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Home Gardening With Perennials
Gardening With Perennials PDF Print E-mail

A perennial will last for at least two seasons of growth and often much longer. However, compared to annuals, they have a shorter season of bloom because they need to store their energy to get them through the winter (you and I would do the same thing if we had to spend our winter in the cold).

Technically, perennials include trees, shrubs and even cacti and seaweeds. But when gardeners refer to perennials, they usually mean flowering plants that die back to the ground after they bloom or at the end of the gardening season and sprout again the following spring. The term used for these plants is ‘herbaceous perennials’.

The major benefits of perennials are:

  • durability (bearded iris and peonies may last for decades)
  • more delicate and subtle beauty than annuals

The durability of a perennial border allows you to refine it over time, adding and rearranging plants until you achieve the desired gardening effect.

Don't be fooled into thinking that because perennials don’t need yearly replacement, they require less gardening work than annual flowers. The fact is, to keep a perennial border looking neat requires constant attention:

  • plants that outgrow their space must be divided
  • failing plants must be replaced
  • you’ll still need to water, weed, deadhead (remove fading blooms) and feed them.

Perennials can be planted and grown from:

  • seed (requires patience as most do not blossom until the second season)
  • containers
  • dividing existing perennials (one good, mature, plant can be separated into two or three)


Home Garden Tip: Perennials can provide you with a more sophisticated gardening mood since they tend to have a more subtle beauty than annuals. Because their bloom passes in and out more rapidly than annuals, you’ll need to weave together many different species to obtain a lasting floral display.

This diversity creates a picture that evolves with the seasons and is new and different every day.

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