Perennials Buying Guide
What's not to love about perennials? They come back year after year, supply blooms in nearly every color of the rainbow, and if given the right care to get established, perennials reward with robust growth and beauty in your garden.
Types of Perennials
The hardest thing about filling a garden with perennials is choosing which ones to tend. There are literally thousands of these types of flowers, distinguished by their renewed growth year after year. There are perennials that work well in shade, those that flourish in sun, some that enjoy moist conditions, and others that thrive in dry soil. Whatever your conditions, these essential plants can enhance your landscape. Start by reviewing the three main types of perennials: grasses, foliage-focused, and flowering.
Ornamental grasses have surged in popularity in recent years, thanks to their easy growing habits and distinctive beauty. Grasses work well on their own or integrated into garden beds, and they come in oversize versions as well as dwarf varieties. Most are not pruned in fall, providing sculptural focal points in the garden during wintertime.
While perennials are best known for beautiful blooms, foliage-focused perennials are welcome additions to all types of gardens. Many supply color through their leaves and do well in shade, too.
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Plant Patent #20,774. My, Empress Wu, how you have grown! This astonishing Hosta is more like a shrub than a perennial, with leave...s 18 inches wide and flowers fluttering on stems 5 feet tall! Shake up the shade garden with beautiful, eye-popping Empress Wu! Magnificently quilted and heart-shaped, the foliage on this Hosta-and-a-half is lovely from spring through fall, its texture and substance improving with each passing year. In midsummer it is topped by lavender flowers, but the real beauty is the foliage itself. Dense, many-layered, and symmetrical, it is a glorious sight in the partly shaded garden! Empress Wu would make a nice specimen (solitary) planting, but it will be even better as a standout in the shade border, behind all the smaller Hostas and other hardy ferns. Expect passersby to stop in their tracks when they see this behemoth! Named for the only female emperor of China, Empress Wu was bred by Brian and Virginia Skaggs. It is descended from H. Big John x H. Zanadu, but easily outdoes both parents in magnitude and beauty! Like all Hostas, Empress Wu is very easy to grow in any well-drained soil receiving some shade. Once established in your garden, it tolerates heat, humidity, cold, and even drought effortlessly. If you want to divide this plant, simply whack it into pieces in late winter or early spring. But if you leave it intact, it will grow in stature and beauty more quickly. Very long-lived, it will grace your garden for decades! Enjoy this splendid and unusual Hosta! Zones 3-9. read more
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Wishing Well is so richly textured, so intensely colored, that it leaves other blue-leaved Hostas in . . . well, in the shade! Col...orfast to rds day of sun, its large leaves and compact habit will wow you in border and container. Just under 2 feet tall and just over 3 feet wide, this beautifully mounding Hosta sets leaves up to 11 inches long and 9 inches wide, deeply corrugated even from a young age. Slightly twisted and wavy, the foliage is nicely cupped, particularly in heavier shade, and keeps both its texture and its blue-green tones in partial sun. Stunning! In midsummer, lavender blooms on 26- to 29-inch stems top the foliage, attracting butterflies to the shade, but the real attraction is the amazing foliage. No more going green when the weather heats up or the sun becomes stronger! No more flattening out of cupped, rippled leaves! Wishing Well stays true! Don Dean introduced this fine cultivar, and we heartily recommend it for containers, the border, and the woodland garden. Such blue hues are hard to find in the Hosta family, and such handsome texture a rarity indeed! You will love this Hosta. Zones 3-9. read more
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Such a delight, Blue Mouse Ears sets exquisite soft blue-green leaves, gently curled, with the substantial texture youd expect fro...m much more mature specimens. A tightly mounded miniature, it keeps its distinctive color throughout the summer heat, looking as attractive in containers as it does in the shade border. No wonder it was named the 2008 Hosta of the Year! Leathery and heart-shaped, these small leaves discourage nibbling pests. They are infused with a rich aquamarine shade of blue-green that remains even in hot, sunny summer weather. Neat yet very dense, the foliage is topped in midsummer by lavender blooms held on short scapes in good proportion to the leaves below. A stunning presence, reaching just 6 inches high and 12 inches wide, Blue Mouse Ears is very highly sought for its size, color, foliage texture, and staying power! A sport of H. Blue Cadet, Blue Mouse Ears sets new foliage all season, often with a hint of gold at the base of the leaf. Use this compact plant in containers of all sorts, as edging, in the front of the shade border, and as an accent among green- and yellow-leafed plants. It tolerates partial to full shade, and prefers to avoid direct sun. Zones 3-8. read more
