Perennials

Plants that grow and persist for two or more growing seasons

Perennials, if selected and planted properly, are easy to grow and will liven and brighten up any landscape.  For best results, have a planting plan ready if you want to grow many varieties.

SOIL PREPARATION

  • Most perennials should be planted and transplanted in spring.   First, select a site that has good drainage and provides the amount of sun or shade needed, which will depend on the varieties you have selected.
  • Prepare a perennial bed by working up the soil at least 6″ deep and adding enough ordinary good soil to raise the bed at least 4″ above the original ground level.  The raised bed provides good drainage as perennials with “wet feet” will die in winter.
  • Next, apply a 2-3″ layer of Sweet Peet and work deeply (at least 6″) into soil

PLANTING

  • Plant and space perennials according to your plan.  If you buy potted plants, loosen the root system a little of the plant if it appears pot bound.
  • Mulch with about 1″ of bark mulch or Sweet Peet, taking care to keep mulch away from crown of plant.
  • Finally, water in well and only when needed.  After 3-4 weeks, your plants should become established.  Additional fertilizer may be needed every 3-4 weeks if the plants appear sluggish.  Liquid fertilizer applicators that attach on the end of the hose are a fast, easy way to fertilize plants.
  • Removing old flowers and old flower stalks such as on Gaillardias and Delphiniums will mean more abundant flowers.

FERTILIZING

After 3-4 weeks, your plants should become established.  Additional fertilizer may be needed every 3-4 weeks if the plants appear sluggish.  A granular fertilizer such as Plant-tone works well to fertilize your plants and is naturally organic.  Plant-tone will need to be applied early spring and early summer.

WINTER PROTECTION

  • A well-drained soil is a must.
  • Pine boughs or a light covering of clean, weed-free straw applied in late fall will keep the plants from freezing and thawing.  Remove the coverings in early April.

OTHER USES

Perennials don’t have to be enjoyed in a garden, although blooms all spring through fall are possible with the proper arrangements.  Borders of Hosta and Shasta Daisies or small groups of plants will brighten up the yard.Many species are good for fresh or dried flower arrangements.

PERENNIAL SELECTIONS

American Classics
These are the perennials that continue to impress year after year:

Astilbe, False Spirea
Coreopsis, Tickseed
Dianthus , Pinks
Dicentra, Bleeding Heart
Echinacea, Coneflower
Geranium, Cranesbill
Hemerocallis, Daylily
Heuchera, Coral Bells
Hosta
Iris 
Lamium, Spotted Dead Nettle
Lavandula, Lavender
Leucanthemum, Shasta Daisy
Nepeta, Catmint
Ornamental Grasses
Perovskia, Russain Sage
Phlox paniculata, Garden Phlox
Phlox subulata, Creeping Phlox
RudbeckiaBlack-Eyed Susan
Salvia, Meadow Sage
Sedum, Stonecrop
Veronica, Speedwell

PERENNIALS BY BLOOM SEASON

PERENNIALS FOR SPRING BLOOM

Ajuga, Anemone, Aquilegia, Armeria, Aubretia, Aurinia, Baptisia, Bergenia, Brunnera, Campanula, Carex, Convallaria, Coreopsis, Corydalis, Dicentra, Epimedium, Euphorbia, Geranium, Helleborus, Heuchera, Iberis, Iris, Lamium, Myosotis, Paeonia, Papaver, Phlox subulata, Polygonatum, Primula, Pulmonaria, Tiarella, Vinca and Viola.

PERENNIALS FOR SUMMER BLOOM

Achillea, Aconitum, Alcea, Alchemilla, Anthemis, Aruncus, Asclepias, Astilbe, Buddleia, Campanula, Chelone, Clematis, Coreopsis, Crocosmia, Delphinium, Dianthus, Digitalis, Echinacea, Gaillardia, Gaura, Geranium, Gypsophila, Heliopsis, Hemerocallis, Heuchera, Hibiscus, Hosta, Iris, Lavandula, Leucanthemum, Liatris, Ligularia, Lobelia, Lupinus, Lysimachia, Malva, Monarda, Nepeta, Oenothera, Ornamental Grass, Paeonia, Penstemon, Perovskia, Phlox paniculata, Platycodon, Polemonium, Rudbeckia, Salvia, Scabiosa, Sedum, Stokesia, Tanacetum, Thalictrum, Thymus, Tradescantia, Verbascum, Veronica and Yucca.

