Although their tops often die back after they pass their flowering season, their roots are still very much alive, and they send up shoots the following spring. These plants have many uses and purposes in the home landscape. The perennial border is a classic cottage garden that works well with any home style and can be adapted to any yard size.
Perennial ground covers make an excellent alternative to traditional lawn grass and can be used on banks and hillsides for erosion control. The wide variety of available perennial plants means that there's something for nearly any landscaping situation, such as sunny spots, shady spots, and everything in between. Many perennials are also native plants that work well in naturalized landscapes.
Perennials for the Border
The traditional layout of the classic perennial border is that the plants are arranged by size, with the smallest at the front and the largest at the back. Typical back-of-the-border options include Marsh Hibiscus, Partridge Pea, and Turks Cap Lily. Trumpet Vine is an excellent choice for rambling over a fence at the back of the border. Virginia Bluebells, Black-Eyed Susan, and Red Cardinal Flower are mid-size plants for the middle of the border. At the same time, Blue Violets and Hepatica Plant are diminutive enough to be placed at the front.
Perennials for Sunny Areas
Full sun is defined as six or more hours per day of direct sunlight. Sun-loving perennial choices include Blazing Star Plant, Blue Vervain, Golden Ragwort, and Coneflower Plant. All of these can be used in borders in sunny yard areas or as specimen plants on berms or the side of entryways. There's also ideal for the southern and western sides of the home, where many plants struggle with too much heat and sun.
Perennials for Shady Areas
Flowering perennial options are part of the yard and garden area with a lot of shade, including Trillium, Goldenseal, Trout Lily, Jewelweed, and Creeping Buttercup. Fan Clubmoss and a variety of ferns are nonflowering options for shaded areas. Because most types of lawn grass don't grow well in the shade, homeowners often choose to naturalize shady parts of the yard to complete the woodland effect provided by the trees. Besides being ideal for planting under trees, these plants are also good for the north side of the home.
Perennials for Ground Covers
Perennial ground covers can be used in place of lawn grass, planted for erosion control, used at the front of perennial borders, planted on the sides of walkways, or used in rock gardens. Good options include Wild Ginger Plant, which brings bright green foliage and small white flowers to the often hard-to-fill areas under shade trees, and Partridge Plant, an evergreen featuring white flowers in spring and bright red berries in autumn and winter.
Perennials for Native Plant Gardens
Homeowners have many benefits from having a native plant garden in their yards. Native plants are often more resistant to pests and diseases than their cultivated counterparts, and their water needs are usually met by rainfall. Some types, such as Milkweed Plant and Goat's Beard Plant, provide valuable habitats for butterflies, bees, hummingbirds, and other vital pollinators. Native plant gardens are often sited around the edges of naturalized woodland gardens.
Perennials for Autumn Flowering
Although perennials are generally associated with spring and summer flowering, many types bloom in autumn. Brown Eyed Susan and Goldenrod, for instance, provide bright yellow blooms from summer through fall. Wild Aster Plant brings old-fashioned daisy-like charm to the picture and is ideal for naturalizing areas with many suns. Mountain Mint is a low-growing perennial that produces discreet, small white flowers in the fall, while the tall purple spires of Blazing Star Plant make a dramatic statement in the home landscape.
Perennials for Drought Conditions
With drought conditions on the rise in several states and increases in utility costs, many homeowners are seeking solutions in the form of drought-tolerant vegetation. Fortunately, many perennials evolved in environments with little natural water yet still bring abundant flowering beauty to the home landscape. Red Daylily and Stella De Ora Daylily are excellent for specimen plantings. At the same time, Larkspur and Black-Eyed Susan can be used in borders or naturalized areas such as wildflower gardens.