A perennial lives for more than two, and sometimes for many, years. Perennials widely vary in growth habits. Some will die back to the ground at the end of their growing season, then reappear at the start of the next, like Hostas and some Ruellias. Others, like Coral Bells, Shasta daisy, and Agastache, go through the winter as small tufts of leaves ready to emerge with the oncoming of Spring. A third type of perennial is truly evergreen; it remains almost unchanged throughout the winter months. Armeria and Yucca are two examples. But something all perennials have in common is that they will have a green growing period, a bloom period, and a dormant period.
Perennials are fairly low maintenance; all they ask for is regular watering, general feeding, cleaning up any dead leaves, and deadheading (removal of finished flower).
Division of perennials that form suckers or clumps is sometimes necessary to rejuvenate overgrown plants and to improve blooming and overall appearance. Some examples of perennials to divide would be Daylilies, Red Hot Pokers, and Society Garlic. To divide them you simply cut 6 to 12 inches beyond the plant’s perimeter, dig under roots to free from the soil. Lift the whole clump. Use a sharp axe or shovel to cut the rootball into good-sized sections. Trim any damaged roots, stems, or leaves. Replant the divisions as soon as possible, then keep them well watered and use a root stimulator.
- Agastache (several varieties)
- Salvia (several hundred varieties)
- Lamb’s Ear
- Red Hot Poker
- Million Bells
- Shasta Daisy
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