Perennial Plants

Perennial Plants

In this section we will talk about perennials, that is, those that live more than two years; these plants enrich the gardens with wonderful colors especially in the autumn season and give splendid flowers in spring and summer. This type of plant does not require difficult care, it must be planted during the winter season and the propagation operation is carried out in the months of March or September. During the autumn season, the perennial plants are subjected to some interventions that guarantee the growth of new and luxuriant vegetation during the spring; in autumn, therefore, the mulching operation will also be carried out, which consists in covering the soil with material to prevent the growth of weeds, not to dry out the soil and to keep it at the right humidity. In the various articles we will explain and give you some tips for a correct cultivation, ... continue


Articles on: Perennial Plants

continue ..., in order to obtain beautiful and healthy plants, the right soil, the most used techniques and the possible diseases and parasites that are enemies of this type of plant. As for the placement of perennials, in this section we will also give you advice on this, one of which will be to never expose these plants to the east, the first sun would burn the leaves and flowers. A feature of the perennials is that, once they reach adulthood, they can be useful in avoiding the formation of weeds. Between these types of plants we will also talk about ardisia, a houseplant that develops very slowly and that, many times, in the Christmas period, thanks to its beautiful red berries, replaces the poinsettia in our homes, there are also numerous species of ardisia and, in this section, we will talk about the main ones. We will increase your knowledge about the heather plant, an evergreen shrub-type plant that in Italy is grown mainly in the peninsular areas, we will also talk about its antiseptic properties, very useful decoctions against annoying ailments such as cystitis and diarrhea and its wood which in the past was widely used for the manufacture of pipes (thanks to its high resistance to fire) and brooms. The heather plant is also used to build amulets and talismans useful against bad luck. It is said that burning dried leaves and twigs of this plant are a great way to ward off or fight bad spirits, negativity and malice. According to ancient beliefs, the heather plant was the home of the fairies. For this reason it was largely not recommended to rest near the shrub to prevent them from kidnapping the individual or influencing him in some way. According to other versions, due to legends, the plant had the power to open the doors to the afterlife.


Next, we will discover which evergreen flowering plants are most suitable for decorating green spaces, citing those that are the best known and most suitable for creating a harmonious composition, able to persist over time.

Petunia

Petunia is a perennial plant native to South America, characterized by very brightly colored flowers.

It tends to thrive both with an erect growth as a bush and in a sagging mode, depending on how long the stems are allowed to grow, which can vary between 20cm and 60cm in length.

Preferring a mild climate, it is advisable to sow the petunias between February and March, first placing the plant in pots, and then transplanting it into the soil of your garden, once it has grown, during the first spring heat at this point, it is recommended to plant petunias in areas that are particularly sunny and sheltered from the wind.

The soil to be used must always be well drained and rich in organic substances, especially potassium, taking care to water the petunias frequently, especially during the hottest seasons, to prevent them from wilting due to too much drought. The inflorescences of petunias include a very wide variety of colors, the main flowers are purple, lilac, or white, all with the typical trumpet shape.

Echinacea

This perennial plant, native to North America, is heavily used for ornamental purposes due to the beauty of its inflorescences.

It is a particularly versatile plant, capable of easily adapting to climate change and therefore growing, even in disparate geographical areas, both in the presence of mild climates and extremely cold temperatures.

The echinaceae, diversified into nine different species, do not require special care as they adapt easily to all types of soil, preferring, in particular, rather sunny areas, in the plains as in the highlands, where they very often grow even spontaneously. especially in the presence of fertile and well-drained soils.

Also this plant, like the previous one, has a basically erect posture, with stems of variable length between 50cm and 150cm, while the leaves are present both at the base of the flowers and along the stems.

Echinacea is also particularly known for its precious medicinal properties, which have made it a fundamental ingredient of many pharmaceutical and plant protection products, both for external and internal use.

As for its external use, echinacea is used in various ointments and ointments, due to its strong healing and anti-inflammatory power for internal use, however, we find echinacea extract in many tablets and herbal teas, useful as adjuvants in the treatment of flu and cold symptoms, thanks to the calming and decongestant properties of echinacea, as well as its renowned ability to strengthen the immune system.

