20 Perennial Vegetables to Plant This Spring

These plants are the gifts that keep giving for years to come.

Artichoke growing
Artichoke.

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Those new to gardening often grow annuals, unaware of the huge range of perennial vegetables they could consider. While I do plant a range of common annuals/biennials in my garden, I also have plenty of perennials, which deliver their yield not just for one season but over a number of years. 

There are many benefits to growing perennial vegetables — both to the environment and for individual gardeners. So this spring, as you purchase seeds or plants, consider perennial vegetables as well as the more common annual/biennial crops. 

There are hundreds of options you could opt for. But, to get you started, here are 20 possible choices for your garden:

Alliums

From wild garlic, ramsons or ramps, to bunching or walking onions, chives, and perennial leeks, there is a wide range of plants in the onion family that will provide a yield over a number of years. They're not just good for culinary purposes. Perennial alliums are fantastic for pest control in perennial beds, fruit tree guilds, forest gardens, etc.

Artichokes

Both Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes) and globe artichokes are excellent options, often growing very well in a range of conditions. The related cardoons and Maximilian sunflowers are other options in this group to consider. 

Asparagus

Asparagus is definitely one of the best-known and most widely grown perennial vegetables. It can grow in beds alongside other perennial plants, or even in annual vegetable beds. Spring is a good time to think about planting asparagus crowns. They will not provide a yield right away but will provide dividends in the years to come. 

Brassicas

There is a large number of perennials in the brassica (cabbage) family of cruciferous vegetables. Many brassicas commonly grown as annual crops will actually behave as short-lived perennials in warmer climate zones. And some are perennial even in cooler temperate climates. Amongst my favorites are "tree cabbage," perennial kale, and the everlasting cabbage (Ewiger kohl).

Sea Kale

Also related to the aforementioned brassicas, sea kale (Crambe maritima) is another excellent perennial vegetable to consider. The leaves are used like regular kale and other brassica greens, and the young shoots can also be treated like asparagus. Seeds should be nicked before sowing to encourage germination — but the effort is well worthwhile to establish a clump. 

Sea kale growing on the pebbles beach
Sea Kale.

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Daylilies

Daylilies are a great value vegetable. These plants offer a number of edible yields. Every part of the plant — from the tubers to the shoots to the blooms — is edible and each part has a range of different uses. The flowers, in particular, are considered to be a delicacy. 

Good King Henry

Good King Henry is sometimes known as "poor man's asparagus" and was once commonly eaten as a vegetable in parts of Europe. It is related to the common edible weed lambsquarter (Chenopodium album), as well as to quinoa. The young shoots are used like asparagus, and leaves and flower buds are also edible. This is one of the plants I have found most useful in my forest garden. 

Groundnut

The groundnut (Apios americana) is a nitrogen-fixing climber or vine, with edible (though tiny) tubers. It has a nutty, potato-like taste, and forms like strings of pearls below the ground. As an edible crop and nitrogen fixer, this is a great choice for many perennial gardens. 

Hablitzia

This is another one of the many leafy-green, spinach-like vegetables that you can consider growing. This herbaceous perennial is a vine, producing an abundance of green leaves. Also known as Caucasian spinach, it can often thrive when grown up in a tree. 

Horseradish

Horseradishes' fiery roots are an interesting addition to a homegrown diet. And this vegetable can also be a great companion plant. They are said to help in repelling a range of pest species and attract pollinators and other beneficial insects when in flower. 

Green grass closeup view with hand holding touching dug up horseradish root in a vegetable garden
Horseradish root.

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Hostas

You might think of hostas as a shade-tolerant ornamental plant but they are also an incredibly useful perennial vegetable. The rolled-up leaves "hostons" that emerge in spring are delicious, and the leaves can also be consumed. They are great in stir-fries and also work well in many recipes requiring cooked greens. 

Lovage

Lovage is often grown as a perennial alternative to celery. And for many, it can be much easier to grow. While the taste can be strong and not necessarily for everyone, lovage is another great pot herb to grow in your garden. 

Musk Mallow

One of the best perennial alternatives to lettuce for summer salads, musk mallow has a mild flavor that means it can be used as a main salad ingredient. When germinated in the spring, it can produce fresh leaves from late spring/early summer right through to autumn.

Chicory/Radicchio

Chicory/radicchio is well worth considering. The leaves are rather bitter but make a fantastic addition to mixed salads. Chicory is also said to be an excellent dynamic accumulator plant for guilds and polycultures in your garden. 

Rhubarb

Rhubarb probably needs to introduction. Though it may be a little late to plant crowns after March, this is a great perennial vegetable to consider for future years. You could also buy a mature pot-grown plant in April, to obtain a yield right away.  

fresh vegetable rhubarb and beetroot
Rhubarb.

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Sea Beet

A wild relative to beetroot and chard, sea beet is a perennial vegetable alternative to spinach or chard. The young leaves can be eaten raw but are usually cooked. Flowering stems can also be cooked and used as a sprouting broccoli substitute. 

Skirret

Skirret was formerly a well-known vegetable, grown in many cottage gardens, but is now far less well known. It is a root crop, which offers a perennial alternative to parsnips. The roots are like parsnips, and though smaller and less quick to grow, require far less input and effort. 

Sorrels

Sorrels are another group of perennial plants that I have found very successful and useful in my forest garden. Red-veined sorrel remains in my garden year-round and has also self-seeded readily. I also grow some French sorrel, which has an even more delicious lemony flavor.

Stinging Nettles

Most gardeners hate stinging nettles, considering them to be a weed. But I welcome nettles in my garden for a range of reasons. One of those reasons is that, in spring, they are a useful perennial vegetable. We enjoy the young leaves cooked (like spinach) in a range of recipes. In many areas, you will not need to sow them, as they will arrive on their own. But when they do arrive, you should definitely welcome them as a very useful perennial plant. 

Turkish Rocket

Finally, the Turkish rocket is another vegetable to consider for salads and cooked greens. Also related to the brassicas mentioned above, the cooked greens are another excellent perennial leaf vegetable. 

Of course, these are just some of the many, many options to consider when deciding which perennial vegetables to sow this spring.