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Perennial Flower Beds

Planting perennial flower beds has a lot of advantages for the home gardener. Perennials are very versatile. They come in all shapes and sizes, they come up every year without fail, and they fill in a garden like nothing else.

There are perennials that suit every hardiness zone. You'll find perennials to match every color scheme, and that fit every nook in your landscape.

Many plants used in perennial flower beds are familiar to many of us and some may be new. Who can remember an old fashioned cottage garden without Shasta daisies or delphiniums?

Many of the old favorites are perennials, and can be found at most nurseries.

New varieties are also being developed all the time. Be on the lookout for white Echinacea, which is stunning, or gold agastache.

Perennial Flower Ideas

If you are not sure if you like perennials, try planting a few here and there in your existing flower beds and live with them for awhile. If you have a shady spot, tuck in a sweet woodruff, with its sweet grassy scent and tiny white flowers.

If you have a sunny spot, try a small pot of fragrant lavender or Bachelor's Buttons. These small test plants will give you an idea of the maintenance your chosen perennials need, and of their growth habits.

Once you have tested a few in your garden, you may be ready to create your own perennial flower beds. You'll need to decide where this flower bed will be situated.

Will it get full sun, partial sun or shade? Once you have that figured out, you can enjoy pouring over plant catalogs and online sites, choosing from the many perennials that are available.

Once you’ve dug your bed and amended the soil, it is time to buy your plants. Take the time to read about them… you'll want some taller perennials for the back of the bed, and some shorter ones for the front.

You'll want to choose colors that complement each other and choose plants with foliage that adds more color or textural interest.

If your site is on the shady side, you can choose from delightful plants like dicentra (bleeding heart), sweet woodruff, trillium, hosta and ferns.

If your flower bed is part sun/part shade, your choices grow to include wonderful perennials like astilbe with its tall feathery colors, monkshood with its blue cowl-shaped blossoms and fragrant phlox.

A full sun garden would enjoy old-fashioned Shasta daisies, delphiniums, yarrow, anemones, camapanula, and more.

Once you've brought your plants home, group them by size. Remember to group them by the size they will grow to, not the size they may be currently.

Once you know what will get tall and what won't, start setting the pots out in the garden, trying to decide what would look good next to what.

If you have three kinds of yellows, do you want them clustered together, or broken up by that beautiful blue delphinium or that pink astilbe? Arrange and rearrange them until you are satisfied.

Perennial Plant Care and Planting Tips

Plant them at the depth they are in the pot, don't let them stick up above the soil more than they need to. When you're done, water them in well so they have a good drink to get them settled in. You may want to apply a time release fertilizer that will slowly dissolve each time you water to provide them with plenty of food.

Your perennial flower bed will need regular maintenance. Be sure to keep it weeded, and to deadhead or prune the plants as needed. As time passes, the small plants will spread and grow and fill in any bare spots. Some plants, like delphiniums, need to be replaced every few years. Others need to be controlled so they don't take over.

You may find as the season progresses that you need to move a few because they would look better elsewhere. Eventually, you'll get a garden that you love that looks good.

It will have a variety of color, textures and heights. The flowering time will extend as long as possible over the season, and you'll end up with plenty of perennial flowers to cut for the house.

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