A novice gardener once told me that she was only going to plant perennials, as they did not need any care. If only that was true!
On the contrary, I have found that it seems easiest for new gardeners to start with annuals and then to move on to perennials. Annuals only last one year, but once they are planted they stay in one place, don’t reproduce, and just need water and fertilizer. They are less complicated for an inexperienced gardener.
Perennials seem preferable because they live from year to year, but their habits vary
greatly and they are more unpredictable. Many are easy and stay where you put them. Others hop around the garden, some quite aggressively, and some die out after a year or two.
Perennial plants are quite different from each other in terms of their needs and performance. So it is more complicated, though great fun, to design and maintain a perennial garden. And, of course, some won’t grow in the zone the gardener wants them to…Have you ever tried to grow delphiniums in the Midwest? Thugs, like bishops weed, look innocent but are very invasive. But, as a group, perennials fascinate us despite all of their quirks.
Beginners need to be aware of pass-along plants, like loosestrife, as they are the ones that usually have over-run an owner’s garden. One can learn more about the perennials that grow best locally by joining a garden club or taking a master gardener course, as they can become a life-long challenge.
This is Moya Andrews, and today we focused on perennial challenges.