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There has never been a yellow Hosta quite like Dancing Queen, and it will stand out in the shade garden like a shaft of sunshine i...n a dark glen! This large, wide Hosta is exquisitely rippled and quilted, its outstanding foliage attention-getting in any setting. The new leaves open bright gold in spring, turning a lighter shade as the season progresses. Long, pointed, and heavily rippled, they are held elegantly up and out from the center of the plant. With each passing year, they grow more intensely textured and beautifully substantial. In midsummer, the foliage is topped by pale lavender blooms on 28-inch stems. Largely insignificant, the flowers may be snipped and used as filler in the vase, or left on the plant to highlight the color contrast they present against the yellow leaves. Dancing Queen eventually reaches 18 inches high and spreads about 30 inches wide. Spectacular in the border, it is also superb for woodland settings, and can even be grown in a large container. It forms the natural centerpiece of any Hosta garden, standing out brilliantly against El Nino, Silver Bay, and 48438>Abiqua Drinking Gourd, among many others. Dancing Queen was bred by Kent Terpening, and thrives in partial to full shade. Very hardy and long-lived, it belongs front and center in your shade garden display. Do add it to the garden this season! Zones 3-9. read more
There are literally thousands of types of perennials that bloom in nearly every color in the rainbow and every size imaginable, from groundcovers to shrublike growth.
Although perennials may seem easygoing and carefree, homeowners and gardeners of every skill level must take into account certain constraints related to the plants and their location. So before you choose a single-hue garden full of white perennials; a hot-color garden with red, orange, and yellow blooms; or a cool-color collection of purples and pinks, thoroughly review the product features of the plants. Those include bloom season, hardiness zone, and full-grown size. Here's a quick guide to get you started on your perennial journey.
Not all perennials bloom at the same time. Well-planned placement of a group of plants can provide you with different blooms or foliage all growing season long.
Perennials are classed by their USDA Hardiness Zone, which corresponds to historical data about where you live and the extremes that plants can endure. Plants designated for growth outside your Zone likely will not survive year to year.
Perennials range in growth size from low-growing groundcovers to oversize bushlike specimens. What you choose and use depends on the needs of your yard and your preferences.
Perennials are relatively inexpensive, particularly because of their long life. But even a small garden bed can contain valuable specimens that you don't want to lose to ignored purchase considerations. And if you take time in the beginning to review each and every plant, you may find yourself in a few years luckily dividing your perennials -- to add to another garden bed or share with friends and family. So before you put plants into your shopping cart, review these two purchase considerations: bare root versus container grown and potential invasiveness.
Perennials are available for planting either as bare root -- which means no soil is attached to their root structure -- or container grown. Container-grown plants vary in price based on the size of the container.
Some perennials, beloved in the past for blooms and hardy growth, have passed into the realm of invasiveness. Ask your local nursery or investigate the plants yourself to make sure you do not add to this problem.
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This elegant rose is the showpiece of the Vatican private garden and will gladly grace yours as well! Among the finest white roses... ever, it produces pure, luminous white, lavishly petaled 5-inch blossoms with a delightful fresh citrus fragrance. This exceptional hybrid tea has received top ratings for its powerful scent, vigorous growth, superior disease resistance, and perfect bloom form. These sparkling blooms unfurl from delightful pointed, ovoid buds, revealing up to 30 clean white petals. They arise in flushes throughout their early summer to late summer season, standing out brilliantly against the background of glossy, dark green, very disease-resistant foliage. The plants themselves reach a mature height of 4½ to 5 feet and a width of 3½ to 4 feet, so theyre ideal for a number of situations: beds, borders, cut gardens, even large patio containers. Plant in well-drained soil in full sun and water regularly, preferably in the morning. A layer of mulch during the summer months helps to retain moisture, keep roots cool, and discourage the growth of weeds. Prune hybrid tea roses to half height or 18-20 inches above the ground in early spring. Remove old canes and dead wood. Cut back canes that cross each other. Gardeners in warmer climates will want to cut the remaining canes by one-third, while those in colder climates will probably need to trim it a bit more. read more
