Perennials are very popular and easy to manage in most gardens
Lilies are tall perennials ranging in height from 2–6 ft (60–180 cm).
What are Perennials?
Perennials are plants that grow for more than two years. Although trees and shrubs are perennials, the term is used to describe plants that have soft top growth. Those that have foliage that dies down in winter are herbaceous perennials.
Well, known examples are delphiniums, astilbes, and gypsophila. Other perennials such as kniphofias, hellebores and agapanthus are evergreens.
Many perennials have the relatively short flowering period, but often this is made up for by the beauty of their flowers and the quantity produced. Such as the tall varieties of delphinium, are real garden aristocrats.
Every few years perennials should be lifted and divided, this should be done in winter or early spring.
The Best Easy-Care Perennial Flowers
Some of the showiest of garden plants are perennials, they add the distinctive charm to gardens large or small. Many have extended the flowering period, if chosen with the care they will complement trees and shrubs and provide a colorful display year round. Whether plants are required for sun or shade, there are perennials suited for the situation.
The following perennials I have grown and recommend with enthusiasm.
Delphinium, Dahlias, Agapanthus, Chrysanthemums, Primulas Aster or Michaelmas Daisy, Peonies, Red Hot Poker.
Hope your garden will be blooming as the seasons go by, as even in the winter you can have shrubs flowering.
How to Plant Perennial Gardens
Have you a garden?
Many Delphinium species are cultivated as garden plants also for flower arrangements, with numerous cultivars available. Perennial hybrid delphiniums bear spikes of white, pink, and blue flowers sometimes rising 2 in height while others produce flower spikes of 1 meter or less.
Flower spikes require staking in windy areas. The soil for delphiniums must be rich, free draining and well limed.
With saying this we have plants like these that grow everywhere on the hillsides on poor land, we call them foxgloves, they are poisonous to animals.
Delphiniums displayed at the flower show
Dahlias is a genus of bushy, tuberous, herbaceous perennial, there are at least 36 species of dahlias, they make a striking summer autumn bedding display with colors ranging from white and cream to yellow, orange, pink, crimson and purple. These plants appreciate organic manure in the soil and this should be dug in well before planting out, they thrive in sunny open areas, in well-drained soil. When the plants have made five or six good leaves pinch out the tip to encourage shoots from the axis which will ultimately flower.
Tubers are usually lifted after flowering and stored to dry, I have lost many beautiful plants by not lifting them and the rot in the wet cold winter soil. When replanting the tubers, make sure the danger of frosts is over, as their new shoots will die. A sunny sheltered spot is best.
When they have had their first flowers, I cut the dead flowers off and the second growth of flowers will appear in a very short time, extending their time of beauty.
In recent years I have not cut the dead flowers off, just let them go to seed and they will feed the birds for a while in the early winter.
Dahlia - Dahlstar SunsetPink.
Agapanthus is a genus of herbaceous perennials that mostly bloom in summer. The leaves are basal and curved, linear, and up to 60 cm (24 in) long, they, are arranged in two rows. The inflorescence is a pseudo-umbel subtended by two large bracts at the apex of a long, erect shape, up to 2 m (6.6 ft) tall.
They have funnel-shaped flowers, in hues of blue to purple, shading to white.
Some hybrids and cultivars have colors not found in wild plants. The ovary is superior. The style is hollow. Bulbs should be placed deeper in the soil and mulched well in the fall. Agapanthus can be propagated by dividing the bulbs or by seeds. The seeds of most varieties are fertile and very easy to grow.
In some regions, one or more species of Agapanthus are invasive plant species.
In New Zealand Agapanthus praecox is classed as an "environmental weed" and calls to have it added to the National Pest Plant Accord have encountered opposition from gardeners.
Agapanthus in pre-bloom stage
Around 1996 a company used genetic manipulation to extract certain genes from petunia and snapdragon flowers to produce a blue-mauve carnation, which was commercialized as Moondust. In 1998 a violet carnation called Moonshadow was commercialized. As of 2004 three additional blue-violet/purple varieties have been commercialized. Most carnations are perennials.
Do not manure the soil too heavily as this encourages vegetative growth rather than flowering.
Heavy soils can be improved for carnation growing by the addition of lime and sand.
Carnations respond well to mulching producing better blooms in hot dry weather.
If planted in a green house with the careful attention they can be persuaded to flower all the year round in warmer districts.
How to Stake Tall Perennials
Modern chrysanthemums are more showier than their wild relatives. The flowers occur in various forms and can be daisy-like decorative pompons or buttons. In addition to the traditional yellow, other colors are available, such as white, purple, and red.
Chrysanthemums are not fussy about soil type, but they prefer a well dug, free draining soil with a high humus content, in a sunny open position. If you intend to cut your chrysanthemums to use inside you should pinch off the main shoots once or twice during the growing season to foster a bushy growth habit. Because chrysanthemums are not strong plants, they need to be staked carefully and new growth tied regularly to the stake.
Perennial primulas bloom mostly during the spring; their flowers can be purple, yellow, red, pink, or white, generally, they prefer filtered sunlight. Many species are adapted to alpine climates. Some flowering forms of (cultivated) Primula are commonly known as polyanthus (P. elatior hybrids) as opposite to primrose (P. vulgaris hybrids).
Polyanthus prefer a moist shady position, they are gross feeders and the bloom spikes will be greatly improved if animal manure is worked between the plants in spring, I find blood and bone good also, sprinkled around the roots. Polyanthus can be propagated by division after flowering or by seed sown in late spring, one year to flower the following season.
Aster, or Michaelmas Daisy?
Asters are valued in the garden for the fact that they provide late summer and autumn color in shades of blue, pink and white. Spring is the best time to divide these plants into rooted pieces, this is necessary if fine flowers are to be produced year after year.
There are miniature forms of the Michaelmas Daisy which grow to no more than 30 cm,(12 ins) and these make attractive borders or rock garden plants. They require a rich soil to produce their best display of flowers.
Peony or Paeony is a name for plants in the genus Paeonia, the only genus in the flowering plant family Paeoniaceae. Boundaries between species are not clear and estimates of the number of species range from 25 to 40, most are herbaceous perennial plants 1.5 - 5 feet (0.5 - 1.5 meters) tall, but some resemble trees up to 5 - 10 feet (1.5 - 3 meters) tall.
From the Northern Hemisphere, preferring cooler climates. General opinion seems to consider peonies difficult to grow. Any good garden soil, however, can grow and flower peonies provided it is dug over very deeply and well enriched with decayed animal manure. Good drainage is the key factor.
Peonies are gross feeders and every year as soon as the flowers have finished they should be heavily top dressed. They should not be manured in winter and spring when the new growths are appearing as they may be affected by a fungus disease (Botrytis paeonies) which is sometimes called bud rot or bud blast. Coper-base sprays will control this disorder.
They have compound, deeply lobed leaves, and large, often fragrant flowers, ranging from red to white or yellow, in late spring and early summer, flowers do not appear in the first season.
Peonies can be classified by both plant growth habit and by flower type.
Plant growth types are Herbaceous (Bush), Tree, and Intersectional (Itoh).
Herbaceous peonies die back in winter and regrow in spring, while tree peonies lose their leaves in the winter but leave woody stems which shoot new growth in the spring.
Propagation, if required, is by root division in winter, but it is preferable to leave this slow grower undisturbed.
What is your favorite perennial plant for display in your garden?
© 2015 Elsie Hagley