Lavender

It is one of the most popular flowering perennials ever, thanks to its aromatic and medicinal properties.

In fact, its flowers have an unmistakable, almost pungent scent, so much so that it is pleasant for some and annoying, in the long run, for others.

For these reasons, lavender is often used both for ornamental purposes and to perfume the environments outside the houses, but precisely because of its pungent smell, it is often also used as a natural repellent, to repel insects of various types, especially mosquitoes. .

The lavender inflorescences are outlined in groups, near the tips of long spikes, which start from the central stems and branch out all around, with a dense and bushy pattern.

The most common color of lavender flowers is undoubtedly violet blue, but there are also plants with purple or white inflorescences, a variety of colors with an unmistakable scent that can certainly be exploited for the creation of beautiful compositions with variegated colors.

The lavender plant, or Lavender, as it has been called since ancient times, is widespread throughout the world and includes various species, many of which are Italian.

These are evergreens characterized by thick and woody roots and by a predominantly shrubby nature, with great capacity for climatic adaptation, all elements that allow lavender to often grow even in a completely spontaneous way, in wild contexts.

For those who want to sow this beautiful plant, the most suitable period is spring or autumn.

Lavender is undoubtedly one of the most precious and appreciated medicinal plants, especially because of its therapeutic properties, among which the most important are analgesic, antiseptic, sedative and vasodilating ones, useful for the treatment of flu symptoms, muscle pain and other pathologies.

Lavender essence is also one of the most used in aromatherapy, boasting relaxing and antidepressant properties, while lavender drying is a fairly common practice, mostly used for the creation of various types of perfume.

Carnation

Carnation is a perennial flowering plant of herbaceous nature, of Greek and Iranian origin.

Nowadays the most common carnations are garden ones, descendants of Dianthus caryophyllus, of wild origin many varieties of carnations currently on the market, moreover, have been obtained through the research of genetic improvements mainly concerning the coloring of the blooms.

The original color of carnation flowers, in fact, is an intense pink tending to purple, but there are also carnation plants with orange, yellow, white and even blue inflorescences, an impossible color for the natural carnation, which cannot produce the responsible pigment: delphinidin.

Carnation plants have semi-gnarled stems, which can be up to about 50-80cm in length, and thinly shaped gray-green leaves, about 15cm in size.

The growth of the carnation plant starts from a main root that anchors itself to the ground and then stops developing, leaving room for the formation of lateral secondary roots.

In optimal living conditions, i.e. in the presence of a lot of sun and a well-drained and balanced soil from an alkaline point of view, the carnation plant tends to re-bloom, producing up to 7-8 blooms, during the course of the year. .

The ideal cultivation of carnation takes place in the presence of a temperate climate, in a position well sheltered from the wind it is a plant that does not like excessive cold, therefore, in the presence of too cold winter temperatures, it is always better to plant the carnation in pot , so you can easily take it to cover when needed.

Furthermore, the carnation flower has always played a symbolic role of great importance in the context of different cultures, both Western and Eastern, representing, depending on the traditions, love, luck and personality. This has led to the carnation plant becoming protagonist, for 2000 years, of intensive cultivation all over the world.

Heather

Heather is a very common needle-leaved plant, belonging to the Ericaceae family.

Most of the heather species originate from the southernmost lands of Africa, while other minor species come from different areas of the African continent and from the Mediterranean areas of Europe.

It is a particularly resistant perennial plant, of a shrubby nature, generally not too high, with the exception of the herbaceous and scoparia species, which can reach up to 6-7m in height.

The most common heather is certainly the one with purple inflorescences, tending to purple, but it can also be found with white, red and light pink blooms. These flowers appear in clusters, with a bell-shaped shape, of small size.

The heather inflorescences are numerous and arise in dense and continuous groups, making this perennial plant particularly ground cover and therefore useful for decorating flower beds and effectively filling empty areas at the foot of our garden.

Popular beliefs attribute to heather anti-inflammatory powers, however there is no scientific evidence in this regard. We know for sure instead that heather is a melliferous plant and therefore allows the production of an excellent monofloral honey.

Oleander

The evergreen oleander plant is shrubby in nature and has erect stems that tend to bend during growth.

