Perennial flowers are the home gardener’s best-kept secret for a bright, blossom-filled landscape year after year.
If you’re new to growing outdoor flowers, you may have some questions about different species of plants and how best to care for them. The Utah gardening experts at Millcreek Gardens have assembled this handy fact sheet to take some of the mystery out of selecting, planting and caring for perennial flowers.
Perennial Flowers vs. Annual Flowers: What’s the Difference?
Annual plant species, as you probably know, grow for a single season and die off. The downside is that you must plant a new crop each year. However, annual flowers do allow you to change up your garden or landscape with different colors and varieties of plants.
Perennials, given the proper care, continue to grow and flower for many years. Most become dormant during the cold months, only to emerge anew in the spring.
Annuals require little care, and most can be grown outside of their native growth zones. Perennials, on the other hand, require fertilizer and mulch each year. It can be difficult – or impossible, in some cases – to grow perennials successfully outside of their native growing zone.
Using Perennial Plants in Your Garden or Landscape
Annual flowers require little thought, planning or preparation. Because they only have one season to grow, you don’t have to worry about how large they will eventually become or whether they will interfere with other plants in your garden.
When you select perennial flowers, however, it’s important to understand how large they will become at maturity, so you can allow plenty of room. Prior to planting perennials, you must add the proper soil amendments and periodically fertilize and mulch to maintain their health.
You must also consider their needs for shade or sunlight as well as water requirements. If your perennials are subject to freezing during the winter, you may also need to provide them with cover or protection.
Many gardeners and landscape designers like to mix annual flowers with perennial plants. This gives you the flexibility to change the look and character of your landscaping each year without the hassle of starting from scratch every time.
The Best Perennial Flowers for Beginners
When you choose those perennial plants that bloom all summer long, you maximize the beauty of your landscaping and minimize your own time and effort in the garden.
The Hummingbird Fuchsia plant is a type of ground cover that spreads across the garden. With orange and red blossoms, it will attract pollinators (bees, butterflies) as well as hummingbirds to your yard.
Many Utah gardeners swear by the Bee Balm plant. Bee Balm, also known as Monarda, produces beautiful red flowers that butterflies and bees adore. A medium height perennial, Bee Balm also spreads naturally in the garden if you allow it to.
Gaura is a taller variety of perennial flower that blooms from late spring until the weather turns cold. Available in white and pink varieties, this species is perfect for creating visual interest in your planting beds.
For shady areas, choose Coral Bells and Hosta.
In the Salt Lake City area, visit Millcreek Gardens today for all of the gardening supplies you need. Our friendly, experienced staff can help you choose the perfect shrubs, trees and perennial flowers for this year’s garden.