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Plant Patent #18,554. Cultivar name: WEKisosblip. The first lavender-toned Rose to win an All-America Rose Selection in more than ...20 years, Wild Blue Yonder is the fragrant, ruffled, brilliantly colored Rose weve been waiting for! Not only are the fully double blooms packed with lavender-rose tones, but theyre shaped like Camellia flowers, and boast an enticing fragrance that combines zesty citrus with Old Rose scent. Heaven! These flowers are quite large, with 25 to 30 petals apiece and a light lavender base. As the blooms open wider and wider, they appear to have a white eye at the center thats very attention-getting. And youll have plenty of chance to enjoy them, because after the first flush of color, Wild Blue Yonder rests for a few weeks, then blooms again! This plant is 4 to 5 feet tall and about 4 feet wide, a good size for a hedge and very well-branched, giving you more blooms than youd expect during its two seasons of color. The foliage is clean and dark green, keeping Wild Blue Yonder attractive even when not in bloom. Bred by master Rosarian Tom Carruth, Wild Blue Yonder is a vigorous, very garden-tough shrub thats resistant to mildew and rust. Give this Grandiflora plenty of sunshine and well-drained, enriched soil for best flowering. Unlike many Roses, it actually improves in bloom strength with each passing year! Truly a legacy Rose for your garden, it will become a family treasure. Zones 4-9. read more
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Are you looking for an easy rose that will fit in anywhere and asks for almost nothing and in return, rewards you with stunning fl...owers and great garden performance? Well, here it is! Moonlight Melody absolutely sparkles in the landscape, with its bright white, 2½-inch blooms that stand out beautifully against the small, glossy, dark green foliage. Only growing to about 18 inches high and 18 to 24 inches wide, this low shrub rose is ideal for making a big impact in a small space. Youll love seeing the pretty pointed buds open into dazzling blooms on 6-inch stems, each one showing off 5 petals. Moonlight Melody is perfect for a number of applications, from beds and mixed perennial borders to low hedges and even containers. Place it in moist, well-drained soil in a sunny spot and watch your summer garden light up! Prune in spring, removing old canes and dead or damaged wood and cutting back canes that cross each other. In warmer climates, the remaining canes can be cut back by one third. Youll probably have to prune a bit more in colder climates. Zones 4-9. read more
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The most colorful, most prolific groundcover available anywhere! Bright orange, pink, and yellow flowers cover this mounding, spre...ading plant throughout the entire season. Extremely disease resistant and fuss-free, Happy Chappy is great for mixed perennial borders, patio containers, and hanging baskets. Its best color is in full, blazing sun. Remove spent flowers to encourage rebloom. Growing to just 2 feet tall but spreading 3 feet across, this groundcover rose sets loads of brilliant, lightly fragrant blossoms that open from charming pointed, ovoid buds, set against glossy, dark green foliage. This heat- and humidity-tolerant plant is great for new gardeners due to its ease of growth and low maintenance. Its a wonderful way to add color and life to problem areas in the landscape. For best performance, plant Happy Chappy in moist, well-drained soil in full sun. Spring pruning is recommended. Old and dead wood should be removed and canes that cross need to be cut back. Gardeners in warmer climates should cut back the remaining canes by about one-third, while those in colder areas will probably want to prune a little more than that. Var: INTERhappy (PP#19,646). Zones 5-9. read more
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Rapid repeat bloom cycles and a graceful, well-branched habit endear this bright pink climber to gardeners. The flowers have exqui...site hybrid tea form, with a full, old-fashioned look and zesty aroma. The first blooms usually appear in late spring and continue in generous waves into autumn! Social Climber is destined to be popular wherever its grown. Reaching a mature size of 6 feet high and 4 feet wide, its ideal for any size garden, adding delightful color for never getting out of hand. Each 4-inch bloom opens from an attractive pointed, ovoid bud and is comprised of about 40 petals with a lovely spicy fragrance. The dark green foliage looks great even when it isnt dotted with the dark pink flowers, brining welcome color to arbors, trellises, fences, and walls. Plant this climbing rose in moist, well-drained soil in full sun. Prune in early spring, cutting out dead or diseased wood and thinning weak canes. It can be pruned to shape after its summer bloom is over but before fall arrives. Check soil moisture weekly, and water in the morning, if possible. It does not react well to standing water. In northern climates, put a 3- to 4-inch layer of mulch around the base of the plant before the ground freezes. Var: JACweave (Plant Patent Applied For). Zones 5-10. read more
