What are Perennials?
Perennials are those flowers that return reliably year after year—whereas annuals are those one-season wonders that add color and need to be replaced every spring. It’s the perennials which form the backbone of a garden, whereas annual are planted for spots of color. Think of perennials as the foundation.
An advantage of perennials is that they require minimum maintenance. After establishment, most perennials require minimum pesticides or pruning. They just need well-drained soil that’s amended with compost or organic matter. However, there are literally thousands of varieties of perennials, and while some are indeed as easy as pie to grow, others require at least as much attention as annuals. So, if an easy garden is what you seek, you should take care to choose the right perennials.
- False indigo
- Blazing star
- Corydalis plants
- Boltonia flowers
- Anise hyssop
- Meadow rue
- Pasque flower
- Creeping Phlox
- Butterfly bush
- German bearded iris
- Bush clematis
- Hardy geranium
- Bear’s Breeches
- Tatarian Aster
- Coral bells
- Russell Blue Lupine
False indigo is a large, upright perennial with leaves that are grey-green and beautiful long racemes of indigo-blue flowers that appear in April through June. The pea-like flowers are followed by black seed pods that can be left on the plant for winter interest. With its stately shape, false indigo makes a good architectural statement in the garden even after the flowers have faded.
The blazing star is a perennial with clumps of feathery purple or white flowers on long stalks that bloom in summer, usually in July to August. The flowers bloom from top to bottom along the stalks. It has grass-like leaves. The plant grows 2 to 4 feet tall.
Corydalis are low growing biennials or tuberous perennials with slender stems and small clumps of lush-green foliage. Tubular flowers form showy clustered sprays that neatly decorate the foliage throughout spring. They are best planted in flower beds and borders within cottage, informal and wildflower gardens. Corydalis grow to an approximate height of 2-4 feet and spread of 15-50cm dependant on variety.
Veronica, also called Speedwell, is a carefree and easy-to-grow perennial with long spikes of small petals in purple, blue, pink, or white. Sizes and forms range from creeping groundcovers a few inches high to upright flower spikes reaching several feet tall. Low growers are suited for containers, border edging and rock gardens, while taller veronicas make good cut flowers and combine well with other plants in beds and borders. Groundcovers tend to bloom in spring, while spiky forms produce flowers during the summer.
Also Read: Different Types of White Flowers
The common name “anemone” is a collective label used for a number of different species in the Anemone genus of plants. Anemones are usually planted from bulb-like corms or bare roots in the fall or in the late winter or early spring. They are fast-growing plants that will flower in their first season. Life expectancy depends on species; some are relatively short-lived while others can live for decades.
Delphinium ‘Purple Passion’ is a tall herbaceous perennial with sturdy flower spikes, densely packed with deep purple florets adorned with a purple and white striped bee. Blooming for weeks from early summer to early fall, it adds a wonderful architectural presence to the garden and draws the attention from quite a distance. Rising from a mound of divided, dark green foliage, this Delphinium has a neat compact habit. It is also cold hardy, as well as more tolerant of heat and humidity.
Boltonias are vigorous perennials grown for their sprays of white, lilac, or purplish-pink rays, and yellow disc flowers, which appear above clean, gray-green foliage. Their vigorous nature makes them suitable for naturalizing. They are also great in the border (and for cutting), but will benefit from frequent dividing to keep in bounds, and may be cut back in late spring for more compact plants.
Anise hyssop is a perennial herb with short purple flowering spikes and aromatic green leaves with aniseed scent. Also called the ‘blue giant hyssop,’ the anise hyssop plant is an excellent small bushy shrub to add color and aroma to garden borders, herb gardens, foundation plantings, or mixed beds. Anise hyssop purple flowers are also ideal for floral arrangements.
Chrysanthemum are a member of the Compositae family and are available in a wide range of brilliant colors, shapes and sizes. Chrysanthemum flowers look like they have a multitude of petals, but each individual petal is actually a small floret. There are two different types of florets: ray and disc florets. These perennial plants are either hardy or half-hardy and can be grown in containers, as house plants or in a border – the trick is to buy the right chrysanthemum for the job.
