The use of perennials in gardens and some simple maintenance tips

Posted On 14 Feb 2014
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plant combosCHICAGO, the USA: The word perennial is derived from the Latin word “per”, which means “through”, and the word “annus” meaning “year”. Perennial plants live for more than a couple of years compared to plants that are short-lived like the annuals and biennials. Perennials are plants that have little of no woody growth like the trees and shrubs.

For those perennial plants, especially the small flowering ones, which grow and bloom in spring and summer, will die when autumn and winter comes, but they return or grow back from the root-stock when springs come back again.

As soon as the perennials start to bloom every year, you will see how pretty your garden looks. One thing that is the most obvious benefit for gardeners when growing perennials is that they do not require to be replanted on a yearly basis.

Growing perennial plants will save the gardener their time and efforts and they grow bigger and fuller as they get more beautiful as they age. Perennials will give the garden a structure and accent which helps define the garden’s theme and character. The roots of perennial plants grow deeper therefore it helps in preventing the soil to be washed away. Perennials help in minimizing the weeds from growing because the deep roots will seep through the needed nutrients from the soil. So there is not much need for chemical fertilizers and weed killers. Perennials don’t need much attention and can last through the weather.

There are different perennial planting styles especially if you have herbaceous perennials. Try to incorporate woody plants, shrubs and trees to serve as a backdrop for your perennial plants or as a filler to bring more volume in the garden. You can use them as a border of your garden bed. In your perennial garden, appearance is everything and depends upon the plant shapes and how it is arranged and also with their colors. The things you need to consider when arranging them are its width, spacing, height, and drifts (a grouping of 5 or more same variety plants will display drifts of the same or repeating colors and textured) .

Picking out which type or perennials to plant depends on our choices. Mostly, some is not that deliberate on their choices. The lifespan of the perennials would depend on their location and the type of soil it was planted on. Knowing the type of zone you are in (location), altitude, exposure to wind or breeze, soil, season/climate will dictate the type of perennials that will survive in the area especially when winter arrives. Planting perennials according to color also depends on you if you want to set a goal in finding balance and the integration on contrast in your garden.

Time for perennials to bloom varies. So if you want to have an all-season color, pick plants that have varying bloom season. Choosing between seedlings vs mature perennials (pot-grown and field-grown). If you want to fill your garden out sooner and have them blooming, then it is advisable to buy mature plants. You can buy an already mature perennials in a plant shop or plant nursery (note that not all plants in a plant nursery are sold as seedlings).

Having pot-grown perennials can easily be transplanted from spring season to fall and will not suffer a lot of shock. Do not choose an invasive plant such as bamboo, plume poppy, and some others. Some would label invasive plants as “vigorous”, sort of a euphemism of the word invasive. This would require fertilizers that has a low nitrogen, but high in phosphorous (5-10-5). They don’t require much feeding but try to apply the correct type of fertilizer that your perennial plants need. Having perennials does not require much watering compared to the vegetable garden.

You can use mulch especially to those plants that are sparsely planted as they will benefit more on the mulch. Other than that, having a garden that is heavily planted with perennials will prevent weeds from growing. If you want a more professional look, create a neat edge between your lawn and the flower bed. Supports or staking. There are some perennials that would need further support especially when they start to bloom or for the shorter plants because they can greatly benefit from it. However, try to blend or hide your support as much as possible.

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