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How To Use Perennial Plants in Garden Designs?  

Few would disagree that perennial plants stand as the most cost-effective way to create a garden. They provide greenery and vibrant flowers for years without having to spend time or money replanting. Those rank among the primary reasons our Tennessee community members design perennial gardens. As experienced TN plant nursery professionals, we’d like to share some thoughts about layering a perennial garden. We hope the following information inspires you to redefine your landscape in a way you’ll enjoy for many years to come.

What are Perennial Plants?

The term “perennial” typically refers to plants that come back every year. Or does it? While many perennial plants manage to survive the frigid TN winters and re-bloom, not every variety survives into perpetuity. Some species, such as evergreens, can last more than a hundred years. Other perennial plants may not develop deep enough root systems. Plant nursery experts often think about perennials in the following four ways.

  • Short-Lived: This type of perennial lasts for 3-5 years.
  • Long-Lived: This type usually lasts for more than 5 years.
  • Herbaceous: Identified by their soft green stems, they die during winter and return in spring.
  • Woody Types: These plants lose their leaves, but the stems and roots survive the TN winter.

At first blush, home and commercial property owners might believe that short-lived perennials might not deliver the long-term value they seek. That idea can be something of a misconception. Examples of short-lived perennial plants include the popular Black Eyed Susan and Daisy that thrive year-over-year by distributing seeds. Each type can play an influential role in beautiful your landscape.

Think About Perennial Plant Heights

When designing a perennial garden from scratch, gardening enthusiasts would be well-served to consider plant heights. By placing the tallest plant in the rear, you can taper the colorful flowers in descending rows. This landscaping technique maximizes the natural charm of the diverse blooms. The following rank among the popular flowering varieties used in TN gardens.

  • Day Lily PlantsThese hardy and colorful plants mature to 48 inches and forms an excellent backdrop. Their lush orange-red flowers top long stems that create space to place mid-height perennials in front of them. Day Lily Plants also remain a popular option to plant in front of low fences for increased definition.
  • Black Eyed Susan: Reaching heights of 6 feet in some cases, Black Eyed Susan delivers lush greenery topped by yellow-gold flowers. One of the more popular perennial plants, they spread voraciously over time and prove highly cost-effective.
  • Goats Beard: Reaching upwards of 6 feet, Goats Beard provides a thick green canvas for home gardeners to paint in front of with ornamentals perennials. Its strand-like plumes lean toward soft creamy whites. However, some varieties offer rich pinks, reds, and shades of purple.

These and other tall perennials can be set in the back of other mid-sized plants or along fences and hardscapes. But a well-crafted landscape design develops a floral fabric by employing mid- and low-height perennials as well.

Best Mid-Height Plants for Your Perennial Garden

Establishing a row of tall flowering perennials opens the door to incorporating a layer of blooms just below them. This landscaping strategy gives the appearance that flowers are stacked one over the next. When selecting mid-sized perennials, consider their mature height and color. Aesthetically diverse gardens use color flexibility that meshes with personal taste. For example, some gardeners like bold contrast while others prefer subtle differences. The following mid-height flowering plant options can accommodate TN gardens.

  • Brown Eyed Susan: Similar in appearance to Black Eyed Susan, this variety typically reaches 2-5 feet and showcases coneflowers of 8-20 petals.
  • Bugleweed Ajuga: This plant tends to stay as low as 2-4 inches when not blooming. However, its purple flowers shoot up to about 10 inches, making it a preferred mid-height choice.
  • Virginia Blue BellsThis perennial matures to 1-2 feet and enters spring with subtle pink flowers. As the hot summer months roll in, the flowers evolve to a beautiful blue.
  • May Apple Plants: Growing to 11-17 inches, May Apple Plants tuck delicate white blooms under their green leaves. In many ways, this perennial infuses lush greenery with only modest sprinkles of color.
  • Rue Anemone: Maturing to about 9 inches with small white or pink flowers, Rue Anemone can serve as an in-between height perennial.

Our TN plant nursery stocks a wide range of mid-height flowering plants. As you develop a perennial garden design, consider comparing how tall and mid-height flowers play off each other. To complete the portrait, select a low-height perennial that covers the foreground effectively.

Select Low-Growing Perennial Plants to Complete Your Garden

Low-height perennials serve an essential role in gardens. They can protect soil from drying in the TN sun and fill in otherwise vacant spaces in your garden. Low-growing creepers can also spread over hardscape elements such as garden edgings to tie a landscape together. Again, matching the type and color to those standing behind them remains essential to the overall ambiance. Consider the following options to complete your perennial garden.

  • Phlox Plant: One of the more popular choices, Phlox provides wide-reaching flower choices. The purples, blues, and pinks define garden foregrounds with spreading clusters.
  • Wild Ginger Plant: This perennial usually stays under 6 inches and infuses a deep green into shaded areas and perennial garden foregrounds.
  • American Wintergreen Plant: This low-height creeper shows off bright red berries that contrast its waxed-green leaves.

Low-height perennial plants offer, perhaps, the most flexibility in terms of completing a garden. They can blanket the foreground with lush flowers, subtle blooms, or a mostly green carpet. The value of integrating these types of perennial plants cannot be understated.

Select the Perennial Plants You Desire at TN Nursery

Perennial gardens reduce the amount of time our TN community members spend each year replanting. They also stand among the most cost-effective ways to design a garden because they re-bloom year after year. But most of all, perennial gardens enhance the quality enjoyment of your property.

If you are considering a perennial garden or want to infuse an existing one with color, we offer a complete selection. Contact our TN nursery today.



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