What are Perennial Plants?

There is an astounding number of perennial plants to choose from, which can make picking just one a difficult and overwhelming decision. With this in mind, it’s wise to start with the classics – especially if you’re a beginner!

Read on to discover more about these plants, including tips on how to grow perennials, the easiest species to nurture, whether they’re able to thrive in pots, and how to choose the right one for your garden…

Shade-loving perennials

When it comes to deciding what perennial plants like shade, it’s important to do your research, as there are so many variants available. Astilbes are said to be one of the easiest perennial plants to grow and they’re also one of the variants that prefer shade.

If you only have a sheltered garden to work with, this species is a must. The flowers are extremely pretty and will add an instant injection of color to any garden. They come in shades of purple, salmon, white, pink, lavender, and red hues and work well when grown in borders and when lining pathways.

There are a number of other shade-loving options to choose from too, all of which are a godsend to gardeners with only shade-drenched outdoor spaces to work with. The majority of these species tend to only feature colorful foliage, although some boast a series of hot-hued flowers.

A few of these options include the following:

  • Bleeding Heart
  • Astilbe
  • Hosta
  • Hydrangea
  • Liriope
  • Christmas Fern
  • Lenten Rose
  • Creeping Jenny
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Vinca

What is a perennial plant?

Many people, even those who are keen gardeners, ask the question: ‘What are perennial plants?’ The answer – a plant that lives for a long period of time when cared for in the correct manner. In fact, they will continue to bloom year after year if provided with the right location, soil, and lighting conditions.

The majority of perennial plants in the UK tend to live for more than two years and the word ‘perennial’ is the word used to differentiate plants from shorter-lived annual species.

Trees and shrubs will fall into the perennial category, while the likes of plants with little or no woody growth are often determined as ‘annuals’.

How to care for perennial plants

All species of perennial plants will require a slightly different method of care. This is why it’s extremely important to do your research before investing in particular species of plant.

For example, some are able to flourish in the shade and poor soil, whilst other species require full sunlight and a rich soil matter.

If you’re unsure of which perennials may be the best choice for your garden or outdoor space, inquire at your nearby garden center or seek advice from a local or online florist.

How to choose perennial plants

Choose perennial plants based on the location and environment you’re able to provide them with. Once you have narrowed this down, only then should you consider hue and style. Try to pick a plant that will complement your existing garden offerings for the best results. It’s a good idea to check which plants grow in harmony too, as certain species will steal the nutrients of others.

Are perennial plants easy to grow?

If you’re willing to do your research, perennials can be extremely easy to grow. Like any plant, they take a little effort but the end result is well worth it!

Yarrow is one of the easiest perennials to grow, which makes it a great choice for beginner gardeners and those looking for a low-maintenance option.

In order to thrive, it simply requires well-drained soil (this can even be poor soil) and full sunlight, which means it’s important to pick the plant’s location wisely. Although it seems unlikely, Yarrow grown in rich soil is likely to become too tall and therefore unstable.

Other perennials that are easy to grow to include:

  • Black-Eyed Susan
  • Salvia
  • Coreopsis
  • Purple Coneflower
  • Peony
  • Sedum
  • Bearded Iris
  • Daylily
  • Lily
  • Hosta

What perennial plants to plant in fall?

If you’re wondering when can perennial plants be planted, they have a better chance of thriving when planted in the spring months between March and early May. However, they can also be planted in the autumn, from late September to the end of October. They thrive in the ground that is moist and have a better chance of survival when planted at optimal times.

The likes of spring-blooming bulbs, turfgrass, cool-season vegetables, trees, and shrubs are all good options for fall. In fact, autumn has a number of planting benefits associated with it, including warm soil, a cooler air temperature, and less chance of ground freeze.

When planting seeds, look to avoid periods of frost and note that growth may take a while to show.

Can you plant perennial plants in a pot?

When planting perennials, the rule of thumb is generally the bigger the pot, the better! This is mainly down to the fact perennials boast larger root systems than that of annuals, and because of these oversized roots, require more space to grow. In addition to this, perennials placed in bigger pots have a better chance of overwintering successfully.

Should your perennial plants become too big for their pot, you could opt to move them to a larger vessel although this should be done very carefully to avoid damaging the roots.

Where can I buy perennial plants?

Perennial plants are available from a variety of places, including garden centers, your local nursery, and online. Whether you’re buying them as a gift or for yours truly, it’s important to choose wisely.

Think about the location you intend to put them in, ensure you have the correct soil and a set of care instructions, as well as the right amount of space. Ticking all of these boxes will safeguard the lifespan of your plants, ensuring they flourish year after year.

Start growing some plants. Should you prefer flowers or plants, garden centers, and online florists have an abundance of choice, many of which offer same and next-day flower delivery.


Lily Calyx is our in-house flower whisperer, an expert on all things botanical and an enthusiastic orchids collector. She loves discussing the insights of the secret world of flowers, shares her gardening tips and hacks and moons over the latest additions to Serenata Flowers flower range. Ask Lily anything about flowers and we can guarantee she will have the answer.

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