Gardeners and homeowners enjoy perennial flowers because they are aesthetically pleasing, versatile and long-lasting. They come back year after year, offering value and stability to the garden space. They can be used in a variety of ways--in beds, borders or containers. They reproduce easily and are fairly easy to maintain. Gardeners can choose from an array of plants to create an ever-blooming garden.
Perennial flowers are a versatile group of plants. They generally live more than two years and reproduce through propagation. They have adapted to a variety of conditions, creating a flowering plant for every season. Some plants, such as foxglove and red valerian, bloom twice, once in the spring and once in the fall. Others, such as Japanese anemones, will bloom well into fall. Perennials are dormant during the winter months, but send out new shoots and stems in the spring. Gardeners welcome returning blooms every year.
Perennial flowers come in a variety of colors, sizes, shapes, textures and bloom dates. All of these factors should be considered when planning the perennial garden. Plants such as Bear's-breech, with its tall flower spikes, work well as landscape plants. Columbines, of the buttercup family, are useful in borders. Lady's mantle is notoriously invasive and best serves as a ground cover. Hymus, geraniums and dwarf asters make good container plants.
Perhaps the most important aspect of perennial gardening is timing the bloom. When planning a garden space, it is essential to know when each plant will bloom and for how long. Different flowers bloom at different times of the year and for different lengths of time. Coinciding blooming times of different flowers can be a challenge, but proves rewarding. Coordinating the timing is critical in producing flower combinations that work.
Divisions from established perennial plants are as good as those purchased from nurseries or plant catalogs. Perennials must be divided when they outgrow their allocated space. Dividing plants controls size, rejuvenates the plant and allows for plant propagation. If plants are not divided, they can expand and crowd out neighboring plants. The plant may also begin to compete against itself for moisture, nutrients, light and air, which could result in a damaged plant.
Perennials are generally free of most pest and disease problems. Potential problems can be minimized by keeping a frequent watch for unusual activity. Action taken at the first sign of attack can prevent plant damage. Old leaves should be kept off of the ground as they could harbor slugs, snails or other damaging insects. Pests are found on the plants can be hand-picked before they begin to damage the plants. Weeds should be pulled when they are small, before they can produce seeds and multiply. A thorough cleanup before winter can help alleviate pest and diseases.