Growing Perennials – A Popular Hobby

Growing Perennials – A Popular Hobby

Perennials are plants that live for more than two years.  They generally have a longer growing cycle than the annuals and can be grown in more than one season.  Many gardeners like to have a mixture of both annuals and perennials in their gardens. You will find the majority of flowers in their natural state, on the ground, but many varieties also look their best in more decorative arrangements. You can have just one in your garden or many along the pathway.  Some of the taller perennials will make a good choice for the back of the flower bed, while shorter ones can work in the front of the flower bed. Perennials are usually easier to grow than annuals and less fussy about water, food, and sunshine.  Some perennials do require more attention than annuals.  They are also naturally prettier.

Generally, you should choose perennials that don’t need much pruning or feeding.  Some of the season’s flowers don’t require much tending.  Perennials are repeat-bloomers, and will generally re-bloom each season.  It is not uncommon to have a perennial flower for each season of the growing season.

When you are considering plants for your garden, look for those that are healthy and disease resistant.  The later in the season they are planted, the better chance they have of surviving.  Avoid plants that are unhealthy or crowded.  And avoid plants that require much pruning, like roses.

There is just about an unlimited amount of perennial varieties to choose from.  You can find perennials that are blooming in the current season, ones that are bloom-intolerant, and those that require a long growing season to fully develop.  You can also grow some types of perennials in a more diverse setting than in the typical garden such as on an arbor or a trellis.

Generally, the later in the season perennials bloom, the more maintenance they will need.  The non-blooming types are generally easier to maintain than those that bloom in the early spring, but you will still need to deadhead them as necessary.  You may also want to remove faded flowers and blossoms.

You generally want to choose a variety that will grow well in your area.  The USDA has a list of those perennials that are grafting-friendly, which means they are likely to grow in your climate.  The extremity of your climate probably dictates which perennials you can grow.  If you are not sure, ask your local garden center or someone who is knowledgeable in perennials.  Choose plants that are appropriate for the season and the soil type.

Before planting, examine your site or backyard hardiness zone to determine the minimum winter temperature.  The individual zones are as follows:

Light freezes can damage or kill tender perennials, so you will probably want to plant them later in the fall if your area has freezing winters.  Make sure your plants have enough covering above the ground to protect them from frost.

After these two steps, you are ready to plant.  Check the weather forecast to determine the time required to bring your plants from indoors to outdoors.  In the circular area, bring your plants from the conditioner box to the patio, and replace the soil.

You may also want to consider growing plants indoors.  Choose from the many dwarf varieties of plants now available.

BACKY powders (can be used as a final mulch)


various plants, urns/windowboxes

flower or shrub pots

olds..not used for garden beds


clay pots

glass pots

wooden..not for garden beds

metal pots

Remember that plants need to be watered more regularly than potted plants.  The soil should be kept moist, but not wet.

Aerate with a garden hose after planting. All the plants love the extra oxygen.

guzzles of water

rain flowers


Do not use insecticides or pesticides. Maybe the plants were treated with them or something, but stop using them temporarily.

Keep your garden free of rubbish.  scrape up leaves or rake up dead grass clippings.

Is your soil light or heavy?  Will it dry out quickly?  Keep planting.

mysteries.  Sink a stake in the garden and watch what you find.

Keep your garden as clean as possible.  particular chore killers include rust, paint, etc., so buy the cheapest potting soil you can find.

mysteries solved, either by experience or by new information.  Slow down and listen.

Work your soil at least six inches deep.  You’ll use most of it when you turn your soil.