17 Dog Safe Perennial Flower Guide: Beauty on a Budget!

According to a recent survey, the average house spends approximately $616 each year on lawn and garden activities. That’s a lot of money to spend if it’s not the right selection of products. Considering what is best for your yard, climate, and family, including your furry family is key. One great solution can be a dog safe perennial flower yard.

a cute pug plays in a dog safe perennial flower garden
disclaimer note
Budget tip:

Who doesn’t love a beautiful garden? Since we invest in lawn and garden products each year, we need to make sure what we select is safe for our furry friends. Not only can the properly selected perennial flowers keep your dog safe and emergency vet bills down, but they can also reduce the amount you spend on your yard yearly. Keep in mind perennials only need to be purchased once. Thus, the right dog safe perennial flowers are a great win-win-win for your dog, yard, and wallet!

Wondering how to create a beautiful dog yard on a budget? In this article, I walk you through all the steps you need to know to get the yard of your dreams.

What are perennials anyhow?

Basically, a perennial flower or even plant is one that will come back year after year. While the ability for a plant or flower to be a perennial depends on your zone.

For example, what will grow as a perennial in zone 1 may be an annual plant in zone 7. Thus, when you select the correct perennial for your zone, situation, and needs you only need to invest in the initial purchase. Moreover, with proper care (and planting) it should return with glorious blooms and beauty every year. 

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Are there really dog safe perennial flowers?

Yes! How great is that, by the way? You can have a beautiful garden and not worry about your dog either. 

Why do I want dog safe perennials in my yard?

Of course, you always want to make sure that your dog’s environment is safe. That should go without question. However, when your dog’s environment is safe you avoid unneeded vet bills. Additionally, when you plant perennial flowers you don’t have to invest in purchasing new flowers each year.

Note: The flowering dog friendly plants listed in this article, are all outdoor plants.

What’s my planting zone?

It’s critical to know your planting zone so that you don’t waste money on plants and flowers that simply won’t survive in your climate. For instance, I live in zone 7A, which is a colder climate. But with this in mind, I know which plants I can install as perennials and which ones are best suited as annuals. 

To find your zone just go here and put in your zip code.

What flowers can I plant in my yard that are considered dog safe perennials?

There are 17 dog-friendly flowers you can plant this year that are perennials. Here’s what you may want to plant this year.

Note: Even if you select a dog safe flower, if your dog eats the plant, it could still cause issues. For example, my dog, Henry, doesn’t eat flowers or plants. Thus, I can safely plant flowers that I would never dream of planting if he had a tendency to eat plants or if he was a puppy. 

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1. Bee Balm aka Bergamot

Photo credit: Phillip Larking via Unsplash

Zone: 2 – 10

Sun: Full, direct sunlight to partial shade

Soil: Ph 6.0 – 6.7 

Water: Drought-tolerant, but like regular watering

Maintenance: Low and very sturdy with the ability to withstand cold and hot temps

Size: 4’ tall x 3’ wide

Attracts: Butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees 

2. Calendula a.k.a Pot Marigolds (self-seeding annual)

Photo credit: Oksana Gogu via Unsplash

Zone: 2 – 10

Sun: Full, direct sunlight to partial shade

Soil: Ph 6.0 – 7.0

Water: 1-2 times a week if you live in a dry area. However, make sure the soil should is well-drained.

Maintenance: Low and can self-seed, which makes them kind of a perennial. In other words, you don’t have to buy them more than once.

Size: 1” –  2” wide and high

Attracts: Butterflies and bees, while repelling insects 

3. Celosia a.k.a. Cockscomb (perennial and annual varieties)

Photo credit: FlyD via Unsplash

Zone: 9 – 12

Sun: Full sun is preferable (but can do well in partial shade as well)

Soil: Ph 6.0 – 7.5

Water: Frequent to keep the soil moist. Additionally, cockscomb tolerates drier soil and can be drought tolerant, but the soil should be well-drained

Maintenance: Low and easy to grow

Size: 1’ high to 1’ wide

Attracts: Butterflies

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4. Coral Bells a.k.a. Heuchera

Photo credit: Marcin Krawczynski via Unsplash

Zone: 4 – 9

Sun: Part sun

Soil: Ph 6.0 – 7.0

Water: Moist but not overly wet. Additionally, the soil should be rich in nutrients.

Maintenance: Fairly low, but does need deadheading.

