

There are 28 states which have zone 7 areas. Those are: 

  • Alabama 
  • Alaska 
  • Arizona 
  • Arkansas 
  • California 
  • Colorado 
  • Connecticut 
  • Delaware 
  • Georgia 
  • Idaho 
  • Maryland 
  • Massachusetts 
  • Mississippi 
  • Missouri 
  • Nevada 
  • New Jersey 
  • New Mexico 
  • New York 
  • North Carolina 
  • Oklahoma 
  • Oregon 
  • Pennsylvania 
  • Rhode Island 
  • South Carolina 
  • Tennessee 
  • Texas 
  • Utah 
  • Washington 

Perennial Vegetables for Zone 7 

If you are growing in Zone 7, this zone grows the same vegetables as zone 6. 

Zone 8 

Zone 8 is scattered across the continental United States instead of being grouped together like some other zones. It is 10 degrees warmer than zone 7. The last frost date is between March 1 and March 21, and the first frost comes between October 11 and 20th. 

Vegetables, herbs, and berries thrive in zone 8. 

States with zone 8 gardening include: 

  • Washington 
  • Oregon 
  • California 
  • Nevada 
  • Utah 
  • Arizona 
  • New Mexico 
  • Texas 
  • Oklahoma 
  • Louisiana 
  • Arkansas 
  • Mississippi 
  • Alabama 
  • Georgia 
  • Tennessee 
  • Florida 
  • North Carolina 
  • South Carolina 
  • Virginia 
  • Maryland 
  • Washington, D.C. 

Perennial Vegetables for Zone 8 

Zone 8 can also grow all vegetables found in zones 6 and 7 as well as: 

  • Artichoke 
  • Broccoli 
  • Kale 
  • Cardoon 
  • Leek 
  • Onion 
  • Shallot 
  • Tree collards 
  • Capsicum 
  • Spinach
  • Sweet potato 
  • Cabbage 
  • Collards 
  • Chicory  

Zone 9 

Zone 9 is considered a year-round planting zone, though many types of plants don’t do well in extreme heat, others do. The average temperatures in zone 9 rarely drop below 20 degrees Fahrenheit and are much warmer than most of the year. 

Zone 9 plants must be drought tolerant due to the extreme temperatures that occur in the hottest part of the summer. Many of the areas with zone 9 are in deserts, and water is scarce. 

States with zone 9 areas include: 

  • Alabama 
  • Arizona 
  • California 
  • Florida 
  • Georgia 
  • Hawaii 
  • Louisiana 
  • Mississippi 
  • Nevada 
  • New Mexico 
  • Oregon 
  • South Carolina 
  • Texas 
  • Utah 
  • Washington 

Perennial Vegetables for Zone 9 

  • Watercress 
  • Egyptian walking onions 
  • Wild leek 
  • Kale 
  • Artichokes 
  • Chinese artichoke 
  • Capers 
  • Chayote 
  • French sorrel 
  • Garlic 
  • Daylilies 
  • American lotus 
  • Giant butterbur 

Zone 10-13 

Zones 10-13 are much harsher than the other zones. Hawaii falls within these zones, and while there is no frost season, the heat can be too much for many plants. 

Perennial Vegetables for Zones 10-13 

  • Sissoo 
  • Spinach 
  • Edible hibiscus 
  • Chaya 
  • Katuk 
  • Moringa 
  • Taro 
  • Sweet potato 
  • Cassava 
  • Yacon 
  • Ginger 
  • Pigeon pea 
  • Winged bean 
  • Lima bean 
  • Sesbania 
  • Green papaya 
  • Plantain 
  • Hawaiian chili pepper 

41 Perennial Vegetables 

Rhubarb 

Colorful Rhubarb
Rhubarb pairs well with strawberries in a yummy pie.

Rhubarb is one of the heartier plants, being able to grow in almost any region. Once planted, it requires very little attention. However, in zones 6-10, it should be planted where it will be protected from the hot afternoon sun. 

At maturity, rhubarb will grow to approximately 3 feet long and provide excellent food for most summer months. Typically, rhubarb is most often enjoyed in pies because it has a naturally bitter flavor. 

Avoid extremely damp areas as rhubarb is susceptible to root rot

Sorrel 

Sorrel in a Pot
This zesty leaf is easy to grow and does well in zones 3-9.

Sorrel is a lemony flavored plant that adds a robust flavor to whatever you’re preparing. It can be eaten in a salad or used as an herb to season a meal. 

