In designing with plants, it is the perennials that ensure that there is constant change, and that there is always an element of surprise or interest in the garden.
Getting to know the dormant and flowering periods of the plants is essential to achieving the right balance in the design, so that as one perennial goes to sleep, another awakens.
Perennials, perhaps more than any other group of plants, are available in a huge range of colours, forms, textures and fragrances in both foliage and flower. There are perennials suitable for almost every area of the garden: from full sun to full shade, in large gardens or small beds and to suit every mood or style. Popular perennial plants include Penstemon, Gaura, Canna, Dahlias, Salvias, Lupins, Columbines, Lilies, Delphiniums and Hellebores - oh! the list is endless.
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A perennial plant (Latin per, "through", annum, "year") is a plant that lives for more than two years, unlike an Annual which grows, sets seed, gayly disperses it and then dies - all in a single season. Perennial plants are divided into two large groups: those that are woody and those that are herbaceous. They can be short-lived (only a few years) or they can be long-lived, and can vary in size from only a few millimeters to over 10 meters tall. They include a wide assortment of plant groups from Ferns to the highly diverse flowering plants like Orchids and Ornamental Grasses.
Perennials typically grow structures that allow them to adapt to living from one year to the next. These structures include bulbs, tubers, woody crowns, rhizomes plus others. They might have specialized stems or crowns that allow them to survive periods of dormancy over cold or dry seasons during the year. Many perennials have adapted to survive under extreme environmental conditions: some can survive hot dry conditions, or cold temperatures. These plants tend to invest a lot of resource into their adaptations and often do not flower and set seed until after a few years of growth.
Many perennials produce relatively large seeds, which can have an advantage as they produce larger seedlings after germination that can better compete with other plants or more quickly develop leaves, ensuring their survival.
In warmer climates, perennials grow continuously. In seasonal climates, their growth is limited to the growing season. For example, in temperate regions a perennial plant may grow and bloom during the warm part of the year, with the foliage dying back in the winter. These plants are deciduous perennials. Regrowth is from existing stem tissue. In some species, perennials retain their foliage all year round; these are evergreen perennials. Come in and take a look around. We've always got something pretty, perky and persuasive in the perennial line.
Attractive heart shaped leaves of rich green with broad margins of creamy white. Stems of bell shaped mauve blooms in late spring. Hostas perform their best when grown in moist soil with protection from afternoon sun. The longer you leave them the better they get. Perennial.
Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 60cm x 90cm
Pacific Blue Edger Hosta is an attractive sport of 'Gold Edger'. This blue hosta plant has prolific powder blue leaves. Small leaves in a dense display are topped by lavender flowers in summer. This mini hosta is perfect for borders.
This Hosta is a little different in that the variegated foliage has tones of burgundy at the base as do the flower stalks. The flowers that are a deep purple shade. The foliage has tones of cream and green. Plant in a semi-shaded position in nice rich moist soil. Perennial. PVR.
Colour: Purple Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 30cm x 50cm
The bright blue-green, heavily corrugated, cupped leaves have deep quilting which intensifiesas the plant matures. The late spring flowers are of the purest white. This is one of the large hosta varieties. The clumps will become more dramatic each growing season. Perennial.
An award winning Hosta with dramatic, ribbed foliage shaded green with creamy-white margins. Makes a beautiful clump for a shady spot. Pale lavender flowers in late spring-summer. Plant in rich moist soil for best results. This variety shows good resistance to slugs. Perennial. RHS AGM.
Colour: Mauve Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 30cm x 45cm
A beautiful Hosta with clean silver blue foliage that forms a robust clump that simply gets better with age. In summer stems of nodding bell like mauve flowers appear above the leaves. Plant in semi-shade in nice rich moist soil for best results. Can be container grown. Perennial.
This Hosta was bred right here in the Waikato.
Colour: Mauve Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 40cm x 40cm
Heart shaped puckered leaves that are an attractive blue-green and outlined with creamy white margins. Pretty stems of white flowers in early summer. Plant in a semi-shaded position in rich moist soil for best results. The clump will just get better with age. Perennial.
Colour: White Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 60 x 60cm
Large luscious leaves of green highlighted with white margins and topped off with stems of fragrant white flowers in summer. Lovely to group plant under trees as will perform best in semi-shaded position. Protect from slugs and snails. Perennial.
Yellow leaves have a dark green margin that accentuate the yellow centre. Prominent veins throughout the leaf give this hosta a stained glass window effect. Sun tolerant. Likes fertile soil and adequate moisture is needed if growing in full sun. Great for container or garden use. Attractive foliage and wonderfully scented pale lavender flowers appear in late summer. Perennial
Colour: Lavender Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 40cm x 80cm
Striptease has a very unusual “lightening strike” of white running around and through the lime green centre. The dark green leaves are centred with a bright chartreuse that fades during summer to a light green. The strip of pure white sometimes doesn't appear until plants are mature. This hosta forms a sizeable clump. Perennial