A Beginners Guide to Perennials

When spring arrives the gardener in all of us awakes. Read on for some ideas on low-maintenance perennials to add beauty to your garden.

A Beginners Guide to Perennials

When spring arrives the gardener in all of us awakes. We're surrounded with beautiful spring blooms bursting onto the scene and summer buds just waiting for their turn to display their brilliant colors. For the novice gardener it can be difficult to know which are the best plants to choose for their yard. Read on for a list of some of the more tried and true perennials that will give you the most bang for your buck.

1. Sea Thrift

Sea Thrift blooms from spring to early summer. They produce spherical flowers in shades of pink or lilac on thin delicate stems. The color of the flowers contrasts beautifully with its dark green grass-like foliage. Diligent deadheading will yield repeat blooms. It's a hardy plant that thrives in sandy soil and full sun. Does well in coastal areas as they can tolerate those strong sea breezes.

2. Turtlehead

Turtlehead is a colorful flower that blooms from late summer to late fall in shades of pink, red or white. The flowers are unique in their shape as they truly look like little heads of turtles whose mouths are slightly parted. This is a hardy plant that is fairly undemanding and disease resistant. Deadheading is unnecessary. Turtlehead will perform well in most decent garden soil mixed with a bit of compost. If planting in a typically hot spot give the plant extra water to keep hydrated.

3. Daylilies

Daylilies bloom from mid-spring to fall and are among one of the easiest perennials to grow. They come in an abundance of colors ranging from pale cream to bright orange to dark maroon. They thrive in almost any environment and should be divided every couple of years as they multiply and spread. To do so, just dig up and replant right after they have flowered. They require little in the way of care or maintenance but do make sure they are well watered and fertilized in the spring when buds are setting up. They do best in full sun to light shade are consistent bloomers year after year.

4. Hosta

Hostas generally blooms all summer long and produce spiky bell shaped flowers in shades of purple or white. Despite the flowers that this plant produces, it's the foliage that is the real showstopper. Many species produce variegated leaves in beautiful shades of green and white. They are an extremely low maintenance and dependable plant that do great in the shade. Dividing is recommended every couple of years. If you have a shady spot, the Hosta is the plant for you. Plant these together with ferns for added interest and contrast.

5. Ornamental Grasses

Hardy and durable, Ornamental Grasses are practically trouble free plants. They come in a variety of species from low growing mounds to tall and billowing in the breeze. For the most part they enjoy full sun and plenty of water in their first growing season. After that however, they pretty much take care of themselves. They grow rapidly and look beautiful when used for height in any perennial bed.

6. Black Eyed Susans

Black Eyed Susans are a garden classic that are one of the easiest and most popular perennials to grow. They bloom from midsummer to late fall and thrive in full sun to partial shade in most any soil. With it's daisy like shape the flowers are golden yellow with black centers and look beautiful when used in old-fashioned cottage gardens. A very hardy and reliable "wildflower.

7. Coral Bells

Coral Bells are sturdy high performance plants, which produce colorful and spectacular wrinkled foliage. The plant also produces tiny bell shaped flowers that bloom in early summer. Colors range from white to pink. Enjoys partial sun to partial shade and thrives in soil that has been amended with plenty of organic matter.

8. Serbian Bellflower

Just what every garden needs. The Serbian Bellflower is an old fashioned favorite that grows low to the ground and produces blue-violet flowers that burst onto the scene in June. They enjoy full sun to partial shade and thrive in most decent garden soil. They are fairly disease resistant and drought tolerant. This plant looks beautiful when trailing down a rock wall. A word of caution, however, this plant will grow rapidly, so place it carefully.

9. Fern Leaf Bleeding Heart

Bleeding Hearts enjoy an elaborate and delicate design in shades of pink and white. They have only a short bloom time beginning in the spring but are still a perennial favorite with their fern-like foliage. They are perfect for a shady spot in the garden and will thrive in soil that's been amended well with organic matter. Consistent deadheading will prevent them from going to seed.

10. Globe Thistle

Globe Thistles bloom from early summer to early fall and produce globe-like flowers in shades of blue or white. They have a strong garden presence and are undemanding to grow. They require no deadheading or dividing and grow best in full sun to part shade. An added bonus…these flowers love poor, dry soil.

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