Examples of Perennial Plants
A Variety of Color
A great way to add diversity to your perennial garden is to try planting various species of plants that are different than what you would normally grow. Colorful and vivacious flowers are a stunning attraction to any garden, but the options that are available for a diverse and everlasting garden don't stop there. Perennials can take many shapes and forms, such as edibles, herbs, trees and ferns. Try adding several of these examples of perennials to your garden this year to enhance the value of your outdoor space.
Colorful Perennial Hibiscus
A fern is distinguished by the fact that they have no flowers and bear no seeds. There are over 12,000 different species of ferns in the world, and the perennial varieties are some of the most rewarding to grow.
The Male Wood Fern is an upright, easy to grow plant that immediately attracts attention. The plant can grow up to 4 feet tall and spreads slowly until it has formed a large cluster. It loves partial shade and fertile soil but can tolerate filtered sunlight as well. Male Wood Fern is best grown in nutrient dense soil that contains plenty of organic matter. The plant is also drought resistant.
Ostrich Fern is a classic fern that has lacy leaves that resemble the feathers of an ostrich, hence the name. The fern grows in an upright shape up to 3 feet tall. It requires moist soil and shade but it can tolerate full sun if grown in consistently moist soil.
Several vegetables are considered perennial - that is, you plant them once and harvest from them season after season. Edible perennials are very rewarding to grow due to the fact that they live a long time and tend to be heavy producers.
Asparagus grows best in zones 4-8 and are long-lived edibles that can produce spears for over twenty-years when given the right growing conditions. Most gardeners start their plants from the crowns as it seems quicker and more productive than starting from seed. Asparagus requires heavy watering and soil that has a neutral pH-level.
Rhubarb is grown for its edible stalk (the leaves are inedible) and makes a colorful addition to any garden. The stalks come in a variety of colors from red, pink and green and are used to make delectable dishes such as the classic strawberry-rhubarb pie or rhubarb jam. The plant should not be harvested for at least a year.
Herbs are leafy green plants that are used for food, spice, fragrance and medicine, amongst other uses. The difference between herbs and spices is that herbs are the leafy green part of the plant, while spices are typically gathered from seeds or woody bark parts of a plant. Perennial herbs can take the form of a tree or a shrub, which is different than a botanical herb which, by definition, cannot come from a woody plant.
Sorrel is a perennial herb with tart leaves similar to lemon. The leaves are used in cuisines across the globe to flavor soups, salads, stews and sauces. Sorrel is a distant cousin of rhubarb and tastes best when harvested in the spring. The leaves become bitter as the weather temperature intensifies.
Thyme is one of the easiest everlasting herbs to grow and responds best in hot, dry and sunny areas with nutrient dense soil. A little fertilizer will give this plant just what it needs to continue producing year after year. In the spring, the plant should be pruned to allow new leaves to flourish.
Stevia is a plant that is also considered to be an herb. It is grown as a natural sweetener and grows best in full sun and well-drained soil. The plant can be grown from seed or transplanted. The stems can be harvested well into the fall as the cooler temperatures intensify the sweetness of the leaves. The leaves can also be air-dried and used throughout the fall to sweeten tea, coffee and sauces.
Most grasses that grow are perennials or evergreen, although some of the most common edible forms of grass, such as corn and rice, are annuals and must be replanted each year and could not exist without the effort of farmers. Grasses are used for food, livestock fodder, drinks (i.e., barley being used to make beer), and fuel, and can also be planted for beauty and diversity in the garden.
Pampas Grass grows best in zones 7-9 and is one of the most impressive of the grass species. It can grow up to 12 feet tall and 5 feet wide with elegant silver plumes that will last throughout the winter. The plant grows quickly and will reach maturity within two or three years. The Pampas is best grown in moist, hummus-rich soil as it is a heavy feeder.
Purple Moor Grass is a slow growing perennial grass that stands in clumps of curving foliage. Purple and pink flowers blossom atop the leaves in the fall which can grow up to 36 inches tall and 24 inches wide. The plant will shed in the winter and return in the spring while requiring very little attention.
Diversify Your Plot
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© 2015 Tyler Norwood
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