Why plant perennials? They usually live more than two years and flower annually. Planting different perennials allows you to have a succession of blooming plants from early spring up to late fall frost. Perennials not only bring beauty to your yard, they provide shelter and food for the birds, bees, butterflies, and other essential pollinators.
A Few of Our Favorites
Gardeners ourselves, we asked a couple of our perennial experts to share their favorites. Betty in our Naperville Perennials Department likes Peonies. They can be planted in a sunny border, in mass, or as an herbaceous hedge. They are unequaled as a cut flower. Betty’s tree peony blooms every spring and she says “It kind of takes care of itself.”
Joannie in our Aurora Perennials Department shares “The Iris, bearded & Siberian, are the favorite of all the women in my family. Stunningly beautiful and often fragrant, Iris offer architectural interest in the garden.” Plant in full sun to part shade for years of trouble-free care.
Perennials can also be added to containers. Joannie likes the way the graceful, striped leaves of her Golden Japanese Sweet Flag ornamental grass looks in her front porch container with blue or purple flowers. “With my Eastern exposure, it can withstand summer’s heat when kept well watered.” Heuchera or Coral Bells also add color and texture with their varying leave colors.
Seasons of Colorful Blooms
Finding it difficult to choose only a few, Betty enjoys watching the succession of perennials emerge one after the other. In shade, the Hellebores appear first in spring, then the ferns shoot up. In the sun, her creeping phlox provide masses of deep pink, fragrant blooms. Then Iris and Baptisia bloom, followed by Buddleia in fall. Buddleia, also known as the butterfly bush, is a magnet for pollinators. Looking to attract hummingbirds? Try red, tubular flowers that bloom all season, like Agastache, Heuchera, and Lobelia. Monarch butterflies will only lay their eggs on Asclepias. Amsonia ‘Blue Ice’ is another stunner in the garden blooming blue right around this time. In the fall its leaves turn a bright yellow adding interest to the garden throughout the growing season.
Understand that the upper parts of perennials die down over winter while the roots go dormant. New growth appears as the soil and air temperature warms. Some perennials bloom later than others, and some can be divided after a few years. Plant perennials. You will enjoy the walk around the yard, then sit back and enjoy the view.