What is Perennial Gardening?

What is Perennial Gardening?

Posted by Tammy Sons on Oct 27, 2022

Perennial gardening has been around for centuries. It is proven to be a successful landscaping method that improves soil quality and helps aid soil erosion and weed control. Perennial gardening is maintaining a garden over multiple seasons by planting perennials. Unlike annual plants, perennials are best described as gardening plants that reseed and live for decades.

What Are Perennial Plants?

Perennials have a long life span, with a long cycle of over five years, reseeding themselves annually and returning every spring, which makes them a favorite of most gardeners. Perennials come in many vibrant colors and sizes at maturity. Most people think annuals offer the most vibrance of colors of all flower bedding plants, but perennials also offer those brilliant hues plus, you get a plant that will not die each year like with annuals.

Types of Perennials

Perennial gardening improves your garden and makes it attractive for all seasons. Doing it well produces a beautiful effect that can rejuvenate the whole environment and make your home look even more attractive.

The most common types of perennials are:

The Hosta Care Guide - Utah Style and Design

Hardy Shrubs

Perennial shrubs are an excellent choice for many who want to extend their gardening season. These plants will provide years of beautiful blooms and foliage while staying small, under 6 feet, and offering little maintenance. A wide variety of shrubs are available, from fragrant to colorful and everything in between, so finding the perfect fit for your landscape is easy.

These are just some of the examples:

Viburnum

Viburnum is a deciduous shrub that produces beautiful blooms in the springtime. Viburnum grows well in most soil conditions but prefers moist soil drains well.

Forsythia

Forsythia is another popular hardy shrub because it produces beautiful yellow flowers in early springtime that attract butterflies and hummingbirds alike. This plant does best in total sun exposure but does not require much care once established in its growing location. Forsythia grows well in slightly acidic soils with good drainage, making it an excellent choice for areas where clay soils are common.

Witch Hazel 

Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) is an excellent shrub for high-humidity gardens. It is a fast grower and reaches high heights in 10 years and has attractive foliage and white flowers in the fall. Witch hazel has an interesting trick: Its branches drop from the tree when it matures. Witch hazel is often used as a hedge or screen, making it an excellent specimen plant. 

Azaleas Azaleas

(Rhododendron spp.) are popular flowering shrubs for shady gardens because they are easy to grow, bloom from spring through summer, and come in many colors, with pink being the most popular color of choice. Many azaleas have fragrant blooms; however, not all of them do, and some people consider this scent a nuisance because it may attract bees to their yards. The most common azaleas are evergreen shrubs that grow between 1 and 6 feet tall with arching branches.

Hydrangea 

Hydrangeas are a popular perennial shrub. The flowers on these shrubs come in many colors, from white to pink and even blue, making them attractive to many gardeners. These shrubs are easy to grow and maintain. The hydrangea is often one of the first plants people plant in their gardens because it is so easy to grow and maintain. The Mophead variety is the most common type of hydrangea, which produces large white or pink blooms that look like wads of cotton candy. Other hydrangeas, such as lace caps and panicle types, are also available, which produce smaller flowers with fewer petals.

Deciduous Perennials Deciduous perennials are also known as hardy perennials or herbaceous perennials. These plants have an above-ground growth period that lasts anywhere from one season to multiple years, depending on the plant species. Deciduous perennials lose their leaves each fall and typically return each spring with new foliage. They will die back completely to conserve energy during the hot summer months, but they typically regrow from the roots once temperatures cool down in fall.

Everyday Favorites In Perennials For Gardens Include:

Ornamental Grasses Ornamental grasses are a large group of plants with many common characteristics. They are all grasses, which means they have long, slender leaves that grow in dense tufts from the base of the plant. The flowers of ornamental grasses are usually small and inconspicuous but often brightly colored. Some ornamental grasses lose their foliage in winter, and others retain it year-round. 

Astilbe 

Astilbes are shade-loving perennials with mounded to spreading clumps of strappy foliage on sturdy stems that rise above the plant and arch outward at the tips. Flowers appear atop wiry stems in late spring through early summer and are usually white, pink, or purple with yellow centers. 

Delphiniums

Delphiniums are a classic perennial that can be grown as a border or in a garden bed. Thriving in full sun to bloom and offer the highest yield in production are best planted in areas of the landscape that get direct sunlight. Delphiniums do well in acidic soil and have a deep root system that makes them drought-tolerant. If the soil is alkaline, consider adding some compost when planting.

Hostas

Hostas have large leaves that grow up to 12 inches long and are blue-green or grayish-green in color. They are often used as ground covers but make excellent border plants around other plants or shrubs. The small, white flowers appear on top of green stems from July through. September. Hostas grow best in partial shade with moist soil. As perennials, they will return from their underground root system each year.

Ginger Lilies (Alpinia purpurata)

The Ginger Lily is a tropical perennial that is popular in warmer climates. It has stiff sword-shaped leaves and large flowers that are a beautiful purple color. The flowers can reach up to two feet in diameter and have an exotic fragrance that attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. Ginger Lilies are hardy plants that grow well in full sun or partial shade. They need plenty of water during the summer months but can tolerate periods of drought once established. 

Bee Balm (Monarda) 

Bee balm is an important nectar source, blooming from mid-summer to early fall. It is used in cooking and drinking teas. The leaves are also used as an insect repellent.