PERENNIALS FOR FALL BLOOM

Ampelopsis, Amsonia, Artemisia, Aster, Belamcanda, Bergenia, Caryopteris, Ceratostigma, Clematis paniculata or ternifolia, Cimicifuga, Garden Mum, Eupatorium, Japanese Anemone, Liriope, Ornamental Grass, Polygonum, Stachys, Tiarella, Tricyrtis and upright Sedum.

PERENNIALS FOR COLORFUL FOLIAGE

Ajuga, Artemisia, Bergenia, Ceratostigma, Cimicifuga, Eupatorium, Ferns, Heuchera, Hosta, Liriope, Ornamental Grass,  Sempervivum, Stachys, Tiarella and upright Sedum.

Perennial Plant Association Plant of the Year Winners:

1991  Heuchera m ‘Palace Purple’
1992  Coreopsis ‘Moonbeam’
1993  Veronica ‘Sunny Border Blue’
1994  Astilbe s. ‘Sprite’
1995  Perovskia atriplicifolia
1996  Penstemon d. ‘Husker Red’
1997  Salvia ‘May Night’
1998  Echinacea p. ‘Magnus’
1999  Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’
2000  Scabiosa ‘Butterfly Blue’
2001  Calamagrostis a. ‘Karl Foerster’
2002  Phlox p. ‘David’
2003  Leucanthemum ‘Becky’
2004  Athyrium niponicum ‘Pictum’
2005  Helleborus x hybridus
2006  Dianthus g. ‘Firewitch’
2007  Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’
2008  Geranium ‘Rozanne’
2009 Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’
2010 Baptisia australis
2011 Amsonia hubrichtii
2012 Brunnera mac. ‘Jack Frost’
2013 Polygonatum odoratum ‘Variegatum’
2014 Panicum virgatum ‘Northwind’
2015 Geranium x cant. ‘Biokovo’
2016 Anemone x hybrida ‘Honorine Jobert’
2017 Asclepias tuberosa

SHOWY PERENNIALS

Every year these showy plants provide spectacular flowers.  They are a must for any garden!

Achillea, Yarrow
Aconitum, Monkshood
Adenophora, Lady Bells
Agastache, Giant Hyssop
Anemone, Japanese Anemone
Aquilegia, Columbine
Arenaria montana, Sandwort
Armeria, Thrift
Aruncus, Goat’s Beard
Asclepias tuberosaButterfly Weed
Aster, Hardy Aster
Astilbe, False Spirea
Aurinia saxatilis, Basket of Gold
Campanula, Bellflower
Catananche caerulea, Cupid’s Dart
Centranthus ruber, Red Valerian
Cerastium tomentosum, Snow in Summer
Convallaria majalis, Lily of the Valley
Coreopsis, Coreopsis
Delphinium, Larkspur
Dianthus, Pinks
Dicentra, Bleeding Heart
Dictamnus albus, Gas Plant
Digitalis, Foxglove
Echinacea purpurea, Coneflower
Echinops, Globe Thistle
Erigeron, Fleabane
Erodium, Cranesbill
Euphorbia, Cushion Spurge
Gaillardia, Blanket Flower
Geranium, Cranesbill
Gypsophila, Baby’s Breath
Helianthus, Sunflower
Heliopsis helianthoides, Ox-Eye
Helleborus, Hellebore
Hemerocallis, Daylily
Heuchera, Coral Bells
Hibiscus moscheutosRose Mallow
Iris germanica, German Iris
Iris sibirica, Siberian Iris
Kniphofia uvaria, Red Hot Poker
Lavandula, Lavender
Liatris, Gayfeather
Limonium, Sea Lavender
Lobelia cardinalis, Cardinal Flower
Lupinus, Lupine
Lychnis chalcedonica, Maltese Cross
Malva, Mallow
Monarda, Bee Balm
Oenothera, Evening Primrose
Osteospermum, African Daisy
Paeonia, Peony
Papaver orientale, Oriental Poppy
Perovskia, Russian Sage
Platycodon, Balloon Flower
Potentilla, Cinquefoil
Pulmonaria, Lungwort
Rudbeckia, Black-Eyed-Susan
Salvia, Meadow Sage
Scabiosa, Pincushion Flower
Sidalcea, Checkerbloom
Stokesia laevis, Stoke’s Aster
Teucrium chamaedrys, Germander
Thalictrum, Meadow Rue
Thymus, Thyme
Tradescantia, Spiderwort
Trollius, Globeflower
Verbascum, Mullein
Veronica, Speedwell
Veronicastrum, Culver’s Root
Viola, Violet/Pansy

LONG-BLOOMING PERENNIALS

Perennials give the garden spectacular color and attractive foliage year after year.  But the shortened bloom times of most perennials can sometimes drive any gardener to spend hours at the garden center.  But, don’t fret,  there are some perennials out there that bloom for up to 10 weeks or longer!

