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Perennials Plants: What Are They?

Wall Trough with Liner
Wall Trough with Liner


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The main difference between perennials and annuals is that perennials re-grow year after year so you don’t have to buy new flowers every spring. They also last approximately two full growing seasons. They tend not to be woody and, once mature, rather than getting taller they spread and increase in numbers.

Certain hardy herbaceous perennials will die in the winter with only their roots and buds surviving, until the spring time, where they return to their active growth cycle. Some hardy perennials will live only about 2 to 3 years while other perennials, like iris and peony, will last decades.

Just as with annuals, perennials vary in height, foliage, color, and shapes. Some perennials are known to have reached heights of 6 feet and others spread in numerous amounts and literally carpet the ground. The foliage may be large, small, rough, or round.

Edible perennials include artichokes, asparagus, strawberries, oregano, and mint.

Seasonal Considerations

Most perennials tend to bloom only for a period of a week or two. Other perennials have longer blooming periods that can flourish either in the spring, summer, fall, or even winter time.

Flowers that grow in the woodland areas, such as Virginia Bluebells, bloom very early in the spring because they consume as much sunlight as possible before the deciduous trees cover the canopy and block the sunlight.

Perennials tend to grow larger and expand wider every year. To allow them to grow well, you might need to do a bit of surgery from time to time. Dig up the root clump, divide it into sections, and replant the best segment in fresh soil. This can also provide you with a harvest of new plants to utilize elsewhere in the garden.

Appearances of Perennials

Green Tip:

Prevent Erosion by using plants that cover the entire ground surface. Erosion removes the top soil and can clog waterways with it.


The shape of the plant is an important consideration. Your garden will look natural and interesting if you use varying forms of perennials. Arching or rounded plants and ground hugging mats create visual variety whether the plants are in bloom or dormant.


To increase your garden’s beauty, add different textured perennials. Situating plants with larger bolder leaves next to plants with feathered foliage will develop an impressive garden.


Perennials have different patterns of colors and tones that are too numerous to count. There are flowers and foliage that have spots, splotches, and strips of varying kinds. There are flowers that have two toned colors with the outer pedal being a different color than the inner pedal. There might be several colors on the same pedal or it can be a solid color.