Perennial plants

Category: Archive Gardening

Herbaceous plants

Herbaceous perennial plants are excellent for creating gardens, rocky areas or borders, because they offer the green space various and prolonged moments of flowering. Those that do not have a woody stem are defined as herbaceous. Their life cycle does not end in one year as happens in annual plants which instead rest during the winter season as if they were hibernating and start sprouting again in the summer. For perennial plants there is no need for a lot of water, but they need soil that is good enough to nourish them and which is light; for them to enjoy excellent health, they need to live in a habitat that recreates or is at least similar to the one where they grow in nature.

Herbaceous floral species

Among the most common herbaceous perennial plants that are easy to find on the market we have the following:

  • Yarrow: found in different species and which produces small flowers piled up in bunches, with colors ranging from white to red to fuchsia. They are also used in herbal medicine for their properties.
  • Arabis: has small, white four-petalled flowers that grow in large clusters covering the entire plant and having a beautiful ornamental effect. It has a height of up to one meter from the ground.
  • Aubrieta: plant that forms a bush with small violet flowers in large quantities.
  • Anemone: it is found in many varieties, in fact it includes around a hundred different species, some spontaneous in Europe, others coming from overseas. It has many different colors, white, red, pink, blue, and generally has five fairly large petals that enclose a central black pollen, sometimes edged with white.
  • Columbine: it has large flowers with a characteristic star shape, the outermost part is purple and the inside fades to white, enclosing yellow stamens in a bell shape.
  • Armeria: it has colorful flowers with many petals that form a round, it has different colors, from white to pink to lilac. It needs little water but in summer when it flowers it requires adequate fertilizer.
  • Aster: it is a very lively flower, with many violet petals that enclose a yellow center similar to that of a daisy but larger and richer.
  • Campanula: it is a typical bell-shaped flower that can be white or light blue.
  • Delosperma Dianthus: collects various floral species with very showy white flowers with a pink or yellow center and petals arranged in a radial pattern.
  • Echinacea: is a plant brought here from North America, includes nine ornamental species that have large pink or yellow flowers with a reddish interior.
  • Euphorbia: this species includes both herbaceous and woody species, it is also excellent for growing in pots and has beautiful red flowers that are not very numerous compared to the leaves of the plant.
  • Geranium: geranium is a plant that grows very easily, even if you plant a sprig without roots. It has white or pink or red or even yellow flowers, its intense odor repels mosquitoes and other insects.
  • Hermerocallis: a plant native to Japan, it has beautiful flowers with curved and very large petals that last only one day but are then immediately replaced by others that emerge. The flowers can be orange, yellow, red or purple.
  • Hosta: plant native to Japan and China. It doesn't produce flowers but it has very colorful leaves in itself, green with white streaks, all white, blue or purple, so it is already very ornamental.
  • Iris: has long leaves and very beautiful flowers which can be white or purple.
  • Phlox: produces many small flowers all close together, white or pink or white and pink.
  • Paeonia: in addition to having a large pink flower with a beautiful effect, it is also a plant with calming and anti-inflammatory medicinal properties. These plants can reach one meter in height.
  • Sage: Sage is well known as a spice, but it is also very pretty as a plant to keep in the garden, due to its light velvety leaves.
  • Sedum: it is a bush plant that produces many small yellow, pink or purple flowers.
  • Sempervivum: it is a succulent plant that is very easy to grow, also excellent for covering rocks.


Grasses include several species of herbaceous perennial plants. Let's see the most common ones:

  • Carex: it is a genus of very rich plant with thread-like leaves that stretch and bend down to the ground. In Italian it is commonly called sedge.
  • Calamagrostis: plant that produces very tall and soft ears used in oriental gardens as an ornament.
  • Cortaderia: tall plant that produces very beautiful plumes of different colors, from white to yellow to red.
  • Eragrostis: plant covered entirely with red inflorescences. She is not very tall.
  • Fescue: comes in two types, hard leaves and soft leaves. However, the leaves remain at the bottom while the stems of the ears rise from the ground.
  • Miscanthus: native to the subtropical areas of Africa, it is completely covered in white ears.
  • Pennisetum: also typical of subtropical Africa, it is called penniseto in Italian and has white ears.
  • Stipa: golden yellow grass.


In addition to grasses, there are many other species of perennial plants that can be aromatic, or medicinal, or fern-type, or aquatic and oxygenating for ponds, floating on the surface of ponds such as the famous water lilies, submerged and marshy plants. We have therefore seen that there are many species of perennial plants, but there are still some general tips that you can follow to be able to grow them all. First of all it must be said that before planting it in the garden it is necessary to take into account the fact that this plant will remain there for a long time and it is also hoped that it will develop, so care must be taken to ensure that it is placed in a place where it will not be disturbed and suffocated from other surrounding plants nor will it suffocate other plants itself. Furthermore, it should be remembered that many perennial plants are ground covers, which means that if we do not want them to cover the entire garden, their expansion must be limited by uprooting part of them. Once we have chosen the place in which to plant them we must work the soil well so that it is oxygenated. A good idea is to mix leaf mold and sand with the existing soil, because this increases drainage. Then we can enrich the sublayer with an organic fertilizer which provides mineral salts and also helps us make the soil mixture better. While we work the soil we must also eliminate and eradicate all the weeds that may be present in the area, because they would suffocate the newly planted seedling. Before even buying the plant, in fact, we need to find out which ones are the most suitable for the area in which we have chosen to plant them, not only from the point of view of the climate but also taking into consideration the type of exposure to the sun to which the plant will be subject. For example, ferns grow best in the shade, because they are undergrowth plants. Aside from sun exposure, we also need to inquire about what level of humidity is preferred by plants and which plants will be able to withstand frost if our garden is subject to frost during the winter. Or, on the contrary, we avoid plants that need a lot of water if we don't have an irrigation system and it doesn't rain much where we live. Let's remember in general that the more exotic the plants are compared to our climate, the more difficult they are to grow.


After selecting the most suitable plants for our garden and the place to plant them, it is a good idea to plant them 15 or 20 centimeters away from each other. Younger perennial plants that have recently been planted will need to be watered more often, but this does not apply if we are in a period of heavy rainfall. Then when the plant develops and grows it will not need much water but will only need to be irrigated a lot during periods of drought. In winter they generally should not be watered, it will be enough to irrigate them in summer, when it rains less. Clearly, however, the level of irrigation depends on the species of the individual plant, so you need to find out carefully about each species and the care it requires. The perennial plants most suitable for shaded and cooler areas are hellebore, anemone, ajuga, astilbe and geranium. On the contrary, sedum, saponaria, coreopsis and echinops are more suitable for dry climates and high temperatures. Some, such as primroses, bloom in spring, while anemones and coneflowers bloom in late summer. Many perennial plants grow spontaneously in our areas and climates in the woods, so it is a good idea to buy plants that we are sure will grow well adapting to our climate.

Published: 2014-05-10From: Redazione

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