When I began growing flowers in my garden I didn’t care what I planted. Whether it was an annual, perennial, or tender perennial, all I did was pick the colour and plants that I liked and hoped for the best. Now 25 years later I have more knowledge about different plants, and it also helps working in a garden centre with a boss like Reed, who has a wealth of knowledge to teach me.
Seasonal annuals can offer your garden amazing colour and are wonderful to fill your large pots and urns for the summer, but replacing them each year in your flower beds is costly. Perennials on the other hand are planted once and will return each year bigger and bigger. Perennials traditionally require less care and some even thrive on neglect. Whether you have a sunny or shady garden there is a perennial for you.
Here is just a quick recap of each type I just mentioned:
- An annual grows from seed and blooms, sets seed and then dies in one season. Annuals need to be planted each summer and usually last until fall.
- A perennial is a flower that can live for three seasons or more, some perennials will typically need to be replaced every five years. Most perennials bloom for only a short period of time for one to three weeks each year.
- Bi-annuals grow vegetatively its first year, lives over the winter, and then finally blooms the second season. Once it has bloomed and set seed, it dies. Foxgloves and Holly hocks are usually bi annual.
- A tender perennial is a plant that will survive if you live in a climate without frost, unlike Ontario with frost and snow, where they will not survive.
When you are designing your perennial garden there are a few questions you need to answer:
- Do you have a shady or sunny area?
- How many hours of sun do you have each day?
- And what time of day is there sun?
You also don’t want all your perennials to flower at the same time so look closely at the tags and see when each one blooms. You will want to stagger them so they bloom spring, summer and into the fall. You can also fill in the gaps with annuals so that you get enough colour and nice foliage.
Here are six reliable sun perennials:
Peony, Iris, Black-Eyed Susan
Purple Corn flower, Hydrangea, and Hidcote Lavender
Hosta, Columbine, Astilbe
Bleeding hearts, Helleborous, Hardy ferns
Perennial ground covers:
Vinca, Money Wort, Wojo’s Jem
Lamium, Dead Nettle, Sweet Woodruff
There is so much to learn about perennials, and it does take years of switching things up. Don’t be afraid to move them around in the spring if you think something will work better in a different area, height or colour-wise.
Remember to prepare your ground before putting in new perennials, by adding some sea salt organic fertilizer soil, which will also help retain moisture.
Stop by East of Eliza and see our amazing range of sun and shade perennials and get valuable help with your garden.