All About Perennials and Woody Plants

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PERENNIALS 101

Perennials are plants that have a life span of more than two years. However, when it comes to gardening, perennial generally means a flowering plant that blooms during the growing seasons and then either goes quiescent or dies. The following season, it starts to grow again. Most perennials require two or more years to cycle from seed to flowering. Perennials have a great diversity in size, shape, color, growth rate, and even texture

Types of Perennials
There are two general types of perennials; herbaceous and woody perennials. With Herbaceous perennials, the stem dies to the soil each year after flowering. Some of the more common herbaceous perennials include the Canna, Heliconia, etc. Woody perennials do not die down but persist to subsist from season to season and their growth rate fluctuates both in size and shape. Most experts recommend a combination of perennials for the landscape, because different perennials bloom during different seasons and can make the landscape very beautiful. So before you start buying your perennials, know what you want, the types of perennial, and what colors you prefer.

Perennial Soil Beds

Because perennials live for decades, one should plan ahead about where to place the plant. The site of planting should be visible and match the landscape. Because perennials grow beautiful flowers, you want the whole world to look at your landscape. Perennials look very colorful when planted close together, but each color should be bundled separate. Most experts recommend growing perennials in front of the home, along fences, walls and along alleys. The shorter plants should be grown in front of taller plants to ensure that all blooms can be viewed. Even though perennials are easy to grow, most prefer sun exposure. There are some perennials that will grow in shady or partially shady environments.

So choose the location well to ensure that your perennial gets the right amount of sun. The next factor of importance is the soil. Since perennials live for many years, you must have appropriately prepared soil. Make an effort to remove any junk, bottles, glass, particles, paper, weed, and all other foreign objects from the soil. Use a spade to thoroughly turn over the soil. One can add leaf mulch, compost or clean animal manure (preferably farmyard) to enrich the soil. Like most plants, perennials prefer well-drained soil. If you have no idea what your soil conditions are like, take some water and irrigate the soil. Come back in 2-3 hours and feel the soil. If it is water logged, then you need more work and this means raising the soil bed.

One can plants perennials any time of the year. Perennials also prefer moist warm climates. If you live in the tropics, it is wise to plant before the heavy rains come. The rains will help seedlings develop strong roots. The majority of perennials can be promulgated vegetatively by sectioning or layering. The advantage of vegetative propagation over seedling is that the new plant emerges with similar qualities as the parent plant. It also ripens early and presents with flowers in the first year.

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