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Bill Warriner? is named in honor of Jackson and Perkins chief hybridizer, and it is truly an outstanding rose. Its covered with la...rge clusters of lightly sweet-scented, 3- to 4-inch, salmon-coral flowers of perfect hybrid tea form. This superb rose has excellent substance, making it a good choice for cutflower arrangements as well as the garden. The blooms arise in flushes throughout the season on 5- to 15-inch stems, opening from pointed, ovoid buds and displaying 26 to 40 ruffled petals each. Its glossy, dark green foliage is disease resistant, and due to its compact habit (only reaching 2 to 3 feet high and wide at maturity) and long bloom season, Bill Warriner? is a great selection for the residential landscape. What a fantastic rose for garden or container! Plant this floribunda in medium-moisture, well-drained soil in full sun. Spring pruning is recommended. Old and dead wood should be removed and canes that cross need to be cut back. Gardeners in warmer climates should cut back the remaining canes by about one-third, while those in colder areas will probably want to prune a little more than that. It can be grown in the ground or in a container (containers will require winter protection). read more
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Plant Patent Applied For. Cultivar name: Wims Red Find a special place for this thrilling new Panicle Hydrangea! Fire and Ice chan...ges bloom color every few weeks, creating a season-long play of hue that never ceases to fascinate. This ultra-compact Hydrangea is just right for garden or large container, delighting with long wands of brilliant color. The blooms open cream-colored in early spring, standing out beautifully against the bright green foliage on plants 6 to 10 feet high and wide. By midsummer blushes of pink have overtaken the florets, and soon the entire plume is a rich shade of cotton-candy pink. Then, beginning in late summer and continuing throughout autumn, the flowers acquire a deep, intense shade of magenta-burgundy. Stunning! Best in part shade, Fire and Ice will become the focal point of any setting. Its a good choice for the foundation or along the driveway, where its bloom changes can be followed on a daily basis, but it also works well in border and woodland garden. Truly unique, it deserves a place of honor! Zones 3-8. read more
Patina Collection Rich stain finish Handcrafted from natural water hyacinth Made in Vietnam Small: 13.5L x 15.5W x 11.5H inches La...rge: 15.75L x 21W x 20H inches Whats Included 2 basketsDescription If Little Red Riding Hood were carrying one of the New Rustics Home Rectangular Water Hyacinth Basket - Set of 2 when she ran into the Big Bad Wolf, she could have smacked him over the head with it ? these baskets are sturdy and strong. And in addition to scaring away wolves, they make great picnic baskets. Theyre also ideal for holding magazines, toys or other items. Plus, they look great in your home. About New Rustics Furniture Company Award-winning New Rustics is an innovative company founded by designers and furniture experts. A mix of old and new world influences, New Rustics presents collections that feature handmade solid wood furniture, earthenware clay pottery, and decorative stone and iron accessories. Colors, textures, and sustainable materials abound throughout the creations of New Rustics, and all of them will add character and style to your home. read more
Patina Collection Rich stain finish Handcrafted from natural water hyacinth Made in Vietnam Small: 10L x 12.5W x 9.5H inches Mediu...m: 11L x 15W x 10.5 H inches Large: 12.5L x 17.5W x 12H inches Whats Included 3 basketsDescription This set of baskets has a multitude of uses. Perfect for holding TV remotes or coasters on a coffee table, you can also use the versatile New Rustics Home Water Hyacinth Basket - Set of 3 as fruit baskets in the kitchen, soap holders in the bathroom, or for your pocket contents on your nightstand. About New Rustics Furniture Company Award-winning New Rustics is an innovative company founded by designers and furniture experts. A mix of old and new world influences, New Rustics presents collections that feature handmade solid wood furniture, earthenware clay pottery, and decorative stone and iron accessories. Colors, textures, and sustainable materials abound throughout the creations of New Rustics, and all of them will add character and style to your home. read more
Patina Collection Rich stain finish Handcrafted from natural water hyacinth Made in Vietnam Small: 12L x 12W x 15.5H inches Large:... 16L x 16W x 19.75H inches Whats Included 2 basketsDescription If you happen to have kids, or if youre a kid at heart (arent we all!), then you might have had the unfortunate opportunity to step on a renegade Lego piece at some point in time. Yeah, we feel your pain. And we have a solution: the New Rustics Home Water Hyacinth Basket - Set of 2. These handy baskets make perfect storage containers for such things as Legos, other small toys, or things like newspapers and other knick-knacks. About New Rustics Furniture Company Award-winning New Rustics is an innovative company founded by designers and furniture experts. A mix of old and new world influences, New Rustics presents collections that feature handmade solid wood furniture, earthenware clay pottery, and decorative stone and iron accessories. Colors, textures, and sustainable materials abound throughout the creations of New Rustics, and all of them will add character and style to your home. read more