It is particularly common in the Mediterranean regions although it seems to have more distant origins, linked to Asia.

It is a perennial plant with a rustic character, which does not require special care, but is quite afraid of the cold.

Therefore, the ideal is to use it for ornamental purposes, creating compositions of oleander placed in usually sunny areas during most hours of the day.

Despite the beauty of its inflorescences, the oleander is a particularly toxic plant for all animal species, therefore it must be placed with caution, especially if you have pets in the garden.

Campanula

With their collected shape similar to that of a small bell, the flowers of this perennial are truly unmistakable.

This evergreen plant, usually perennial or in any case biennial, is very common in gardens and flower beds, with flowers of a very intense violet blue color, or white, in the remaining majority of cases.

The plant can be grown in pots, with a rather low height of about 5cm, or in the ground, as a bushy shrub, up to a maximum height of about 2m.

It is a plant that tends to grow extremely quickly without requiring too much care, therefore it is used above all to cover the empty spaces that are created at the foot of deciduous plants, or for the decoration of flower beds and enclosure spaces.

The stems, erect and usually not very branchy, articulate giving life to small cauline leaves, while the roots, robust and resistant, are surmounted by larger leaves, which define the base of the plant.

If you choose to create a composition of bluebells, the resulting effect will certainly be spectacular, thanks to the high ground cover tendency of this flowering perennial, which makes it ideal for creating beautiful floral cushions in gardens and flower beds. of every type.

Geranium

It is a perennial plant native to southern Africa, which thanks to its shrubby or herbaceous nature is particularly suitable for growing in pots, on balconies.

In nature there are several species of geranium, distinguishable mainly according to the characteristics of the flowers and leaves.

The most common species of geranium are undoubtedly the zonal Pelargonium, characterized by large leaves with hairy pigmentation and the shape that resembles a heart, and the Pelargonium peltatum, commonly called ivy geranium, which as the term suggests has a climbing nature and therefore can be effectively used for vertical cultivation and for the creation of cascading compositions.

Geranium is a versatile but at the same time delicate plant: in fact it prefers sunny areas but does not like too direct sun, as it easily tends to deteriorate, as well as prefers a fertilized soil, but never too humid it is therefore good to water the geraniums with constancy, especially in spring and summer, but never overdoing it, to prevent the plant from rotting.

Geranium also boasts important officinal properties, in fact it is often used as an ingredient in herbal teas and decoctions useful for relaxation and rebalancing of the nervous and lymphatic system, it is also used in natural cosmetics, for the creation of specific products to fight acne and for treat eczema and burns.

Edelweiss

Symbol of the mountains of the Alps, the Edelweiss, or Leontopodium, is a unique flowering perennial plant, characterized by an inflorescence of renowned beauty, with the typical star shape from which it takes its name.

As is well known, it is a mountain flower, which prefers steep and rocky terrain in fact it is possible to find Edelweiss on many reliefs, in addition to the aforementioned European Alps: in Italy there are in fact many Edelweiss also in the Abruzzese Apennines, while in the rest of the world we find them in the Andes and in the mountainous territories of China and Japan, from which it seems that the Edelweiss actually originated.

For this reason, there are many species of Leontopodia in the world, most of which can be traced above all in Asia.

These plants with precious flowers are nowadays commonly available and it is not difficult to cultivate them in the presence of any soil that respects the above-mentioned characteristics, it will be enough to have the simple care of planting them in a rather arid climate and always positioning them in a northerly direction.


Perennials: what are they

Generally the plants are divided into annuals, biennials, perennials.
Perennials are those that have a life cycle over two years. Within this category we find plants that live three or four years, another ten, up to centenary trees.

In order for them to survive by repeating the vegetative cycle, the climatic conditions must be favorable, as similar as possible to those of their distribution areas.

Not to be confused perennials with evergreens: They are not the same thing. There are evergreens that are not perennial and vice versa. They include shrubs, trees, aromatic and flowering plants perennials.