Here is a listing of our favorite long-blooming perennials:

Achillea, Yarrow
Adenophora,  Lilyleaf Ladybell
Alcea, Hollyhocks
Aster, Hardy Aster
Campanula, Bellflower/Harebell
Chrysanthemum, Garden Mum
Coreopsis, Tickseed
Corydalis, Corydalis
Delphinium, Larkspur (if cut back)
Dianthus, Pinks
Dicentra, Bleeding Heart (certain varieties)
Echinacea, Coneflower
Gaillardia, Blanket Flower
Gaura, Bee Blossom
Geranium, Cranesbill
Hemerocallis, Daylily
Hibiscus, Rosemallow
Lathyrus, Sweet Pea
Malva, Hollyhock Mallow
Nepeta, Catmint/Catnip
Perovskia, Russian Sage
Platycodon, Balloon Flower
Rudbeckia, Black-Eyed Susan
Sedum, Stonecrop
Stokesia, Stoke’s Aster
Tradescantia, Spiderwort
Verbascum, Mullein (if cut back)
Veronica, Speedwell
Viola corunata, Sweet Violet

FOOLPROOF PERENNIALS

Foolproof perennials can be the staple of your garden, giving you enduring color and interest with little or no effort on your part.  Here are our picks for the easiest, most foolproof perennials:

Dicentra, Bleeding Heart
An excellent candidate for a shady garden.  The dangling (pink, white or red) heart-shaped flowers gracefully arch over the foliage. Grows to 12-36”. **Dicentra exima and its hybrids will thrive in full sun

MonardaBee Balm
This plant is a mecca for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds, who feed on the nectar of its pompom flowers from summer to fall.  Also deer resistant.

AchilleaYarrow
A great plant for hot, dry and poor soil conditions, Yarrow comes in white, yellow and pink.  Grows anywhere from a few inches to several feet tall. Give this plant full sun and place two feet apart.

AstilbeFalse Spirea 
Made for the shade!  The soft feathery plumes come in shades of white, pink and red. They need moist, well-drained soil and they don’t like to have their roots disturbed.  So, amend soil at planting time only.

Iris siberica, Siberian Iris
This classic staple of your grandmother’s garden won’t let you down!  Irises come in a wide array of colors –from clear, nearly translucent, pale yellow to a murky dark purple.

AquilegiaColumbine
Native! Blooming freely with flowers up to 3″ across, they can be either erect or nodding. Plant in full sun or filtered shade. They now range in height from 5 to 24″ and come in single and double flowering forms.

Geranium,  Cranesbill
Flowers range from intense purple to the palest pinks and come in single forms as well as doubles. Most tend to form nice mounds of foliage that can be smothered in blooms and are quite suitable for the rock garden as well as the border. Sizes vary from compact to quite large.

HemerocallisDaylily
Daylilies are long lived, both heat and drought resistant and require very little attention. They work equally well as ground covers and in the border. Colors range from white to deep reds and purples. For all season color, there are early, mid, and late bloomers.

HostaPlantain Lily
Grown for their foliage, shade loving hostas have various leaf shapes, textures and colors.  However, they must be protected from one of their most aggressive thugs: slugs, but are well worth it. Some varieties are less tasty to slugs, so if they are a serious problem in your area you might look for some of the slug resistant varieties.

Papaver orientalis, Oriental Poppy
There is nothing better in the spring after a long winter than seeing a clump of bright poppies!  Plant where other perennials, such as Echinacea, will conceal dormant summer foliage.  Deer resistant.

RudbeckiaBlack Eyed Susan 
A great choice for summer color and on into fall!  Bright flowers are ideal for fresh bouquets, and the seed heads are good for dried arrangements.  Try more than one of the show stopping cultivars available.

SalviaMeadow Sage
Wonderful plants for the middle or back of a flower bed. Perennial salvias are great for all summer color. Also a favorite of butterflies and bees. Prune them back after blooms have begun to fade and they will put on another show of color. They have plumes of flowers that range in color from deep indigo to rose. Depending on the variety they will grow to a height of 14-24″