Perennial Plants

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Perennials is a term for a plant that grows back every spring. Perennials can be either low-growing or tall-growing plants or produce beautiful and or glowing seed heads, such as those generated by some ornamental grasses. Using perennials in a garden requires planting only once as they die in the ground each winter and re-grow in the spring. Fewer major problems will occur in the garden by using perennials rather than annuals and require less care and maintenance. Blooming perennials tend to average about three weeks of bloom time.

One type of perennial is the Aster. The Aster plant grows two to four feet in height and blooms primarily from August through October. The flowers are the Aster are daisy-like in nature with colors of purple, lavender, pink or red. The Aster requires that it be planted in moist, well-drained soil and full sun. The plants themselves are broad and bushy so they should be planted at least 18 inches apart from each other. They can be grown from seed indoors or planted directly in the garden after the danger of frost has past. Germination occurs between 15 to 30 days, depending on the temperature.

Another perennial plant is the Coral Bell. Coral Bells have beautiful leaves that may be purple, metallic silver or purple bronze in color. The underside of the leaf is typically is purple-like pink. Coral Bells can be purchased in pots or grown from seed that should be planted in midsummer. Its tolerance to the sun ranges from partial shade to full sun. They should be watered frequently so as to prevent the leaves from getting scorched. The Coral Bell serves an a border plant or plant in front of taller trees as well as adding interest along a hillside. Tiny green-like pink or red flowers bloom in late spring and early summer although they will be too small to be seen from a distance.

Daylilies, another perennial plant, are highly varied in color and form, with large, showy flowers. Daylilies grow in clumps which includes the leaves, the crown and the roots. The leaves are typically grouped in flat fans, bending out to both sides. The crown is the small white portion of the plant between the leaves and the roots. Other small leaves may protrude along the stem. These proliferations form roots when planted. Some daylilies have widened roots, created by the plant for water storage.

Another perennial plant is the Hollyhock. Hollyhocks are tall, towering plants that can be grown as single plants or in masses against walls or buildings. They also serve as border plants when mixed together with other low shrubbery. Their fullest effect is in their first year of growth, so they tend to be planted in new gardens when trees and shrubs are low and added color is needed. Hollyhocks grow as singles and as doubles although the singles are preferred for their unique beauty as a group of well-grown Hollyhocks is a striking sight. The leaves are large and coarse, growing primarily in clumps at the foot of the plant. The flowers grow in long spikes from five to eight feet in height with nine blossoms on each stalk. The average size of the flowers in two or three across, but five-inch wide blossoms have been known to grow. The colors of the flowers can be white to almost black but are also pick, rose-pink, salmon-rose, golden yellow, canary-yellow, dark red, purple-crimson, dark maroon, white and combinations of practically all these colors with white centers. Hollyhocks bloom from last June through September.

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