Size: 8”-18” high x 8”-25” wide

Attracts: Butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees

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5. Cornflower aka Bachelor’s Buttons (annual but very good at self-seeding)

Photo credit: 8kka ame via Unsplash

Zone: 2 – 11

Sun: Full, direct sunlight to partial shade

Soil: Alkaline 7.2 – 7.8

Water: Drought tolerant, but soil should be well drained. In other words, you can let the soil dry out before watering. 

Maintenance: Easy to grow and self-seeds, which means you only need to buy them once. Thus, cornflowers are sort of a perennial flower. 

Size: 4’ high x 1’ wide

Attracts: Butterflies

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6. Forsythia 

Photo credit: Dominik Scythe via Unsplash

First, Forsythia can be trained to a trellis. It’s more of a flowering bush, than an actual flower.

Zone: 5 – 8

Sun: Full, direct sunlight to partial shade

Soil: Ph 6.8 – 7.7

Water: Moist yet well-drained.

Maintenance: Very easy to care for and grow

Size: 2’-10’ tall and wide

Attracts: Butterflies, bees, and birds

Note: If you have allergies or you’re prone to migraines or asthma, this may not be a good selection. The smell of Forsythia blooming always gives me a migraine. 

7. Fuchsias

Photo credit: Bernfried Opala via Unsplash

Zone: 10 – 11

Sun: Partial shade

Soil: Ph 6.0 – 7.0

Water: Moist well-drained soil

Maintenance: Easy to grow in pots, but Fuchsias don’t like high temps or dry heat.

Size: 1’-2’ tall and wide

Attracts: Butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds

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8. Gerbera Daisies

Photo credit: Jen Theodore via Unsplash

Zone: 8 – 10

Sun: Full, direct sunlight to partial shade

Soil: Ph 5.5 – 6.5

Water: Moist and well-drained soil

Maintenance: Fairly easy to grow when they don’t get too much sun or water

Size: 10-18” tall x 9-12” wide

Attracts: Butterflies, bees, and birds

Note: Gerber Daises can be a bit tender. Thus, if your dog loves running through your planted garden beds, it may not be a good choice. 

9. Globe Thistle a.k.a. Echinops

Photo credit: Heather Wilde via Unsplash

Zone: 3 – 9

Sun: Full, direct sunlight 

Soil: Ph 5.5 – 7.0

Water: Drought tolerant with well drain soil

Maintenance: Very easy and fast growing with only basic care.

Size: 2’-5’ tall x 1’-4’ wide

Attracts: Butterflies, bees, and birds

Note: Globe Thistle has a pom-pom type flower, which can be a bit prickly. Thus, don’t plant at your dog’s eye level. Additionally, you will want to avoid this flowering plant if your dog loves to eat everything, including flowers. 

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10. Jasmine

Photo credit: Geraldine Dukes via Unsplash

While Jasmine is safe for dogs, some nurseries can mark other plants as Jasmine that aren’t safe. Thus, be sure what you purchase is actually Jasmine.  

Zone: 7 – 10

Sun: Full, direct sunlight to partial shade

Soil: Ph 6.5 – 7.5

Water: Jasmine likes to be watered in the Goldilocks style. Basically, keep them not too wet or too dry, but rather just moist.

Maintenance: Fairly easy with sun and well-drained soil

Size: 1.5’ – 2’ tall x 4’-5’ wide. However, the vine variety can grow 20′ long.

Attracts: Butterflies, bees, and birds

Note: Jasmine can also be trained on a trellis, which can be great for adding more shade naturally to your garden. However, keep in mind that Jasmine can have a strong smell, which can be difficult for asthma or migraine sufferers.

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11. Pansies

Photo credit: Craig Chilton via Unsplash

Zone: 3 – 10 

Sun: Full, direct sunlight to partial shade

Soil: Ph 5.4 – 5.8

Water: Needs to be watered frequently and soil should be kept moist, but not waterlogged

Maintenance: Very easy 

Size: 6” – 9” tall x 9” – 12” wide

Attracts: Butterflies, hummingbirds, hawk moths

Note: While Pansies are considered a perennial flower in zones 3-8, I live in zone 7 and they are an annual flower for me. However, these happy-looking flowers are always relatively inexpensive and I don’t mind purchasing them yearly. 

12. Petunias (there are annual and perennial varieties)

Photo credit: Emma Henderson via Unsplash

Zone: 9 – 11

Sun: Full, direct sunlight 

Soil: Ph 6.0 – 7.0

Water: These flowers like deep watering once a week for best results. This means watering to a depth of 6-8”. 

