Perennial Tips & Ideas
Regarding perennial growth: “the first year they sleep, the second year they creep and the third year they leap.”
Mix it up! Perennials can be easily incorporated into planters and hanging baskets as well as looking great tucked in and amongst roses and other garden plantings.
Mulching your established perennials with a good organic compost in the fall will enrich them with great nutrients all winter. They will burst forth with great vigor in the spring!
Deadhead (picking spent blooms) will make your plant look better and often times encourage some plants to send up some new blooms. If you want to – leave a few seed pods on your plant, and let fall to the ground to start new plants next year.
Staking taller and fluffier perennials is very important for both looks and longevity of the bloom cycle. There are lots of cool plant supports available in our Garden Center. Plan to stake before your stems fall over and break!
Click on buttons above to see still photos from our slideshow
Perennials are a smart gardener’s best friend simply because they are a permanent plant that has a specific bloom time in the year. Unlike annuals that die away at frost, perennials can live for years blooming annually for around 4 – 8 weeks. You can count on them to put on a show with little effort from you!
Many perennials are herbaceous, that is to say that the foliage dies back to the ground as the plant’s roots go dormant for the winter. Then you’ll get nice fresh new leaves the next spring!
Few perennials are “evergreen” in our Pacific Northwest climate, but the ones that are evergreen are fabulous! We like to carry a good collection for the fall and winter months because, in addition to adding foliage interest to your garden, they do an excellent job in your planters and hanging baskets.
Perennials, like most plants grown properly, require very little to perform well. Make sure to:
- Plant them in the correct sun exposure (sun/shade)
- Enrich the soil often with compost and mulch
- Feed and water as needed
- Groom after bloom
There seems to be as many perennial varieties as there are varieties of specific spaces in the garden pallet to fill. Be sure to plan your garden with bloom-time in mind as well as color, height and spread. It will change looks every few weeks as different perennials go in and out of bloom. Different combinations will come into play. It can be very exciting and rewarding!
Sunny spaces: Peonies, Poppies, Daisies, Cone Flowers, Salvias, Lavender, Dianthus, Carnations, Lilies, Gaura, Delphinium
Shady spaces: Bleeding Hearts, Hardy Fuchsias, Hostas, Brunnera, Astilbe, Columbine, Bergenia, Helleborus
Foliages and fillers: Hostas, Ferns, Astilbe, Ladies Mantle
Fragrance varieties: Peony, Lavender, Chocolate Cosmo, Scented Geranium, Lily, Lily-of-the-valley
Rockery Spaces: Aubretia, Arabis, Armeria, Carnations, Creeping Phlox, Alyssum, English Daisy, Snow in Summer, Candy Tuft, Lithodora or Heuchera
Ground Covers: Creeping Thymes, Sun rose, Blue Star Creeper or Brass Buttons
Hummingbird attractants: Columbine, Cleome (Spider flower), Crocosmia, Delphinium, Foxglove, Heuchera (Coral Bells), Red Hot Poker, Bee Balm, Penstemon, Salvia
Butterfly attractants: Columbine, Aster, Astilbe, Coreopsis, Delphinium, Echinacea Purpurea, Bee Balm, Penstemon, Phlox, Verbena Bonariensis, Centranthus Ruber (Jupiter’s Beard), Globe Thistle
Theme gardening: fragrant, formal, chocolate flowers/foliage, monochromatic, faux tropical, herbal knot garden, fairy garden
Cutting garden: Peonies, Lilies, Phlox, Poppies, Achillea (Yarrow), Campanula persicifolia (Peach-leaved Bellflower), Echinacea (Coneflowers), Rudbeckia (Black-eyed Susan)
Perennials Photo Gallery
Photographs courtesy of Skagit Gardens