Coneflower’s daisy-like booms are actually made up of several small flowers, with petals that are sterile to lure insects toward the many fertile flowers in the central disk or cone. Purple coneflower, is by far the most popular variety of coneflower. It has a fibrous root system, rather than the long taproot and woody crown found in other native species, making it more adaptable to garden conditions, and more forgiving of dividing and transplanting.
Also Read: Different Types of Black Eyed Susan Flowers
Also known as stonecrop, most sedums are hardy, drought-tolerant succulents with thick, fleshy leaves that vary in shades. Plus, they typically have tiny, star-shaped flowers that bloom late in the growing season. The best time to plant sedum is in the spring after the danger of frost has passed but before summer heat arrives. Sedum generally has a moderate growth rate, but this can vary by species and variety.
Catmint is the common name for Nepeta, an aromatic perennial plant frequently grown in herb gardens. Drought-tolerant and deer-resistant, the catmint plant is easy to grow and maintain. This herbaceous perennial produces long-blooming flowers that start to blossom in late spring and last through the summer. In addition to multicolored blossoms, the catmint plant has silvery green leaves with a potent aroma.
Meadow Rue is favored for its lacy, refined, bluish-green foliage and its airy open clusters of pendulous, lavender flowers with conspicuous soft-yellow centers and gorgeous sturdy purple stems. Adding elegant vertical lines to the garden and clouds of rosy-lavender blooms, it blooms later than other Meadow Rues, from mid to late summer. Normally planted in the spring as potted nursery plants, or in the fall if sowing seeds directly in the garden, meadow rue is relatively slow-growing for a wildflower, taking as much as three years to develop into a mature flowering plant.
Lavender is the name given to several species of herbaceous, perennial shrubs in the genus Lavandula which are grown as ornamental plants or for essential oil. Lavender plants are small, branching and spreading shrubs with grey-green leaves and long flowering shoots. Lavender may also be referred to as true lavender, medical lavender, smelling lavender, thin-leaved lavender or English lavender.
The pasque flower is a low-growing, herbaceous perennial that stands about 8 to 12 inches tall and forms a clump that spreads over time. Its blooms precede most of its foliage in spring. A single plant may thrust over 30 blossoms over a couple of months! The attractive bell-shaped blossoms, in shades of blues and purples, contrast beautifully with the luminous boss of golden yellow stamens. They are followed by equally ornamental, plume-like seedheads (resembling those of clematis) in fluffy spherical clusters. Its ferny, silky foliage remains attractive throughout the growing season.
Creeping Phlox is a real beauty, with a similar garden performance as the popular ‘Blue Emerald’ but in a darker purple hue. True purple flowers cover the vigorously spreading foliage in late spring. A must-have groundcover for your spring garden. Creeping phlox is a low-growing species which forms a carpet-like mat no taller than 6 inches. This popular little perennial is best utilized in rocky areas, on slopes, and in flower borders.
Commonly called hardy or wild ageratum, mistflowers are botanically named Conoclinium coelestinum and classified as a wildflower. It is a perennial known for its purplish-blue clusters of fuzzy flowers. These eye-catching blooms appear on purple-red stems adorned with green, triangular, toothed leaves. The flowers lack rays and have a fuzzy, airy appearance thanks to their long stamens. This is a fast-spreading perennial and can become invasive if left unchecked.1 The abundance of nectar produced by the flowers attracts many bees and butterflies.
Also Read: Popular Florida Flowers
Allium, also known as flowering onion, is a spectacular and unusual looking flowering bulb that adds interest to any garden. Allium plants produce big, round, softball-sized flowers in shades of purple. They last best in sunny but sheltered spots where the wind is less likely to blow the flowers apart. In these conditions, they bloom in early summer and tend to last for about three weeks. Many alliums have basal leaves that commonly wither away from the tips downward before or while the plants flower, but some species have persistent foliage. Plants produce from one to 12 leaves, most species having linear, channeled or flat leaf blades.
Vervain is a slender perennial plant with small, pale lilac flowers borne on leafless spikes. It’s used throughout the world as an herbal remedy because of the multiple beneficial compounds it contains. The leaves are usually opposite, simple, and in many species hairy, often densely so. The flowers are small, with five petals, and borne in dense spikes. Typically some shade of blue, they may also be white, pink, or purple, especially in cultivars.
