They last for years, the flowerings are profuse and you can let them go to seed so you’ll get more of the same seasonal glory for no extra outlay. Turn your patch into a rolling tapestry with different textures and colours. There’s constant change in your garden – and even more change in your hip pocket!
What are perennials?
Perennials are usually small, cold-hardy plants that die down or are cut back in winter to come back to life again in spring, usually bigger and better than before as they gain strength with maturity.
You can plant a range of perennials to flower in spring, summer and/or autumn so you get colour for most of the year.
Many perennials have vigorous growth so benefit from being lifted from the soil in autumn, divided and replanted, which means more plants at no cost.
How to care for perennials
Most blooming perennial flowers require full sun.
When choosing which perennials you want to plant, make sure you check your climate zone and match plants that go well with where you live. Get the key to climate zones here.
Perennials require garden soil is well-prepared and drains well.
A perennial garden does not require as much water as a vegetable garden, but this depends on where you live.
While some perennials are heavy feeders, most don't need much at all.
Garden design tips: perennials
- Before you start, find out what types of plants grow best in your area.
- Most flowering plants require a sunny aspect.
- Aim for a naturalistic look where plants spill over gravel paths.
- Make your beds flexible and casual – keep it spontaneous.
- Plant so you mingle spring, summer and autumn flowerings.
- Mass plant for a dynamic impact.
- Include tall ornamental grasses as a backdrop, as they add movement.
- Resist dead-heading as flowers fade – seed heads on many perennials have a unique beauty.
Types of perennials
Steel blue globe thistle (Echinops ‘Veitch’s Blue’)
The bold, ornamental steel-blue globe thistle keeps reblooming from December to early autumn, then you can showcase them through winter as a dried flower.
Eupatorium ‘Flore Plena, Caryopteris ‘Heavenly Blue’, Helenium ‘Crimson Beauty’ and fluffy lamb’s ears (Stachys ‘Big Ears’)
From top to bottom, mix textures and colours to create a quiet clamour, from Eupatorium ‘Flore Plena’ with its caps of abundant pink or purple flowers to Caryopteris ‘Heavenly Blue’, Helenium ‘Crimson Beauty’ and
big, fluffy lamb’s ears (Stachys ‘Big Ears’).
Jerusalem sage (Phlomis russeliana)
the soft butter yellow flowers of Jerusalem sage have faded, but their seed heads look striking against the noble, silver-leafed dusty miller.
Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’
A must for any autumn garden!
You’ll get months and months of summer-autumn happiness with Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’.
Achillea ‘Antique Parchment’
Stunning from go to whoa, the flowers of Achillea ‘Antique Parchment’ start off salmony, fade to apricot and finish looking like a sandy parchment.
Reed feather grass (Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’)
Don’t forget to put in ornamental grasses. Reed feather grass (Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’) is a tall, upright grass that adds strong vertical lines to your garden and enhances your lower- growing flowering shrubs.
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