Perennials: evergreen, shrub, full sun and cold resistant

The perennial cries they are of different types, are often found in flower beds, and are classified according to the following characteristics:

  • evergreen
  • shrubs
  • full sun
  • cold resistant

If you have not yet decided which one of the perennials cultivate, here are some species to choose from:


How to choose evergreen perennial garden plants

As mentioned above, the choice of the garden plant depends on some factors, and basically on how much time can be devoted to these plants, the type of care they need and the nature of the garden in which they will be planted.

It is true that evergreens are so called because they always have leaves, but this does not mean that they are 'immortal' or that they do not need care like any other plant.

Then there are plants that must stay in the sun, others that prefer half shade and others that prefer acidic or humid soils.
In general, to choose an evergreen plant adequately, these indications should be kept in mind:

  • the location: if the plant is intended to create a hedge or a flower bed, then anemone or hellebore can be fine
  • the cover: if the plant is used to cover a surrounding wall and therefore act as a dense cover, it is good to prefer a plant such as hibiscus
  • use: if you want plants that adorn and also release a scent, because they may be located near the patio, go ahead with sage, lavender or laurel.

Once the destination has been established, it is also good to inquire about the necessary exposure and pruning and watering.
In fact, a wrong practice can compromise the health of the plant.

Since there are several possible cases, and each plant has specific needs, we see 7 examples of evergreen perennials, with their specific needs and characteristics.

Tree heather

Among the perennial garden plants for full sun we mention the Erica arborea. It has a slow growth but can even reach 4 meters in height. The tree heather is recognized because it has small, dark leaves, and its small flowers bloom in late winter.

They are characterized by having a delicate but intense scent and a white (or pink depending on the species) color. It is a very resistant plant and therefore suitable for outdoors, so much so that pipes are obtained from the wood of its stem (the briar).

It wants a lot of light but not direct sun especially in the hottest hours, and prefers acid soils (even if it survives in calcareous ones). It should be watered regularly but care must be taken not to create damp stagnations, favorable to the development of molds and parasites.

Lavender: one of the most fragrant perennial garden plants

Who doesn't know the wonderful lavender fields of Provence? When we talk about perennial garden plants, we are not just referring to the leaves of course. Evergreens are those non-deciduous plants, which do not lose their foliage if not in limited quantities, and are also defined as perennial when they live more than two years.

However, they can have, and often do, perennial flowers. Also because if a plant does not bloom it cannot survive and reproduce.

Lavender is a perfect decorative plant, very fragrant and natural anti mosquito. It prefers very wide corners, where it can develop in all its beauty and grandeur.

It grows very quickly and requires plenty of water especially in the early years. Pruning takes place in two moments: at the end of summer the tops must be cut, while at the end of winter the dry branches must be cut so that the plant does not lignify.

The Carnation: the perennial garden plant with many colors

If you decide to graft lavender, perennial border garden plants can also be placed next to it, in order to create a color area of ​​considerable suggestion.

Perfect in paths and hedges, they bloom in summer and also in spring.
In particular, the carnation ensures a flowering of varying intensity, ranging from the purest white to the most flamboyant red.

The carnation asks for water every 2-3 days, but always avoiding stagnation that can rot the roots. In summer, it can also be watered once a day but never during the hottest hours. If the carnation is in excellent health it can give a lot of satisfaction, reaching to flower even 6-7 times in a single year.

The soil he prefers is alkaline, so beware of acidic environments. For example, it should not be placed under fir trees or pines, which tend to acidify the earth below with the needles that fall.
It should also be sheltered from the wind and covered in the colder months.

Oleander: the king of ornaments

It often happens to see rows of lush oleanders in pink, red or white colors along the coasts.

It is a shrubby evergreen plant that prefers temperate climates. It should be sheltered from the cold, but apart from that it is a resistant plant that does not require special care. If there are areas in the garden exposed to the sun that need to be filled with ornamental plants, oleander is certainly the best choice.

But be careful if there are pets, because the flowers of this plant can be toxic to them. The soil must always be well watered but without stagnation.

Special care must be taken for the first 2-3 years in order to make it take root in the best possible way. So you will have to prepare a canopy if in the hottest hours the plant gets direct sun, and you will have to water it often and regularly to promote growth.

After this period, the plant will be very resistant and will not need special attention.

Holly: perfect for the cold

Among the perennial garden plants that resist the cold, holly is one of the most popular.
It can reach, if not cut and pruned, even 10 meters in height, and it resists very well to cold temperatures.

