Perennial Herbaceous Plants

A collection of perennial

What exactly is a herbaceous border, and how should it be planted?

Traditionally, a herbaceous border was at least 3 m (10 ft) wide and about 10 m (35 ft) long, usually backed by an evergreen hedge, and planted entirely with herbaceous perennials. As this is impractical today in most gardens, herbaceous borders tend to be much smaller and of irregular shape to give more interest. They are usually planted with clusters of each type of plant, in groups of three to five; the tallest are at the back and the lowest at the front. The clumps of plants are intermingled to a certain extent to give an informal effect.

The plants are selected to harmonise in terms of colour and give different times of flowering, so there is always something of interest in the border in the spring, summer, and autumn. Which herbaceous plants are selected from the huge number available is a matter of personal taste and colour harmonies. Plant breeders have recently introduced a wide range of low-growing varieties suitable for the smaller border.

How must I prepare the ground to make a new herbaceous border?

As your plants are likely to be in the ground for a long time, it pays to prepare the soil thoroughly. Remove all weeds, especially the perennial types with deep roots, by digging, hoeing, or with a suitable weedkiller. Then fork the soil to a depth of at least 150 mm (6 in), adding humus-forming matter such as well-rotted manure or compost, rotted bark, granulated peat, or hop manure. Lime may also be needed if the soil is very acid (peaty) or in generally very poor condition. It should be applied in autumn or spring, one month before planting or adding humus-forming matter, or two or three months after manuring (lime and manure must never be applied at the same time). If possible, leave the freshly dug soil for a couple of months to allow it to settle, then scatter a general-purpose fertiliser over it and rake the ground to give a reasonably crumbly surface suitable for planting.


The New Zealand garden dictionary : a dictionary of plants in general cultivation in New Zealand, arranged in alphabetical order, giving the cultivation, propagation, and peculiarities of annuals, bulbs, herbaceous perennials ... and fruit trees. Designed for quick and easy reference
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DALY: Use care when planting around septic drainfields  — Gwinnettdailypost.com
Shallow rooted annual and perennial herbaceous plants can be planted closer to the drain fields since they do not have invasive roots. Turfgrass can be grown over the drain field and is beneficial since it helps hold the soil in place.

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