Why Grow Perennials?
June 17th by Anthony D'Atri

The longevity of perennials is the main reason why people choose to plant them for their beds and borders. Perennials in perspective, will not live as long as an Oak Tree, per se, but they will provide you with colour after colour, foliage after foliage, year after year, for about 15 years on average. If you play your cards right in most cases you can divide your perennials (split the root/plant) and share the success of your healthy plant with your neighbor without going to buy a new plant all together.

Year Round Interest

In addition to featuring individual plants that change during the season, a perennial garden provides a progression of flowering. Consider a shade garden. In late winter, Lenten rose flowers put on a show followed by the spring blossoms of barrenwort, and then come lungwort and columbine and other spring bloomers. Late spring brings amsonia, violet, bleeding heart and astilbe. Summer displays include coral bells, yellow corydalis and an incredible array of hosta varieties with colorful foliage and some fragrant flowers from which wafts an amazing scent.

Trouble Free Growers

Most perrenials tolerate insects and diseases, even though they're not immune to problems. For example phlox regularly gets powdery mildew, and even the resistent types occasionally have a small amount of the disease on their foliage. However, podery mildew rarely kills pholox, or any other perennial and simply thinning the plant helps loweer the incidence of the disease. Slugs and snails can riddle hosta leaves, but they rarely kill plants.

big daddy hosta slug resistant

Click Image to Enlarge

One of my personal favorites. The hosta on the left is a "Big Daddy" spiecies. The names comes from the size of the fully matured foliage which grows dark blue with purple bells springing out in the summer. This hosta thrive in shade to partial shade.






Landscape Solutions

Perennials also fill nearly and landscape role. They help control runoff with their roots by slowing the water flow long enough for it to soak in. Use them on hillsides to control erosion. Many perennials make fantastic groundcovers that can be used as a lawn replacement in small areas, such as courtyards. A thyme lawn, for example, will never need mowing, will have pretty pink flowers in the summer time and if you choose the right species, will remain green even in the winter. Many low-growing perennials will even handle foot traffic. Just like trees and shrubs perennials are invaluable to landscape designs. Use them as focal points and in foundation plantings. Grow perennials in containers or plant them in masses to unify your landscape plan. Perennials are outstanding choices for foundation plantings consist of a row of evergreens in front of the house.

Solutions for Tough Spots

Is there a challenging garden area in your landscape? Perhaps you have a slope that is too steep to safely mow or a very shady spot where grass won't grow. Maybe there is a wet spot in your yard and all the shrubs you've tried to in it have died. Perennials trump in all kinds of planting situations. You'll find perennials for sites with standing water and ones for very hot, dry spots, for windy exposed sites, and for deep shade. There are perennials that thrive in poor soil as well as fertile, or that prefer alkaline or acid soil. As you can see perennials present solutions to many other landscape problems and when used effectively can truly spruce up your outdoor living experience, big time, take care.