All About Perennial Plants
More and more gardeners and homeowners are turning to perennials that don’t need pampering. Indeed, some experts recommend plants that thrive even when they are neglected, which means poor soil, bad light, no fertilizer and water when nature or the gardener remembers to provide it. These plants allow a person who is already overworked to have a beautiful yard. Here are some plants that are both perennials, which return year after year, and easy to grow:
This most popular perennial, which flourishes in hardiness zones 3 to 10, produces trumpets of flowers that resemble those of a true lily, even though the two plants aren’t really related. The colors can be any color but blue, and there are multi-colored cultivars. Others are ruffled or have double or triple rows of petals. True to its name, the flower lasts only a day, but the plant produces flowers so abundantly that their loss is not noticed as the blooms arrive over weeks and months. Not only this, but when they are planted in groups they keep down the weeds.
Daylillies prefer sun but can do well in some shade. Indeed, the sun tends to bleach paler varieties. They don’t need much fertilizer, and if they are overfed they become leggy and stop producing as many flowers. Divide daylillies every three to six years or so.
Virginia Blue Bells
Virginia blue bells produce showy, blue-violet, bell-shaped flowers in the early spring. This perennial is also easy to grow in average but well-drained soil. It is the ideal plant for those areas in the garden or yard that don’t get a lot of sunlight, for it thrives in part to full shade. Not only that, it can stand being nibbled on by rabbits and can grow near black walnut trees. The roots of black walnuts put out a poison that discourages other plants from growing around them.
Virginia blue bells do best in hardiness zones 3 to 8 and grow 1 1/2 to 2 feet high with a spread that’s just a bit smaller than this. They need medium amounts of water and do best if they are left alone a bit. They don’t harbor pests or serious diseases. One other thing to know about this lovely plant is that it does go dormant during the summer, so it should be placed with other plants that bloom in the warm months.
Blue Flag Iris
Like most other types of iris, the blue flag iris is easy to grow to the point where it can more than tolerate a little neglect. An excellent perennial for hardiness zones 4 to 9, blue flag iris likes soil that’s well-drained but also thrives in soil that’s kept moist, if not wet. This makes it an excellent plant to put around the edge of a pond. It does best in full sun to light shade and produces its striking flowers from May to June.
This perennial grows in clumps and has sword-shaped, bluish-green leaves that are characteristic of all irises. The height of the plant is from 2 to 2 1/2 feet, with a similar spread. In the spring, stalks emerge from the base and bring forth three to five violet blue flowers with yellow and white sepals, which are called falls. This iris can be propogated by dividing, but the gardener needs to wear gloves when they handle the rhizome, as they are poisonous.
Purple Cone Flower
For millennia, people have used herbal remedies to treat maladies both major and minor. One of those herbal remedies is derived from the root of the purple cone flower, or echinacea. This perennial grows well in hardiness zones 3 to 9 and grows from 2 to 4 feet tall. It likes well-drained soil and full sun to light shade. The daisy-like blossoms are pretty enough, but in the fall the brown seed cones are also used in floral arrangements.
The purple cone flower bears up well under heat and drought, and the tall flowers don’t need be staked against the wind. To get a truly deep color from the flowers, it is best to grow the plants in part shade.