Sorrel is easy to care for and doesn’t require much besides an inch of water a week. It grows best when planted approximately 6 inches from the next plant in a well-drained soil bed. 

The bed must be weeded regularly so the weeds don’t choke the sorrel. 

Asparagus 

Asparagus in a Garden
This nutritious perennial vegetable grows best in zones 5 and 9.

Asparagus is a plant that needs to be planted directly in the soil as opposed to being transplanted from a seedling. This makes it harder to grow in some colder zones because it cannot be planted until the last frost has passed. 

Asparagus also does not grow well with weeds, so they need to be in a clean bed with careful attention to weed removal. There are many different types of Asparagus, some with different climate resistance, so be aware of this.

Harvesting asparagus is tricky, too. In the first year, you can harvest a small part of the plant and a little more each of the following years to give the plant time to recover and grow stronger. 

Chives 

Chives
Zones 3, 5, and 6 are great for growing aromatic chives.

Chives are a member of the onion family and have beautiful flowers that grow. They’re cold-tolerant and can be planted early in the spring. 

Chives aren’t well-liked by many animals and are not likely to be disturbed. It is important to harvest them before the flowers fully bloom, or your garden will be overtaken by chives next season. 

Chives are easily transplanted, though, making them an incredibly hardy plant

Jerusalem Artichoke/Sunchoke 

Jerusalem Artichoke or Sunchoke
Sunchokes do well in hardiness zones 3, 4, and 6.

The sunchoke is a tuber that resembles a potato but tastes more like water chestnuts. They grow to approximately 5-10 feet tall. 

Sunchoke is a hardy plant that will spread if allowed, but root barriers will keep it well contained. It prefers loose, well-drained soil but will grow anywhere with excellent sun exposure. 

Once established, they are a drought-resistant plant, though they do still need regular watering. 

Horseradish 

Horseradish Root
Hardiness zones 3 and 4 are excellent for growing this spicy root.

Horseradish is commonly grown for its root, which has a strong flavor. It requires well-prepared soil as the roots will grow and spread. The plant will take over a garden if allowed, so barriers are useful. 

One or two plants will feed an entire family. Planting new horseradish is easy if you take approximately 12 inches from a root and replant it. 

Horseradish thrives in full or partial sun

Walking Onion 

Walking Onion
Walking onions thrive in hardiness zones 3, 4, 5, and 9.

Also known as Egyptian onions, these plants grow onions at the top of the stem instead of in the ground. The flavor of Egyptian walking onions is similar to shallots, though much more potent. 

Walking onions won’t yield any vegetables the first year, so plant early and plan ahead. They need to be buried about 2 inches deep and 6-10 inches between plants. They grow well in well-drained soil with adequate sunlight. 

Lovage 

Lovage
This flavorful and nutritious perennial vegetable is best grown in zones 3 and 4.

Lovage is a much-underappreciated plant. It tastes a bit like citrus and celery and grows well without taking over the garden. 

Lovage is an excellent dietary addition with vitamin C, B-complex vitamins, and quercetin, an anti-inflammatory. 

Plants grow up to 6 feet tall and need about 32 inches between each other. They are large and beautiful. They prefer cooler climates, not growing well in the heat. 

Angelica 

Angelica Blossoms
This vegetable can grow to be fairly large and does best in zone 4.

Technically an herb, angelica is in the carrot and parsley families. It is often used to flavor liquors and teas. 

Its first year is a small growth, but angelica can spread from 2-4 feet and stand 6 feet tall by its second year. 

It is a short-lived perennial, which means it needs to be replanted every two years to keep up the supply. 

Dandelion 

Gardener Harvesting Dandelion
Often viewed as a weed, dandelion is incredibly easy to grow and can be used in teas or cooked dishes.

Dandelions grow so prolifically they require very little cultivation. They are hardy in almost every zone, and once there are plants established, they will reseed themselves readily each year. 

If you’re using the blossoms, harvest them when they are bright yellow, removing them from the stems. You can harvest the roots at any time. Roasted dandelion roots can be ground and added to food or drinks. 

Black Salsify 

Black Salsify Roots
Hardiness zone 4 is best to grow black salsify for its roots.

Salsify is a tricky root to grow because it needs to be planted in the spring and harvested 120-150 days later, preferably in cooler temperatures. It grows best in full sun with rich soil. Plant black salsify 12-18 inches deep. 

