Hardy Perennials

A Beginner’s Guide to Hardy Perennials

A perennial garden can become the pride and joy of the beginner gardener, especially when tips on growing some of the best hardy perennials are learned. 

Plants come in types of annual, biannual and perennial growth habits.  Annuals grow in only one season and then die away.  They scatter their seed to propagate new growth, which may be distributed on the wind, within bird excrement or by small rodents burying the seed.  Gardeners can also collect the seeds at the end of the growing season, dry them and plant them the following year.  Biannual plants grow to their full potential in one season, and then die away in winter.  Early spring will either not see new growth or see new growth of the foliage alone; blooming of the plants only taking place every other year.  Perennials, however, return faithfully every season to bloom in resplendent beauty each and every year.  Some perennials are considered to be fragile, while others are hardy perennials that have the ability to endure many varying degrees of climate changes and growing conditions. 

One of the best attributes a plant can have is that it is easy to maintain and grow.  Perennials, especially the hardiest of them, are not only easy to grow but also require little to no work on the part of the gardener.  Having a garden with perennials interspersed among annuals keeps a garden looking well groomed and beautiful throughout the growing season, with color and variety provided throughout.   Rather than propagating by seed, the perennial does so by root division.  Each new year of growth will find new divisions of the plant; increasing its original size.  After a few years, the entire plant must be dug up and the root be divided into sections, forming new and separate plants. 

Hardy perennials are those which can withstand freezing temperatures and harsh climates.  Even in northern environments, these perennials can be enjoyed to their fullest potential.  There are certain of these that rank as the most stout; alpine rock cress, foam flower, liatris, astilbe, yarrow, creeping phlox, the obedient plant, balloon flowers, alyssum and ligularia are some excellent starting plants for beginner gardeners.  These plants can thrive in poor soil, varied sun conditions, rock gardens, salty or windy conditions and more; true troopers of the garden variety. 

Although perennial plants can be started from seed, it can be a long and prolonged process with no blooms to enjoy until the second or third year of growth.   It is easier and faster to shop at a nursery or garden shop for starter perennials that will be sold in quart or gallon pots.  The larger the plant at the time of purchase will result in a more instantaneous garden, and bring faster beauty to the garden area.  Simply transplanting the started pots into the garden area, leaving adequate room for growth between plants and accounting for the height and spread of the adult perennial, is the guideline to reap a beautiful perennial garden.

Growing hardy perennials will keep the garden looking great and full with almost no maintenance required by the gardener.  Even though the plants are very hardy, the best results of foliage and blooming will be seen if the optimal conditions for the plant are supplied.  Fertilizing each year, mulching around the plants to retain moisture and cut down on weeds, planning the garden in sunny or shady areas according to the plant’s needs and dividing the plants every few years will provide the ideal conditions that will result in a show stopping perennial garden. 

Any beginner gardener will see great results when planting a flower garden with hardy perennials; a garden full of long lasting and low maintenance beauty.



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