Gardening 101 - What are Perennials?
By Tammy Sons
Knowledge is the most crucial thing if you are aiming towards a healthy and thriving garden. Perennial plants are extensively used in gardens for landscaping. Their life cycle and growth pattern makes them a ‘must- have’ for every gardener. However, if you are planning to buy and grow perennials in your garden it is important to have a basic knowledge about them so that you can be successful in growing them.
Perennials are plants or shrubs that have a life span of more than two years. Most of them grow and bloom every year during spring or summer season and then die back. They appear again during the next couple of years during spring to bloom. So, unlike annuals and biennials they do not have to be planted every year as they have a longer life cycle.
Perennial plants re-generate every year through underground reproductive structures like tubers, bulbs, rhizomes or crowns. They go dormant during cold climatic conditions and re-grow during spring or early summer season. The foliage dies back after flowering and such plants are known as Deciduous Perennials. The growth and life cycle of perennial plants also depends upon the zones and climate. Some of the plants thrive throughout the year in warmer climates that is favorable for them. Such plants are called Evergreen Perennials as they remain green all year round.
Perennial plants are very diverse and adaptable. Numerous varieties of these plants can be found across the country. Their life span makes them a crucial addition to any kind of landscape as you do not have to re- plant them every year to make your garden lively and green. However, it is important to know about the specific varieties as some of them might not thrive in extreme climatic conditions.
Perennial plants can serve many purposes in the garden if used appropriately. They can be used as groundcovers, border plants, specimens and focal points. Some of the shade resistant varieties can even be grown in shady patches to camouflage the unappealing areas in the garden.
Perennials can be fruits, vegetables, herbs, shrubs or flowering plants. Some of the common perennial plants that are used extensively in landscaping are Iris, Tulips, Daffodils, Aster, Day Lily, Blue Cohosh, Japanese Anemone, Peony, Salvia, Hosta, Blood Root, Chrysanthemum, Lavender, Hollyhock, Butterfly weed, Blackberry Lilies, Daisy, and Blue Star Flowers. You can try growing different types of flowering and ornamental perennial plants to enhance the beauty of your garden.