No pests or diseases cause trouble for black salsify, and it grows best when the soil is kept evenly moist. 

Turkish Rocket 

Turkish Rocket Flowers
This pretty and edible flower grows best in zones 4 and 6.

Turkish rocket is drought-resistant, hardy, and nearly all of it is edible at some point in the year. It has blooms that resemble broccoli. The blooms are the most delicious part of the plant. 

A smaller vegetable, Turkish rockets stand at only 4-6 inches tall. Turkish rocket prefers to be planted in full sunlight, but it can do well in partially shaded areas, too. Soil quality does not affect the ability of Turkish rockets to thrive. 

Wild Leeks 

Wild Leeks
Hardiness zones 4, 5, and 9 are best for growing wild leeks.

Wild leeks require soil that is rich in nutrients and well cared for. They prefer well-shaded areas with damp soil. They do not like drought. 

Leeks are challenging to grow because they require a period of cold once germination has started. As a result, they can take anywhere from a few months to over a year to yield food, depending on when they were planted in their first year. 

Arrowhead 

Arrowhead Roots
The roots of the arrowhead plant are delicious when roasted.

Arrowhead is a wild plant often grown indoors as a houseplant but has value as an edible plant as well. The tubers and leaves are good to eat roasted. The plant grows approximately 4 inches tall and can be harvested in the fall or early spring. 

Arrowhead is a starchy plant that grows best with even moisture. 

Common Camas 

Common Camas Flowers
Zone 4 is ideal for these beautiful flowers.

Another popular plant among indigenous peoples in North America, the common camas is a beautifully flowering plant with bulbs that are boiled into a sweet delicacy. 

The plant grows at high altitudes and can handle varying temperatures, making it a hardy plant and reliable food source. 

Chicory 

Fresh Chicory
This leafy perennial vegetable grows best in zones 6 and 8.

Chicory grows similarly to lettuce and other greens. It likes to be planted before the last frost and then allowed to grow in well-drained soil. Plant seeds 6-12 inches deep and approximately 2 feet away from the next plant. 

Chicory matures in 75-85 days and can be planted later in the season if you want to have a fall harvest. Like many other plants, it needs to be in a bed cleared of weeds. Mulch helps keep the soil moist enough for chicory to thrive. 

Chinese Yam 

Chinese Yams
This root vegetable is delicious as chips and grows best in zone 6.

Chinese yam is a versatile tuber that resembles a potato. It can be planted and then left in the ground to harvest late into the winter rather than harvesting in the fall like many other plants. This makes it reliable for later food availability and sustainability. 

The plant takes about a year to fully mature and yield a harvest, but older plants produce better food. It prefers full sun but can do well in partial shade as well. Traditionally grown in China, the Chinese yam does well in other areas like Northern California, too. 

Giant Solomon’s Seal 

Giant Solomon's Seal
This edible and medicinal plant grows best in zone 6.

Giant Solomon’s seal is another plant used more for medicinal purposes but is edible and hardy. It grows between 1-3 feet tall and spreads to 1 ½ feet. It is deer resistant, which makes it an excellent addition to your garden. 

Watercress 

Watercress
Hardiness zones 6 and 9 are recommended for this flavorful plant.

Watercress is a delicious addition to salads because of its peppery flavor. It can grow indoors year-round or outdoors in your garden. You’ll want to harvest it before the flowers bloom because the flavor is compromised after the bloom. 

Watercress requires full sun and constantly wet soil. Because of the soil moisture, watercress does attract insects and snails, so they need more upkeep than other vegetables. 

Broccoli 

Broccoli in a Garden
This delicious perennial vegetable grows best in hardiness zones 6 and 8.

Broccoli is considered a cool-season plant, so if you want mid-summer vegetables, plant it several weeks before the last frost in the spring. Plants should be planted 12-24 inches apart to give adequate room to grow. 

The edible portion of the broccoli is the flowering heads before the flowers bloom. They’ll be approximately 4-7 inches long. Once the flowers have bloomed, the vegetable can no longer be harvested. 

Kale 

Kale in a Garden
This superfood vegetable is often used in salads.

Kale is one of the most nutrient-rich vegetables around. Just a few plants can provide a weekly harvest to keep your family fed all summer long. They’re ready to harvest after about 30 days, and you can tell because the leaves are as big as your hand. 

Kale doesn’t mind the cold, and you can continue to harvest it even after the first snowfall. 

Leek 

Leeks Growing in a Garden
These flavorful vegetables are in the alium family along with onions and garlic.