Maintenance: Very easy and deadheading encourages more blooms

Size: 6” – 24” tall x 18”- 4’

Attracts: Butterflies hummingbirds, and bees

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13. Roses – Rosa

Henry in his dog safe perennial flower yard
My dog, Henry loves looking at the roses in his yard.

Zone: 7 – 11

Sun: Full, direct sunlight 

Soil: 6.0 – 7.0

Water: At least once a week to a depth of 18”, However, water more often if it’s windy or extremely hot

Maintenance: If you select a low-maintenance, disease-resistant variety such as Coral Knock Out or Peach Drift, then roses can be very easy to grow. 

Size:  There are four main varieties of roses and the size depends on the variety.

Bush: 4’ – 6’ tall x 3’ – 4’ wide

Crawling: 4” – 8” x 10’ wide

Climbing: 8’ – 15’ tall/long x 4’ – 6’ wide 

Tree: 3’ – 10’ tall x 3’ – 4’ wide

Attracts: Butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees

Note: The stems of roses are generally very prickly with thorns. Thus, make sure to keep these beauties planted where your dog can’t accidentally poke their eye. 

14. Russian Sage a.k.a Perovskia

Photo credit: Isa Macouzet via Unsplash

Zone: 4 – 9

Sun: Full, direct sunlight 

Soil: 6.5 – 8.0

Water: Allow the soil to dry out between watering. Then simply water to the point the soil is moist. Russian Sage is very drought-tolerant.

Maintenance: Very easy and doesn’t require much attention

Size: 2’ – 4’ tall x 3’ – 4’ wide

Attracts: Butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees. Additionally, deer and rabbits don’t like to eat Russian Sage. 

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15. Snapdragons

Photo credit: Cristina Anne Costello via Unsplash

Zone: 7 – 11

Sun: Full, direct sunlight 

Soil: Ph 6.2 – 7

Water: Keep the soil semi-moist and water to a depth of 1” when the soil is dry. 

Maintenance: Very easy with little care, except water. However, keep the soil well drained with good nutrients. 

Size: 6” – 48” tall x 6” – 12” wide

Attracts: Butterflies, hummingbirds, bees, wasps, and all flying bugs

I’m always pleasantly surprised to see my snapdragons come back each year. They look so fragile but are rather hardy flowers. 

16. Tickseed a.k.a. Coreopsis (this flower comes in perennial and annual varieties)

Photo credit: Joshua J. Cotten via Unsplash

Zone: 2 – 8

Sun: Full, direct sunlight

Soil: Ph 6.0 – 7.5

Water: Moist by not soggy or waterlogged soil. Additionally, water at least once a week slowly to a depth of 6”

Maintenance: Easy, but flowers should be deadheaded.

Size: 6” –  48” tall x 12” – 48” wide

Attracts: Butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees

17. Violas (self-seeding perennial)

Photo credit: Chris Linnett via Unsplash

Zone: 3 – 8

Sun: Mostly full, direct sunlight yields the best results for violas, but they don’t like hot temps.

Soil: 6.0 – 7.0

Water: Thoroughly water, but allow the soil to dry out between watering. 

Maintenance: Very easy to grow with little care, except water and sun are required.

Size: 6” tall and wide

Attracts: Butterflies and bees

What if my dog eats everything?

Of course, if you have a very curious dog or puppy who likes to taste or nibble on different things, then be extra careful with flowers and plants. In fact, even with this list of safe dog perennial flowers, you may want to consider:

  • Plant them in areas your dog can’t access
  • Avoiding and not planting 
  • Plant them in hanging baskets

In a nutshell, the key is to always keep your dog safe, including using dog-friendly plants and dog-friendly flowers. 

What if my dog eats all my flowers and plants?

Naturally, even if a plant or flower is non-toxic, too much of anything is never good. Thus, if you suspect your pup is suffering from plant, flower, or other yard poisons, contact your vet or Pet Poison. Moreover, the symptoms of poisoning include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea 
  • Lethargic
  • Drooling
  • Seizures

“…the consumption of any plant material may cause vomiting and gastrointestinal upset for dogs and cats.”


Note: If you suspect your dog ate something poisonous call either Poison Control Hotline (ASPCA 24/7) at 888-426-4435 or the Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661. There’s a fee for both hotlines, but if you need them, it’s definitely worth every penny!

