All About Perennial Flowers and Plants

Are you new to gardening and wondering what plants to add to your garden? Perennials may be the perfect choice for you!

What are Perennials?

Perennials are plants that live for more than two years and typically bloom annually. This means that you only have to plant them once, and they will come back year after year, providing you with a beautiful display of flowers or foliage.

Before selecting perennials, be sure to consult the USDA Hardiness Zone Map to identify your growing zone. By planting perennials recommended for your Zone, you will simplify your gardening routines, improve your results, and have our guarantee of success when you buy from Jackson & Perkins because, when you shop by Zone, the plants are acclimated to your environment and growing conditions. Each perennial product page on our website and in our catalog will list the Zones in which our plants are hardy.


Benefits of Planting Perennials

There are many benefits to planting perennials in your garden. Here are just a few:

  • Low Maintenance: Perennials require less maintenance than annuals, which need to be replanted every year. Once established, perennials only need occasional watering and fertilizing to thrive.
  • Variety: There are thousands of varieties of perennials to choose from, ranging in size, shape, and color. You can easily find a perennial to suit your specific gardening needs and style.
  • Attract Pollinators: Many perennials, such as coneflowers and black-eyed Susans, are great for attracting bees, butterflies, and other pollinators to your garden.
  • Adaptability: Perennials can adapt to a variety of soil and light conditions, making them a suitable choice for many different types of gardens.
  • Value: While perennials may have a higher initial cost than annuals, they will save you money in the long run as you don't have to replant them every year.

Types of Perennials

There are many different types of perennials to choose from, including:

  • Herbaceous perennials: These are plants with soft, green stems that die back to the ground in the winter. Examples include daylilies and hostas.
  • Woody perennials: These are plants with woody stems that remain standing throughout the winter. Examples include roses and shrubbery.
  • Bulb perennials: These are plants that grow from bulbs, such as daffodils, tulips, and cannas.


Choosing the Right Perennials for Your Garden

When choosing perennials for your garden, consider the following factors:

  • Climate: Make sure to choose perennials that are suitable for your specific climate. Enter your zip code in our Hardiness Zone map to identify your growing zone.
  • Tip: If you create an account, you’ll see the “Grows in My Zone” flag on the product images each time you visit the site.

  • Sunlight: Consider the amount of sunlight that different areas of your garden receive and choose plants that thrive in those conditions.
  • Tip: Full sun perennials require at least 6 hours of direct sun per day. Part-shade, 4 to 6 hours of direct sun per day. Shade perennials need 4 or fewer hours of direct sun per day.

  • Soil: Check the pH and nutrient levels of your soil and choose perennials that are compatible.
  • Tip: Soil test kits analyze your soil’s nutrient profile. Local agricultural extension offices will test your soil sample and provide information on amendments for a fee.

  • Space: Be mindful of the mature size of the perennials you are considering and choose plants that will fit in the designated space.
  • Tip: Think about the mature size of plants and what will fit in your garden, not the number of plants for a space.

By considering these factors, you can choose the best perennials for your garden and enjoy their beauty for years to come.

How Perennials Grow

Perennials generally have a dormant period during the winter months, during which the plant's above-ground growth dies back. The plant's roots, however, remain alive and continue to grow and store energy for the next growing season. In the spring, the plant begins to grow again, using the stored energy from its roots to produce new above-ground growth.

Some perennials, such as bulb plants, have a specific growth pattern. Bulbs, such as daffodils and tulips, are underground storage structures that contain all the nutrients and energy the plant needs to grow. In the spring, the bulb will produce leaves and flowers, using up the stored energy. As the leaves and flowers die back, the bulb will begin to store energy again, preparing for the next growing season.

Other perennials, such as herbaceous perennials, may die back to the ground in the winter but will regrow from the same root system in the spring. Still, others, such as woody perennials, will remain standing throughout the winter and produce new growth from the same root system in the spring.

To encourage healthy growth and ensure that your perennials come back year after year, it is important to follow proper care instructions for your specific plants. This may include watering, fertilizing, pruning, and protecting from pests and diseases. Our plants arrive with complete instructions and our website provides even more growing information.

Whether you’re a beginning gardener or expert, plant with confidence because, when you shop with Jackson & Perkins, you’ll have our guarantee of success when you grow plants recommended for your hardiness zone.

Give them a try in your garden. Your future self (and the pollinators) will thank you.