Herbaceous garden plants list

AG gardening editor Kris Collins uses a selection of hardy herbaceous perennials to plant up a sunny border

Autumn is the ideal time to plant a border ready for the following year. Plants establish in the ground quickly, before the cold winter weather sets in and will take off quickly once spring arrives. Perennials can look sparse when first planted. But then, when they are in full, lustrous leaf, they knit together beautifully. Always follow the advice on the plant label as this will give the exact information for your chosen varieties in terms of planting distance and soil requirements.

Whether you’re planning a sunny or shady border, there is a wide list of plants to choose from. Here are my favourites:

Top 5 perennials for sun Top 5 perennials for shade
Delphinium ‘Guardian’ Astilbe ‘Brautschleier’
Gaura ‘Dwarf Pink’ Hosta (various vars)
Geranium ‘Rosanne’ Dicentra spectablis
Schizostyliss ‘Pink Princess’ Aruncus dioicus
Penstemon ‘Amelia Jayne’ Euphorbia characias

Planting out step-by-step

Place out plants A well planted herbaceous border should last for years so before committing to planting it’s worth setting out plants to make sure you’ll be happy with the finished display. In general, place tallest varieties at the back of the display, though the odd taller plant mid- or front can add good effect. Jot down the layout and remove pots

Prepare soil and planting hole Fork over the site removing weeds. Spread out several bags of compost and mix this into the soil. Then it’s time to plant. Dig a hole twice the size of the rootball and deep enough to add compost and a handful of bonemeal

Tease roots and plant Remove plants from the pots and tease away roots from the rootball, especially if roots have formed a dense mat. Place in the hole, checking the plant is level with the soil and backfill around the rootball. Firm in around the plant

Water Ideally you will have watered the plants in their pots ahead of planting, but they should also be watered once planted. You can either use a watering can after each plant has gone into the ground (pictured) or use a hose on the whole display

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