10 Feb Planning an Herbaceous Perennial Flower Bed
The reason why many people are opting for perennials is because they require less care and maintenance compared to annuals. The first thing is that perennials last more than one season while annuals have to be replaced every few months. In a warm dry climate, annuals require a lot more water than perennials.
This should be reason enough to get thinking about planning a herbaceous perennial flower bed. Unfortunately many gardeners end up planting short-lived perennials like Verbena, Bidens and Nierembergia. Although these perennials look beautiful, they hardly last more than a year. Therefore, when planning a perennial flower bed, look for those that will last for several years. For instance, you can plant Agapanthus for its beautiful sky-blue flowers, Salvia, Lampranthus (Ice plant) or shrubs of Chrysanthemum which last for something like 2 to 3 years.
One thing you have to realize that herbaceous perennials rarely bloom continuously for a long periods of time. They do have non-blooming season where they have to pruned, clipped or trimmed down. However, you can get over this disappointment by also planting non-flowering herbaceous perennials like Iresine, ornamental Asparagus, Phormium or Dietes. If you do not want these showy plants as they do require pruning, you can think about ornamental grasses like Miscanthus. However, do remember that even ornamental grasses have to be clipped right down to the ground each spring and autumn to keep them rejuvenated.
That is why you need advance planning when it comes to planting herbaceous perennial plants. You can plan to have early blooming perennials like Linum, Perovskia, Osteospermum or Convolvulus. Then when the later blooming and flowering perennials and ornamental grasses come to life, you can prune the former. Some late blooming perennials are Canna, species of Iris, Felicia and Penstemon.
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