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Perennials have always been known in the garden especially in the form of herbs and medicinal plants. It was not until the end of the 19th century that the first purely ornamental perennials established themselves in the private garden. With increasing breeding interest, the selection of garden-suited perennials increased explosively in the following decades, which has led to our current, almost unmanageable variety of shrubs.

What are perennials?

Perennials are recognized by the fact that their aboveground plant parts - unlike trees and shrubs - do not lignify. The stems and branches are herbaceous soft and pliable. Perennials are perennial and perennial, they re-sprout after each winter. Even flowers and fruits are formed each year again. So the perennial is a fixed size in the garden bed, which returns again and again after a long hibernation in spring.

summer perennials

In summer, perennial beds create bright colors in the garden

So perennials overwinter

All perennials have similar wintering strategies. The plants concentrate their energy in over-life organs under or just above the earth's surface, from which they then expel each year. For this they usually form either rhizomes, tubers, onions or stolons. Some near-to-ground winter-green species from colder climatic regions even retain their leaves and can be warmed up by the snow cover in winter. Where this snowpack is missing, it is advisable to cover the plants in the winter with fleece or brushwood.

The habitats of the perennials

Due to the large number of perennials, the plants in botany are grouped according to their natural location. So there are bedding or magnificent perennials, forest and Gehƶlzrandstauden, rock garden perennials, Alpine perennials, riparian shrubs and open-land or steppe perennials. Based on this and based on the natural occurrence of the species Richard Hansen developed in the 1980s, the concept of life areas. According to this classification, the different types of perennials are most easily assigned to their designated location in garden design. For example, forest and shrub perennials such as funerias, ferns and elfin flowers prefer shady to partially shaded spots under trees, where the air is cool and the humidity is high. The soil should be loose and humus rich and best covered with a layer of mulch, so that not too much moisture evaporates. Alpine perennials and rock garden perennials on the other hand prefer permeable, barren, calcareous soils and direct sun. Bark mulch they do not tolerate at all. Perennial plants in turn are not a "natural" group, but a result of the extensive horticultural breeding efforts and therefore have high and very individual demands on solar yield, nutrient supply, irrigation and care.

Foliage perennials

Leaf perennials such as funchia usually feel well in the shade of trees

The ornamental value of perennials

Perennials achieve their ornamental value through different attributes. The most classic of these is of course the flower, which is impressively demonstrated by Fuchsia (Fuchsia), Giant Orchid (Gaura lindheimeri), Peony (Paeonia), Larkspur (Delphinium) and Bleeding Heart (Lamprocapnos spectabilis). The fragrance of many perennials such as phlox, sage or lavender thrills insects and humans alike. But many perennials also score with beautifully shaped or dyed foliage such as ferns and grasses. Some perennials change the color of their leaves to winter and show an impressive autumn color, so the bright orange knot carpet (Bistorta affinis 'Superbum ') or the many species of cranesbill (geranium). Still others wear an attractive fruit decoration at different seasons, for example Fieberwurz (Triosteum) or St. John's wort (Hypricum calcynium). It is therefore worthwhile not to pay attention to flowering when designing with perennials. Some plants show only in the course of the year, which individual beauty is in it.

Bergenie 'Baby Doll' in autumn color

Many perennials, here the Bergenie 'Baby Doll', present a magnificent foliage color in autumn

Tips for designing with perennials

Depending on the area of ā€‹ā€‹life, there is the right perennial for every location and every light ratio. Whether you want to plant a full-sun rock garden or a shady pond - under the shrubs you will find it. Since perennials, if they feel comfortable, can decorate the garden for many years, a suitable location is even more important. Inform yourself best in a perennial nursery, because there you will be advised by specialists. Plan your perennial flowerbed carefully in advance to avoid disappointment if the plants do not develop as desired. First check the soil and light conditions and then select the bed type you want to create. Always group accumulation types with similar location and maintenance claims. Choose "Leitstauden", which give the bed a visual frame and add the flower color and flowering time suitable companion and filling plants.Pay attention also to the height graduation, so that in the end not large plants cover the little ones.

Perennials in the rock garden

Perennials with cactuses and succulents in the rock garden

Perennials are planted in autumn or spring (exception: grasses should always be planted in spring). When planting, pay attention to the individual planting distance. Depending on whether and when the perennials move in winter, it must be planned so that no ugly gaps in the bed arise. The front bed border are dwarf and upholstered perennials or ground cover such as lady's mantle, cranesbill, blue pillow, lavender or book. Onion flowers planted in tuffs take over the colorful bedding decoration in spring. Tip: Do not be too frugal when buying plants. A decorative bed needs a few dozen plants, depending on the size, for a lush and balanced effect. The rule of thumb says: For medium-sized perennials, four to five, for smaller perennials six to eight plants per square meter. However, most perennial nurseries also indicate what number you should plant per square meter in order to create a closed plant cover.

Plant perennials in the bed

When planting the individual planting distance of the individual perennials should be considered, because each species requires different amounts of space in the bed

Perennial care at a glance

The most important utensils for perennial care include a sharp pruning shears. Since many perennials remount, it is usually worth cutting off the first faded pile. Provided with some fresh fertilizer, the way is clear for a second flowering in autumn. Even those who want to prevent self-sowing of perennials should remove the faded parts in a timely manner. In the natural garden, on the other hand, most of the very attractive seed stands stay on the plant over the winter, providing food for the birds. Although perennials are usually hardy, sensitive hybrids will enjoy a protective cover of foliage or brushwood in winter.

seed heads

The seeds of many late-flowering perennials are extremely decorative until the winter

In the past, most perennial beds were cut back in the autumn, but today more and more garden owners only resort to shearing in the spring shortly before they bud out. The benefits of the later re-cut date: The withered leaves have a protective effect in winter for the partially sensitive Ɯberdauerungsorgan, also see the faded inflorescences often late in the year very decorative. During the Austriebsphase in early summer then snail protection is announced, since many young Staudentriebe attract the hungry Schleimtierchen. The soil should be gently loosened in the spring and some compost or slow-release fertilizer incorporated.
Some species of perennials, such as hollyhock, coneflower, maiden's eye or larkspur, should be supported with sticks or perennials as they grow, so that they do not buckle in wind and rain. Attention: Particularly magnificent perennials are susceptible to fungal diseases, especially in dense plants and damp weather. Therefore check your perennials regularly for fungal infestations, cut out infected parts of plants and treat the affected plant with a fungicide. Over time, some perennials begin to lose their temper. Then they should be rejuvenated, which succeeds by division. Dig out the rhizome in autumn and divide it into two or more parts with a sharp spade. Sharing not only rejuvenates the plants, they also increase them at the same time. In many perennials but also propagation through cuttings is possible.

Video Board: Maximize Your Garden Color With Perennials.

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