By Kathy Burns-Millyard
Perennial plants and flowers stay around for more than just one gardening season. Some of them bloom again for only about 3 years, while others will continue to bloom for many years to come.
Now sometimes the first year you plant a perennial, you won't be overly impressed. You see, that first year the plants need to get used to the new environment. Some of them will produce blooms that first year, but some of them won't do a thing until at least the second year. And that's when you start seeing progress too. The perennial plants and flowers start really filling out and taking hold in the second year. And by the third year, they're so well established you'll look like a gardening pro.
When planting perennials - as with any plant, flower, shrub, bush or tree - you need to choose a location for the plant based on soil quality, water availability, and sunlight. Once you have the location chosen, plant your perennials with plenty of room for them to grow over the years. If you put them too closely together in the beginning, you'll find yourself moving them frequently as time goes by.
Planting them with room to grow will make your perennial garden look sparse though, so you may be unhappy with it after you're done. One way to help fill in the bare spots, and add some quick color, would be to scatter annuals in between.
Annual plants and flowers tend to grow and bloom for just one gardening season. They grow quickly though, and some of them flower for months on end. This makes them very popular with many gardeners.
Since annuals don't usually come back on their own in the next season, you won't have to worry about crowding out your budding perennial plants. So that first year when they look straggly and sparse, mix in some annuals to liven things up. Then when the second year comes along, if you still have a few bare spots: plant a few more annuals. You'll probably need less this second year of course, because the perennials have started to flourish. By the third year, the perennials should be doing quite well on their own... so you won't even have room to plant annuals in your perennial garden bed!
Popular perennial plants and flowers include: Calla Lilies, Coral Bells, Hibiscus, and Hosta.
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