A deciduous shrub that grows up to 15 feet tall at maturity, the plant exhibits arching branches with showy flower spikes. The plant can grow to a mature size in less than 3 years. Dense 6 to 12 inch clusters of flowers are typically deep purple with orange centers. Flowers bloom throughout the summer into fall. The leaves of the plant are deep green. Stems of a mature shrub exhibit peeling, dark gray-brown bark. The highly fragrant flowers attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds to the garden.
German bearded iris is a popular, old fashioned flowering plant with stems that flowers grow on are sturdy and rarely need staking. The showy flowers have two parts, the upright part of the growing German iris is called a standard and the draping part is a fall, containing the beard. Many are multi-colored, but solid-color German iris plants are the oldest types. Foliage is upright and sword-like. Bearded iris makes a great addition to a cutting garden, mass planted in a naturalized area or woodland garden, in the middle of a border, or alongside a walkway or patio. They are quite drought tolerant and very resistant to browsing by deer.
Clematis, the “Queen of the Vines,” may be best known for its large-flowering, purple, star-shape blossoms on twining vines. With many types of shapes and colors, these plants dress up any kind of structure they climb. Bloom time ranges from late spring to fall, depending on the type and variety. With proper planning, it’s possible to have clematis blooms throughout the growing season. You can even plant these vigorous vines alongside woody plants like roses, trees, or shrubs to act as a living trellis.
There is a great deal of variety in the Geranium genus, but most of the commonly grown species are low growing, dense, carpet-like plants with flower stalks that poke and weave through neighboring plants. The flowers float on top of the plant in shades of white, pink, magenta, purples, and blues. The flowers are small—around one inch—and cupped-shaped, attracting plenty of butterflies and bees.
Monkshood is a tall herbaceous perennial flower that blooms late in the summer and fall and handles partial shade very well. It gets its common name from its resemblance to the cowl on a monk’s habit. A moderately slow-growing flower, monkshood features smooth palmate leaves with deep lobes and racemes of azure blue or white flowers on sturdy, unbranched stems.The flowers on monkshood begin to emerge in midsummer and feature five sepals—the top sepal curves downward, giving the flower its hood-like appearance, while the actual petals are hidden inside the hood. When planted from seeds, it can take two years or more for plants to achieve flowering maturity.
Breeches are large perennial plants with glossy green leaves and tall spikes of flowers. They are always touted as architectural plants, and their leaves are often used as a motif in moldings, reliefs, and even jewelry. Many gardeners grow them for their foliage alone, although the flowers are quite nice themselves. It’s showy spikes of purple-white flowers that resemble snapdragons bring a pop of color to shady spots and make attractive additions to cut-flower bouquets.
Tatarian aster is a herbaceous perennial wildflower in the sunflower family.This is a tall species. Its lower leaves are long and will form a neat clump around the tall, branching flower stems. The blooms are rich purple-pink with yellow centres and are quite delicate. The Aster’s stems are very sturdy and unless the plants have been excessively fertilized, they do not need staking. Although the traditional thought would be to place the plant at the back of the border due to the height, the plants also look great when worked in among grasses.
Heuchera (Coral Bells) is a genus of semi-evergreen perennials that are popular for their tidy mounds of colorful foliage, often purple of bronze tinted, and their long, wands of tiny bell-shaped flowers appearing in spring until early summer. Fabulous as ground cover, Heucheras are indispensable elements of the shade garden. Coral bells are best planted in late fall or early spring and will grow at a moderate pace, making them a great option for woodlands, rock gardens, containers, borders, and ground covers.
Russell Blue Lupine
Russell Blue Lupine is an herbaceous perennial with a rigidly upright and towering form. It features bold spikes of blue pea-like flowers rising above the foliage from late spring to early summer. The flowers are excellent for cutting. Its palmate leaves remain emerald green in color throughout the season. Russell Blue Lupine will grow to be about 24 inches tall at maturity extending to 3 feet tall with the flowers, with a spread of 16 inches.