Whether your landscaping style is a naturalistic cottage garden or a formal, sophisticated spread, there’s a place in every garden for perennials.
A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant that lives for more than two years. The term is often used to differentiate a plant from shorter-lived annuals and biennials. The term is also widely used to distinguish plants with little or no woody growth from trees and shrubs, which are also technically perennials.
Perennials live for several years. They bloom, crop and die back over the course of a year, but the rootstock remains and it is from this, rather than a new seed, that the next year’s flowers and crops come. Unlike annuals, perennials come back for years and provide additional variety and interest to your garden, even when not in bloom.
Perennials, especially small flowering plants, that grow and bloom over the spring and summer, die back every autumn and winter, and then return in the spring from their root stock, are known as herbaceous perennials. However, depending on the rigors of local climate, a plant that is a perennial in its native habitat, or in a milder garden, may be treated by a gardener as an annual and planted out every year, from seed, from cuttings or from divisions. Tomato vines, for example, live several years in their natural tropical/subtropical habitat but are grown as annuals in temperate regions because they don’t survive the winter.
Spring and Fall are the best times of the year to install perennials in your yard, but as long as you water them vigilantly on hot days, you can really add perennials to your yard any time you can work the soil.
Most perennials bloom for a 2 – 3-week period. Try to incorporate some that bloom at different times of the year so you have a continual bloom cycle. Try to look for perennials with interesting foliage or interesting growth habits. Some people install perennials just for their foliage!
If you’re new to the world of gardening with perennials, our plant experts will be happy to help you find the perfect perennials for the look you want. First, get to know the growing conditions of your site — how much sunshine and moisture each area gets, whether there are deer or other critters around, and how much room you have to fill. Then come on in and see what catches your fancy — our selection is as varied as the realm of perennials itself.