July 18, 2014
Cultivating a garden that provides color and interest from spring through autumn is the goal of most gardeners. However, many homeowners who want to achieve this kind of garden don’t have the time or experience to choose, plant and nourish annual flowers every year. For these kinds of gardeners, and even for more experienced gardeners, perennials are the answer. Plants that return year after year offer a number of benefits to the home gardener.
Backbone of the garden
Many expert gardeners consider perennials the backbone of the garden for good reason. Perennials come back year after year, negating the need for planting every spring or summer. While they often aren’t as showy as some of the more exotic annuals you might consider planting, perennials are dependable. These flowers and plants will grow, thrive and bloom under conditions that could quite possibly kill many annual flowers. Some perennials can almost be completely neglected and still perform well. If you’re a gardener who doesn’t have a lot of time to give to caring for your plants or feel that you kill anything you plant, perennial plants are the answer for you.
Prolonged display of color
Perennial beds offer the distinct advantage of extending your landscape’s color and interest throughout the growing season. Iris and daylilies, for example, typically start off a growing season with color but wilt as summer’s heat builds. As these perennials die back, garden flowers like coreopsis and coneflowers or salvia can take their place in the spotlight of your garden. Once these hot-weather perennials have reached their limit, it’s time for fall-blooming perennials to take center stage. Chrysanthemums are the best known, but less familiar perennials like pineapple salvia and blazing star can extend the impact of your garden for weeks.
Less care and fewer problems
Perennials typically require less care than annual flowers. One of the biggest benefits of using these plants in your yard is the minimal water they require. Unlike annuals planted every year, perennials develop deeper root systems that don’t need so much moisture. Experts also note that perennials usually have fewer pest problems. In fact, some perennials, most notably herbs that bloom, repel pests.
In addition to requiring low-maintenance care, perennials play an important role in the design of your garden. If you have a fence, wall or gate at the rear of your garden, you don’t want to have to trample over existing plantings to put in annuals every year to highlight the feature. Perennials are an excellent option for this type of space. With the variety of height, shape and colors available in perennials, you can find the right kind of flower to give the area the visual impact you’re seeking.
How to choose the right perennials
While perennials are often low-maintenance plants, they do have some of the same requirements annual flowers have. Some perennials thrive in full sun, while others prefer partial shade. The type of soil they’ll be planted in is important too. With research, you can find perennials that will grow well in your yard and offer months of exciting visual interest.
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