Perennials are treasured for their ability to flower, spread and multiply year after year. They’re also noted for their form, texture and vibrant colors. What makes these easy care perennials wonderful is that they are not only beautiful but hardy as well. With very low maintenance, these perennials offer beautiful flowers and long lasting, lush foliage. With numerous varieties of each, there’s a wide range to choose from for your garden.
Iris is a hard to miss perennial in the spring. An early bloomer with purple or white flowers, iris is an essential for the spring garden. Growing in clumps which spread larger each year, irises supply the garden with lush foliage through the summer.
Sedum Autumn Joy is a wonderful late blooming perennial. Also, called stone crop, it grows tight clumps which grow larger year after year. Its blooms are tones of pink and if left will turn a rusty brown which can add winter interest to the garden. With beautiful lush summer foliage, autumn sedum joy doesn’t bloom until September through the fall.
Black Eyed Susan can survive in even the most difficult soils and they can survive heat and drought conditions. The challenge with black eyed Susan isn’t growing them its keeping them from taking over your garden. As a vigorous grower they may need to be divided every few years. Their tall stems produce bright yellow flowers bloom in summer which last though early fall. Suitable for zones 4-9.
Echinacea, like blacked eyed Susan, blooms in summer and works as well in a formal perennial garden as in a wildflower meadow. In fact, Echinacea, is a native to the Midwest prairie landscape. Though the most common varieties are purple there are white varieties available as well.
Daylily does remarkably well with very little maintenance and is wonderful as a naturalizing plant. There are endless varieties and colors to choose from. Though each individual flower lasts only a day, daylilies produce such an abundant number of blooms they flower for weeks. The flowers bloom on stocks which grow up from clumps of long pointed foliage. Flowers range in size from 3 to 8″. They will grow well in full sun though they benefit from shade in the afternoon heat.
Astilbe is wonderful in the shade or part shade perennial garden. They prefer organic well drained soils and protection from the afternoon sun. Excessive heat and dry soils tend to cause withering in the plant. Astilbes have fern like foliage and large plumes of pink, white, or peach colored flowers which can be cut and taken indoors. Growing in spreading mounds which can reach 2 or 3 feet, astilble may require dividing every few years to encourage healthy blooms.
Hosta is one of the most durable perennials available and can grow an entire season with almost no care. Hosta provides the garden with lush mounds of foliage and attractive purple or white flowers. Extremely adaptable and versatile, hosta can be used in a number of ways. Larger varieties with interesting foliage can be used as a specimen. They’re also quite effect as an edging plant and when grown among other flowers in a perennial bed. Hostas range in size from a few inches to 3′. Great for shade and part shade gardens.
Coreopsis is tolerant of most soils and is a vigorous grower. With its spreading habit and profuse flowering abilities, coreopsis provides the garden with waves of color through mid-summer. Most varieties are yellow but there are a few which are pink. Coreopsis is a wonderful edging plant in a full sun perennial border. With little care, coreopsis will thrive for years.
While these perennials are easy to grow, there are a few very basic maintenance guidelines to follow which will help your garden flourish. Through they will thrive in less than ideal soils, add compost and other organic matter to the soil when planting these perennials.
In the summer the main task is in a perennial to deadhead the flowers that have gone by. Deadheading is the process of clipping off the spent blooms as they go by. This will encourage new blooms in perennials and will keep the garden looking fresh all season.
Dividing perennials is easily the best way to increase your plant stock. A few years after you’ve planted a perennial you’ll probably notice that it begins outgrowing its allotted spot. Dividing large perennials into smaller plants will solve the problem of over crowding. Simply dig the perennial you intend to divide out of the ground making sure to dig out as much of the root system as possible. Take a spade or a garden edger and chop or divide the plant in half. Remove any foliage which may have been severed. Replace the perennial back in the ground and back fill with a mix of compost and existing soil. You’ll need some extra soil to fill in properly. Some of the easiest perennials to divide are daylilies, hosta, iris and sedum.
Perennials are adaptable to a variety of landscape conditions. Most can survive a few hours of shade each day but there are those which will require full sun and those which will thrive in the shade. Observe the conditions of your own garden and have a plan or list in hand before you head out to the greenhouse. Once planted, these perennials will provide years of gardening enjoyment.