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Choosing a Perennial Plant

Perennials come in all shapes and sizes and are essential plants for any garden. Because they return every year, they are economical and practical choices. When shopping for flowers, knowing how to choose plants for your perennial garden will help you choose the right ones for you.

Understand the characteristics of perennials.
Perennials will last a long time in your garden. Some, like day lillies, will spread so you will get many plants from the first one you've purchased.
Blooming time is shorter than that of annuals. Many perennials bloom only one time a year, so you need to have other plants nearby to ensure continuous color.
Most perennials are hardy and easy to care for. But be sure the plant is suitable for your climate.

Match the perennial plant to the right site in your yard.
Be sure sun lovers will have plenty of light and shade plants are kept cool.
Make sure the soil is the correct type for your perennial plant. Pick your perennial to match your soil. For example, lavender grows best in sandy soil while hostas need a rich, loamy soil.

Orchestrate your perennial plants so that one starts blooming when another has finished. Many perennials are seasonal. Choose spring, summer and autumn flowers and plant them next to each other.
Sometimes you can buy packages of seed mixtures designed to do this for you. The idea is to have flowers blooming constantly during the growing season.
Consult with someone at the local garden center about which plants to buy and plant together to achieve this end.

lant your perennials carefully to ensure they will live and flourish.
Follow planting directions as to the size of the hole and placement of the plant. Because many perennials tend to spread, leave enough room between your plants.
Add plenty of mulch to cut down on weeds and conserve moisture.
Fertilize sparingly or use a very mild fertilizer.
Check the soil in your garden bed to ensure there is good drainage. Test your soil to see if it is too heavy or sandy, and amend it as needed.
Plant taller perennials in the back and shorter ones in the front of your garden bed to ensure their visibility.

Schedule time to tend to your perennials. Although most perennial plants are low maintenance, you will still need to water, deadhead, and prune them regularly. Also check for disease or pests and stop the problem early.

Consider planting perennials in containers and bring them in over the winter.
Perennials tend to be drought tolerant and don't need as much water as do many annuals. Since plants in containers dry out quickly, perennials make a good choice for container gardening.
Be sure to provide a container large enough to accommodate their spreading root system.
Divide your plant from time to time and use the sections to plant in your garden, share with friends, or put into another container.