May 17, 2013

What Are Herbaceous Perennials?

When thinking about your garden this year, it’s worth looking at herbaceous perennials, and whether they’d be right for you; these plants are effectively ones that have two year life cycles, and flower and die at different times during the year - they tend to flower with bright colours during the Spring and Summer, but retain their roots in the Autumn and Winter, meaning that while the stems and petal may fall away, they continue to grow underground.

Herbaceous perennials are good ideas for gardeners that want to experiment with bright, flowering stems throughout the year, and want to mix together different perennials to create a combination of colours. Planting herbaceous perennials means that you get a consistent range of flowers in certain parts of your garden. Some some herbaceous perennials to look into include anthemis, which look like daisies, and alcea, which has pink petals; other options include acotinum perennials, which have white and blue touches on their petals, and the larger petals of acanthus plants.

Even though perennials will die out during the Autumn and Winter, their growth cycle will continue underground in the soil, meaning that you can receive the same effect of the perennial the following year. It is important, though, to ensure that soil is well maintained to avoid problems with weeds and insects damaging roots, and preventing herbaceous perennials from regrowing - deep soil is also necessary for spreading the roots of herbaceous perennials.

One of the main advantages of using perennials in your home garden is that they’re very adaptive, and once planted, can be tough enough to stand up to even very cold conditions during the Winter - in warmer climates, however, herbaceous perennials tend to flower for longer, and don’t go through the same recycling processes. In either case, though, the roots for herbaceous perennials will be much greater than the plant itself.

When you first grow herbaceous perennials, they might not always flower in their first season of growth after seeds are planted - this means that root systems are taking shape. You can find herbaceous perennials that are already grown, and that will flower during the warmer months, and then continue to develop their root systems - these tend to be more expensive, though.

If you’re looking after herbaceous perennials, you’ll need to occasionally dig into your soil and separate root systems - doing so can mean that you can create new growth and reproduce the plants that you already have. Even with herbaceous perennials’ resilience, you’ll also likely have to keep an eye on soil condition, and should ensure that soil is well drained and treated with mulch before planting to allow roots to grow out. Setting aside a certain part of your garden for herbaceous perennials will mean that you can combine different ones to create a colourful effect for their next flowering cycle.

Lisa jane is a keen gardener who loves to experiment with new plants and flowers every year. For herbaceous perennials and other garden essentials, she recommends checking out Flora Select.

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