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Save time, effort and money by planting perennials in your flower gardens

Perennials  Buying Guide

Perennials continue to bloom and thrive year after year, so they will save you from having to plant new flowers each year. Typically, they have a shorter blooming season, ranging from 2 – 3 weeks depending on the type. You can help offset this by planting flowers together that bloom early, mid-season and late for a continual splash of color.

This buying guide highlights what you need to know to navigate through the different types of perennials, along with planting and maintenance tips.


Selecting Perennials

Be sure to check their height, size, growth patterns, colors, peak blooming time and ideal soil conditions

  • Make sure the plant is compatible with your region’s climate.
    • Most perennials are sold when they are in bloom, allowing you to see the colors you want.
      • Consider the amount of light your garden gets as some perennials will not bloom in shady conditions.
        • Choose plants that are compact and dark green before flowering.
          • Avoid plants with thin, pale, yellow stems and leaves or visible signs of mold and mildew.
            Characteristics of Popular Perennials

            Bloom once per season

            • Astilbe
              • Baptisia
                • Eupatorium (snakeroot)

                  Cool temperatures

                  • Aconitum (monkshood)
                    • Delphinium (larkspur)
                      • Lupine

                        Drought resistant

                        • Asclepias (butterfly flower)
                          • Gaura (wand flower)
                            • Russian sage

                              Fine foliage

                              • Hosta
                                • Japanese painted fern
                                  • Tiarella, "Jeepers Creepers"

                                    Long bloomers

                                    • Rudbeckia (black-eyed Susan)
                                      • Salvia (meadow sage)
                                        • Shasta daisy

                                          Long-lived perennials

                                          • Hosta
                                            • Iris
                                              • Peony

                                                Short-lived perennials

                                                • Columbine
                                                  • Foxglove
                                                    • Hollyhock

                                                      Planting Tips

                                                      Properly preparing the soil is one of the best things you can do to ensure the health of your plants

                                                      • Check for proper soil drainage and test pH levels to ensure the growing environment is conducive to the plants.
                                                        • Most perennials need to be planted in spring, though some bulbs can be set out in late summer or early fall.
                                                          • Avid gardeners may want to consider starting perennials from seed, which is cost effective but requires more effort.
                                                            • Add fertilizer and rake soil smooth in spring to prepare for new plants.
                                                              • If soil has poor drainage, consider planting in raised beds.
                                                                • Gently untangle roots and place in hole slightly larger than the root ball.
                                                                  • Allow plenty of space between plants to encourage better growth.

                                                                    Maintenance and Care

                                                                    Put frequent and thorough watering at the top of your maintenance list

                                                                    • Moisten the entire plant bed, but not so heavily that the soil becomes soggy.
                                                                      • Wet only the soil around the plant, not the leaves and bloom to avoid making the plant susceptible to disease.
                                                                        • Apply mulch after several frosts have occurred to ensure soil temperatures remain low.
                                                                          • Don’t apply mulch too early as the warmth can cause new growth, which may freeze and damage the plant.
                                                                            • Stake tall perennials to prevent stem damage using stakes that measure 6 – 12 inches shorter than the plant.
                                                                              • Tie the plant by making a double loop, with one loop around the plant and the other around the stake.
                                                                                • Plant perennials where light wind conditions and soils are suited to them (consult plant tags).