Do you know how to find an online vet? In this article, I give you a guide.

What are poisonous plants for my dog?

There are a multitude of toxic plants and flowers that can make your dog ill. They include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Begonias
  • Lilies
  • Asters
  • Morning glory

However, for a more comprehensive list, please check out this article, from my friend Tiffany at Pennies, Paws, and Places.

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How can I save money with dog safe perennial flowers?

The goal of a dog safe yard is to make sure your dog is safe. This includes selecting plants and flowers that won’t harm your furry friend. Not only can the right perennials keep your dog healthy, but they can keep your wallet happy as well. Therefore, with all this in mind consider the following possible costs.

IssuePossible Cost
Poisoning or toxicity$250 – 5,000
Skin infection$118+
Eye Infection$100+
Allergies (dog and human)$150 – 4,000
Purchasing flowers yearly$100 – 1,200
Beautiful human and dog safe yardPRICELESS!!!

Related articles:

Summary of the 17 dog safe perennial flower guide

Investing in the correct types of plants and flowers for your yard, climate, and furry friends can save money. A dog safe perennial flower yard is a great option. You only need to purchase the flowers once, your yard is beautiful, and your vet bills won’t increase. Thus, the end result is a budget-friendly eye-popping dog safe yard. What could be better in the summer? 

a cute husky enjoys a dog safe perennial flower garden

Do you love perennial flowers? Will you plant some dog safe plants this year?

About Terri Rodefer

Terri Rodefer is the founder of Tail Wag Wisdom, a blog focused on affordable pet care. She likes to say helping pet parents afford and love their animals even more, makes her tail wag. As a lifelong lover of all animals with a background in economics, biology, and marketing, allows Terri to bring a unique spin to pet care. 

8 thoughts on “17 Dog Safe Perennial Flower Guide: Beauty on a Budget!”

  1. Fantastic article and really helpful advice. I enjoy gardening and although my dogs have never shown any interest in eating plants or flowers, I like knowing my garden will be safe for neighbours’ dogs coming by for a sniff!

    • Thanks, Hindy! Yeah, Henry doesn’t like to eat flowers either. But he will occasionally sniff them, especially if he thinks a lizard is nearby. Fur kids are funny!

  2. I love Cornflowers and YES they self-seed and make a wonderful slighly wild display. Plant them!! Their colour is fantastic.

    I also agree that Pansies are amazing. Believe it or not they will survive a mildish winter in slightly warmer climates (like here in New Zealand). But, honestly all of your recommendations would look great without too much maitnenance in a garden, its an excellent list and knowing they are dog safe is vitally important so they can relax and have fun.

    • I love a bit of a wildflower look. It’s so pretty and natural looking, even if it’s been meticulously planned. You know, the weirdest thing is I see pansies growing and coming back at Tahoe, which is much colder than here. I kind of wonder if it is also the rich soil. Either way they are sweet looking flowers that I plant every year knowing they won’t come back in my yard.
      Low-maintenance is important to me. So, yes, these flowers are low-maintenance, yet beautiful. Perfect!
      Thank, Marjorie for your continued support!

  3. I do not have a garden but this post is so interesting and such an eye opener for those with gardens, WOW, I have learned so much from it and I love flowers. This is a must read for all pet parents who have gardens as they can learn so much, thank you

    • I bet you see lots of flowers all around you in your beautiful city. You’re absolutely right, there is a lot to learn with flowers, plants, and gardening and keeping our fur kids safe. But step-by-step it’s doable. Thank you so much for your kind words and support. I greatly appreciate it!

  4. This is fantastic, Terri! While I do not have a green thumb (is there such a thing as a brown thumb? That’s me!) but I did manage to have a happy climber rose bush, marigolds, and (new attempt) pansies when we had our Huskies and they never bothered them (and I didn’t have to do too much to them, lol. My Mom had an amazing green thumb that I did not inherit!). What a great guideline you have here for dog-loving families who want to have a nice, pet-safe garden! Love the pic of Henry with the rosebush. <3 Great info I am sharing for sure!

    • Awe, thanks, Dorothy! I don’t have that green of a thumb either, but I like to try. I do much better with animals. Pansies are some of my favorites. Although, a good smelling rose is tough to beat. It is nice to have a dog friendly yard even if they don’t tend to eat plants. As dog parents, we know the weirdest things can happen. So, the ability to eliminate a possible issue, helps to put me at ease. Thank you so much for you kind words and continued support!


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