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Hardy perennials in your gardenAmong this group there are varieties for garden beds and borders. There are also plants for the rockery, pond plants, herbs, ferns, ornamental grasses, ground cover bedding and several climbing plants. These plants vary from the hardy sweet pea (Lathyrus), purple loosestrife and Garvinea® (gerbera), to chrysanthemums and phlox. The upper part of the plant, for most perennials, dies back in the winter, making it seem like you’ve lost them. However, sure enough, every spring they come back again with fresh new shoots emerging from the roots!
Perennials are best planted out in spring (April) or autumn (September-October). If you plant them in the autumn, you will have a nice strong plant the following year. This is definitely recommended for early flowering plants. The varieties that come in pots can be planted out all year round, as long as there is no frost. Our pot grown perennials already have established root systems which help them settle in immediately. Plant at the correct distance apart for best development of the plants. Remember to check the planting instructions. Small plants are usually planted 20-25 cm apart, larger ones 50 cm. Depending on what you already have in the garden, you will need 7-11 plants per square metre. Hardy perennials look great with roses, or with flowering bulbs like the dahlia and lily.
Caring for your hardy perennials
Perennials are almost maintenance free and will thrive in loose, fertile garden soil that is not too dry. The Campanula, for example, is a perennial plant, so easy: it grows by itself and is more beautiful year after year! There are, of course, a few easy tips to keep your plants bright and healthy. Use the right gardening tools. Tall perennials such as the delphinium will usually require some support. There are plant frames available and bamboo canes and string work well. Regularly remove overblown flowers and your plant will flower for longer. When a perennial becomes too large for its spot, it’s time to dig it up and divide it. Do this in the autumn or spring and use a sharp spade to break the dug up root ball into smaller plants. Replant a few of them (the outer side of the clump is preferable) and cut back all foliage to about a third. Water immediately. The plant(s) will soon catch on and thrive again.
Protecting your perennials from frostA potted perennial, such as a hardy fuchsia, or evergreen iberis, can stay outdoors in its pot over the winter – as long as the flower pot is winter proof. When planted in the garden, only clear up the plants in the spring. All the dead foliage helps to protect the plants from the frost over winter. Cut the old foliage hard back in the spring and rake it all up. Spread a mulch of dead leaves around your plants before winter. In late winter, apply a layer of well-decomposed or granulated manure. This is good for the structure of the soil, as it helps to retain the moisture. Spring is also the time to scatter some organic fertiliser pellets around to feed all your hardy perennials.
For more tips and information about planting and caring for your hardy perennials, check out our gardening advice pages online.
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