Leeks are related to onions but are much larger. They prefer to grow in cooler weather and have better flavor if they mature before the last frost. 

Leeks are biannual as opposed to fully perennial and will need to be replanted every couple of years. You can grow new ones from kitchen scraps, though, making them a perpetual source of food. 

Shallot 

Shallots in a Row
These mildy flavored bulbs thrive in hardiness zones 6 and 8.

Shallots are another member of the onion family and grow quickly for a seemingly endless food supply. They grow better in warmer climates, zone 5 or warmer, though you can grow them in zone 4 later in the season. 

They need dryer soil so the bulbs don’t rot. If they begin to flower, cut off the flowers so the plant can focus its energy on the bulb. 

Cardoon 

Cardoon Flowers
Hardiness zone 8 is highly suggested for planting cardoon.

Cardoon is a celery-like plant. Its stalks are blanched and eaten like celery, though it is in the same family as artichokes. 

The plant grows up to 4 feet tall and 2 feet wide. Cardoons need to be watered regularly, but the soil needs to dry out between waterings so the fungus doesn’t grow. It can be frozen or canned for year-long food. 

Capsicum 

Capsicum Plant
Peppers part of the capsicum family grow best is zone 8.

Capsicum is a whole family of perennial vegetables better known as sweet peppers, cayenne pepper, and paprika. It is a single species vegetable with many varieties. It grows best with partial sun and shade without harsh midday heat. 

Plants will need support to grow as the vegetable begins to weigh down the plant. If it gets too hot or cold, it will drop its flowers, which means no vegetables will grow. 

Spinach 

Spinach Growing in a Garden
Zones 8 and 10-13 are most optimal for growing spinach.

Spinach grows best in cooler temperatures, so the harvest is great in spring and fall. It is frost tolerant and appreciates soils that have a lot of organic matter in them. Spinach thrives with full sun and at least 8 hours of direct sunlight. 

It’s also true that spinach loves water, so a drip irrigation system may be a good idea. But it isn’t necessary as long as you stay alert to the soil’s moisture levels. 

Spinach rarely has pests or diseases, making it an easy plant to care for. 

Sweet Potato 

Sweet Potatoes
The nutrient-dense roots grow best in hardiness zones 8 and 10-13.

Sweet potatoes are susceptible to frost, making them difficult to grow in cooler zones. They take more than 90 days to mature. They also shouldn’t be planted as companion plants with tomatoes, where they can share in blight, or other types of pests.

Plant sweet potatoes 6 inches deep and 12 inches apart to give adequate room to grow. Keep the soil relatively damp until about a week before harvesting so they can dry out a bit. The plants do better a little too dry rather than too wet. 

Cabbage 

Cabbage
Hardiness zone 8 is preferred by cabbage for optimal growth.

Cabbage grows best in spring or fall, harvesting in cooler weather though not too extreme. They need nutrient-rich organic soil that is well-drained. Added compost will help cabbage grow into a heartier vegetable. 

Cabbage can take anywhere from 80-180 days to be ready to harvest, so planning ahead is essential. It prefers moderate temperatures through the summer months. 

Collards 

Collard Greens
Collard greens are tough leaves that are best when slowcooked.

Collard greens are a popular perennial vegetable in the southern United States. Best harvested in the fall or early winter, they can tolerate frost, making them a versatile plant in any zone. 

They dry out quickly in the heat, so summer growth needs to be monitored for adequate soil moisture so the plant doesn’t die. They prefer moist, fertile soil and need to grow about 3 feet apart. 

Chinese Artichoke 

Chinese Artichoke
Zone 9 is most fitting for this mint-like plant.

Chinese artichokes are in the mint family and, like mint, can take over your garden quickly. They grow delicious tubers but don’t last long, so they are a tricky vegetable to maintain. 

Chinese artichokes can be eaten raw or added to salads, soups, and other recipes. They take 5-7 months to grow and can be harvested once the plant has gone dormant, typically in the fall or winter. 

Capers 

Capers
These flavorful buds grow best in hardiness zone 9.

Capers are unopened flower buds from bushes that grow around 3-5 feet high. Capers have a strong flavor and are often used to season or add a burst of flavor to dishes rather than eaten alone. Their taste is comparable to pepper and mustard. 

Caper bushes need steady sunlight and dry air. They’re incredibly hardy in hot temperatures and can withstand up to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Like olives, the caper has a Mediterranean feel and can be harvested in different sizes for different flavors. 