The leaves take on a beautiful bright green color, and can be recognized by the small spines which are provided with those that grow on the lower part of the shrub. This is a natural defense against animals, but can be stinging for cats and dogs. The foliage that develops, when the shrub is well kept, is perfect as an ornament, and when the fruits are born, they take on the appearance of small red and rounded berries.

Holly is associated with holidays, and is said to be a good omen at home. One more reason to plant it.
Among other things, the holly does not ask for excessive care, if not a sandy and well-drained soil, with a hint of acidity. It is the classic plant that is good for partial shade, and can also withstand temperatures that drop well below zero.

Despite this, it resists well even in the heat, always on condition that it is watered regularly. Once a few years have passed and the plant has taken root well, it can only be watered in summer and in the hottest and driest moments.

Among the perennial garden plants we find the Campanula with its varieties

Among the ground cover perennials, the bellflower enters by right as one of the most beautiful and versatile, so much so that there are various qualities.
The right time to plant it in the garden is spring, and the best way to make it take root is to water it regularly but always draining the soil, insisting in particular during the summer to keep it from drying out.

Once it has taken root, the bluebell will become very hardy.
However, you should have the foresight to prepare a suitable ground for it.

The earth in which to plant it should be dug deeply to facilitate the radical branching and of the alkaline type, therefore not acidic. It would then be useful to add pumice stone in the hole, in order to favor the release of minerals and calcium in the soil. At the bottom of the hole then, before planting the plant, you will have to place some gravel. The seedlings should be planted at least half a meter apart because the roots develop in a capillary manner.

The geranium for the balconies

Let's end with one of the best known and loved plants: geranium.

If we think of resistant houseplants or to be used on the balcony, the first that comes to mind is definitely the geranium.

Just think of mountain huts to visualize balconies full of cascading geraniums that decorate and embellish a window sill or terrace.

Not everyone knows that the plant, however, is native to Africa.
In fact it does not fear the heat and even in the height of summer it endures long periods of drought.
The fact that it also takes root in the mountains depends on the qualities. For example, the classic geraniums that are seen in pots are defined as 'French' (scientific name Pelargonium peltatum), precisely the cascading ones, which are also more resistant to cold.

The most common geranium is that of the 'Pelargonium zonale' species, of different colors from white to red.
Geranium should not be watered excessively, as it can withstand even days without water. Above all, it does not tolerate too humid soils, which lead to the roots to rot.

A tip: geraniums get along well with roses from the point of view of cultivation, and can therefore be planted on the ground close together.

An evergreen perennial plant in the garden is an always appreciated choice, also due to the many properties of the plants themselves.
The green color, according to chromotherapy, relaxes and relaxes the nerves. Furthermore, medicinal compounds can be obtained from many of these plants.

The same geranium can be used to prepare a herbal tea that acts positively on the nervous system by eliminating stress. In cream, it is also useful against acne.
What about lavender, which can be dried and used to perfume drawers and protect delicate items.

From the essential oil obtained from it, perfumers for the environment and natural repellents against the most annoying insects are also prepared.
Finally, caring for a plant is the best way to show love for yourself and your environment.


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Lesser periwinkle

Native to Europe and the Tropics, the Periwinkle belongs to the family of Apocinaceae and it is one evergreen perennial plant typical of the undergrowth. Depending on how it is grown, it has drooping, ground cover or creeping habit and all this makes it perfect for decorating any type of exterior, whether it is a balcony as a single element or a garden together with other plants. Presents a very original foliage, made of small dark green oval-shaped leaves, while, in the case of variegated periwinkle, they flaunt a cream-colored edging. Between April and June, the periwinkle gives one beautiful bloom. These are five-petalled hanging flowers that are generally distinguished by their own blue-violet color, although there are cases of blooms on the pink, white or red.

All varieties of periwinkle need light and of air, so they lend themselves to the outdoors and not in the apartment, except that in the colder winter months. In fact, between November and February, it can be kept indoors without having direct contact with heat sources and positioned near the external light. It should be watered very regularly in spring and summer, while in autumn and winter it will be enough to give a little water for keep the soil moist.


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