Perennials are chosen for their longevity and include a wide range of various colours, shapes and sizes. When choosing what to plant a common argument you may find is Perennials or Annuals. Here you will find everything that makes perennials special to help make your decision.

What are Perennials?

Perennials are types of plants that live for more than two years. Compared to annuals that bloom and perish in one season, perennials will come back year after year. Some of the more popular perennials are: primroses, lavenders, peonies, lupins and astilbe.

Some evergreen perennials are commonly chosen for their low maintenance and long-lasting foliage. They’re also considered some of the best value plants to purchase thanks to their incredible life span.

Is my garden suitable for Perennials?

When choosing perennials over annuals or biennials, remember some perennials can live for decades. Conditions for growing vary immensely as the choice of perennials is enormous. Always check the label and plant tag of the specific variety you purchase and check its requirements.

Things to consider;

Soil – Always check if your plant prefers acidic or a more alkaline soil. Is your soil rich in nutrients, will you need to purchase feed to keep the plant thriving? If you are unsure, check out our Beginners Guide to checking your soils Ph.

Position – Check where your perennial likes to be planted. Most will love being in full sun but if you don’t have space left for that others can still thrive in dappled shade. Can your plant withstand wind? Check if it needs to be sheltered from storms and winter winds.

Temperature – Is your perennial hardy? Check if it needs to be sheltered with a horticultural fleece when a frost comes around. Beware of chilly winds, particularly evergreens are susceptible to wind scorch and can tarnish their colours.

When & what should I plant?

Perennials are best planted in either spring or fall to give them plenty of time to get settled. If you have bought some bare-rooted plants, you should get these planted as soon as possible in season. You can find a wide range of perennials raring to go at your local British Garden Centre.

If you’re looking for long-lasting foliage and colour, evergreen perennials such as Lavender or Bergenias are a strong contender. Bergenias, or “elephant ears,” produce huge glossy leaves for dense coverage in borders with bell-like flowers in spring.

For a more colourful and cottage garden feel, Lupins are an easily recognisable, eye-catching focal point in any garden. You can expect huge spikes of varying colours with some growing up to 1m (3ft) tall!

For an easier and less hands-on experience, Peonies are some of the most reliable and low-maintenance perennials available. They bloom into clusters of huge fragrant colours ranging from white to pink: some are even bicolored.

How to care for growing Perennials

When it comes to watering your perennials, its best to follow the requirements of your specific plant. Remember to water newly planted perennials for the first year until their roots are settled. If you have planted in containers, these need to be watered regularly in hot spells.

Typically, you won’t have to feed your perennials. However, if the soil condition is beginning to fade into a poorer status, an all-purpose fertiliser will have it back up to scratch in no time.

The taller varieties such as lupins may need to be tied to stakes to keep their stems upright. Strong winds can often warp and bend them with some top heavy plants naturally drooping down without support.

Sometimes perennials can live too long for their own good, and they might grow too big and stunt their own growth. If this is the case it can be beneficial to divide them and re-compost every few years to keep them spread apart. You should also aim to cut them back after the flowering season to keep them looking fresh.

Despite being some of the hardier varieties, they’re not invulnerable. You may find young shoots with some nibbles, or some leaves with bite-sized holes. There are plenty of organic options to keep pests away without damaging the roots – shop online or in-store for a solution that best suits you.