Chayote 

Chayote or Mirliton Squash
Zone 9 provides the perfect climate for growing chayote.

Chayote is a vine that produces a squash-like fruit with a nutty flavor. It is also called mirliton in some areas of the US. The vines can grow up to 50 feet long and do best in full sun. They can grow in partial shade but won’t produce as much food. 

Chayote needs loose, well-drained soil with plenty of moisture. Compost helps this plant grow because of the added organic nutrients. 

Daylilies 

Daylilies
These beautiful flowers are best grown in zone 9.

Daylilies aren’t just beautiful flowers. They are grown in China and Japan as vegetables, and they grow just as well in the United States. 

The stem of the flower can be harvested and steamed like asparagus or added raw to salads. 

American Lotus 

American Lotus
This gorgeous flower grows best in hardiness zone 9.

The American lotus is edible as seeds or as a fully grown plant. Young leaves are similar to spinach and can be cooked or eaten as a salad. The roots are edible, too, as it is a lot like tubers and potatoes. 

The American Lotus does not provide many nutritional supplements, but it is an excellent carbohydrate. 

Giant Butterbur 

Giant Butterbur
Zone 9 is most ideal for growing giant butterbur.

The giant butterbur requires mostly shade and moderate water to grow successfully. The shoot is chopped and stir-fried to be eaten as a relish or fried with tempura. With antioxidant properties, this plant is excellent for health. 

Japanese Ginger 

Japanese Ginger
Hardiness zones 10-13 are great for planting Japanese ginger.

Japanese ginger grows best in rich, well-drained soil. It needs partial shade throughout the day. 

Japanese ginger isn’t truly a ginger root but tastes more like a mix between ginger and onion, giving it a unique flavor. It goes well with any dish you’d put green onions or shallots on. 

Cassava 

Cassava or Yucca Roots
The hot and dry hardiness zones of 10-13 are ideal for growing cassava.

Cassava, also known as yucca, is a starchy root plant high in carbohydrates. Harvesting this plant can take up to 18 months. It does well in dry climates and needs heat to thrive. 

Cassava can be grown indoors in cooler climates but does best in the hotter desert areas. The root is the food source, so it needs to be harvested after it has had time to grow. 

Yacon 

Yacon Root
Hardiness zones 10-13 are best for planting yacon.

Yacon resembles a sunflower above ground, but the root is more like a potato. Yacon has a unique property that is hardly found in other plants. Unlike most sweet foods, the yacon doesn’t get its sweetness from sugar but inulin. 

Inulin is something the human body cannot metabolize, making yacon an excellent food for diabetics or those avoiding carbohydrates. They grow slowly but don’t need much care in the garden. When ready to harvest, allow the roots to dry. 

Lima Bean 

Lima Beans
This perennial vegetable does well in zones 10-13.

Lima beans are incredibly nutritious and hearty perennial vegetables. They need warm soil above 65 degrees Fahrenheit to properly grow. Plant your rows 2 feet apart, and the plants 2-4 inches away from each other within the rows. 

It only takes about 70 days for the beans to be ready to harvest, and the plants yield a lot of beans. They can be stored in the refrigerator for two weeks or frozen, making them more versatile. 

Sesbania 

Sesbania Flowers
Zones 10-13 are great for growing this unique vegetable.

Sesbania is a heat-tolerant plant known for pods that are prepared like green beans. They can be sauteed with other vegetables or added to soups.

The plant grows quickly from seed and is relatively easy to care for unless conditions grow extremely harsh. 

Hawaiian Chili Pepper 

Hawaiian Chili Peppers
These little spicy peppers grow excellently in zones 10-13.

Hawaiian chili peppers are in the capsicum family like other sweet peppers, but they are more tolerant to the high heat and humidity of the zone 10-13 growing climate. 

These are small, spicy peppers that grow year-round in warm soil. When the plant is approximately one foot tall, trim it back so it grows thicker. These plants need at least 8 hours a day of direct sunlight. The more sun, the larger the yield. 

Hawaiian chili peppers need moist soil, so they need watering regularly in the hottest months. 

Final Thoughts

As you can see, no matter what hardiness zone you live in, there are different perrenial vegetables that will grow just fine. Most are easy for beginners to learn with, no matter the hardiness zone. Depending on the amount of time you have, and the amount of work you are willing to put in, many of these veggies will do just fine in gardens of all types!

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