Summer Flowering Herbaceous Perennials

Sets in summer-flowering

Metro New York
Clubs & Organizations

Brooklyn Queens Land Trust
Perennial Flowers

How to Select/ Where to Plant
The term perennial is frequently used by gardeners to refer to herbaceous (non-woody) perennial flowers. Most herbaceous perennials grow and flower for several years. Some perennials are short-lived -- surviving for only three or four years. In the fall, the tops of herbaceous perennials (leaves, stems, and flowers) die down to the ground while the root system persists through the winter. In the spring, the plant grows new leaves from its crown or roots. Plants that grow from bulbs and bulb-like structures are also herbaceous perennials but are often classified separately as flowering bulbs.

An advantage of perennials is that they do not have to be planted every year. Many perennials only flower for a few weeks each year, however, with careful planning you can have some perennials in bloom most of the season. Some consideration should be given to how a plant looks when it is not in bloom. Perennials with colorful or interesting foliage can provide interest even when they are not in bloom. Annuals can be combined with perennials to produce a continuous colorful show.

Where Should I Put It?

Site selection is very important for perennials. First, if purchasing them, it can prove to be an expensive endeavor. It is also important to remember, some plants do not like to be moved. Perennials generally live for several years, if properly cared for and placed in a hospitable environment. When choosing a spot, choose carefully. Consider: sunlight ( sun or shade); slope of the land; soil type; moisture requirements; drainage; and what role you want the plants to fill in the garden. With perennials, this is a major point since they're usually left in the same place for years or indefinitely. Shaded sites additionally pose the problem of competing with tree roots for moisture. Remember, no matter how excellent a job done of preparing the site, tree roots tend to grow back!

If possible, select a site that without a weed problem. Be on the lookout for hard-to-control weeds like bermuda grass and nutsedge. A site was a garden previously and was cultivated for several years might have fewer weeds. It is easy to cover the site with clear or dark plastic the summer before planting to kill off many existing weeds and weed seedlings, a process known as soil solarization.

Many perennials need a well-drained soil. While plants will tolerate a wet site for a short period of time, most will be killed by extended periods of "wet feet". Avoid locating the perennial border in low lying areas that are subject to standing water. Incorporate a 3- to 4-inch layer of organic matter, such as pine bark mulch or compost, before planting.

Soil pH requirements vary among perennials but most prefer a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. Lime can be applied individually to those that need a higher pH. Fertilize according to a soil test or incorporate 5 pounds of 5-10-10 per 100 square feet before planting.

Selecting Plants
Observe the bloom period for perennials in your neighborhood. Chose plants that will bloom together as well as those that will be showy when little else is in bloom. To obtain details on particular plants, consult plant societies, specialty books, nurseries, and local botanical gardens.

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
Book (Reed)

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DALY: Use care when planting around septic drainfields  —
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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