One of the reasons first-time homebuyers dream of owning their own house is for the opportunity to work their very own flower garden. For flower garden beginners, perennials offer the opportunity to learn about soil, garden design, planting and the joyful, rewarding experience of success when the foliage breaks through the soil and bursts into bloom. Some perennials are generally easy to grow, very low maintenance and, by definition, need only be planted once to obtain springtime color and satisfaction year after year Whether grown from a bulb, corm, rhizome or tuber, fall is the time to plant perennials for beautiful spring blooms.
If you’re new to gardening planting daffodils is a good start. Daffodil bulbs are inexpensive and easy to plant. They are reliable perennials that will grow back year after year, and even multiply, with little or no maintenance. According to daffodilusa.org, “They are probably the easiest and most dependable of all the families of flowers and ideal for a beginner in gardening in most regions of the United States.” There are many varieties to choose from that differ in size, color and shape.
Another colorful springtime bloomer are tulips. Tulips are a favorite of many perennial gardeners, not only because of their beauty but because they have many varieties of sizes, petal shapes and colors available. Jenny Crane at Better Homes & Gardens, “There are more than 3,000 varieties of tulips worldwide (this includes naturally occurring and genetically cultivated varieties). Of those 3,000 varieties, tulips can be divided into approximately 150 species.” However, even though tulips are considered perennials, many varieties behave like an annual and will only bloom for one season. Jamie Mcintosh writing for The Spruce advises, “If longevity and low maintenance are important to you, choose varieties that have been around for a long time.” Hybrid varieties are less likely than natural varieties to bloom year after year.
Crocuses are grown from corms that are planted like bulbs and bloom very early, even when there’s still snow on the ground, and are a welcoming sign that spring is on the way. Charlie Nardozzi from Connecticut Public Radio says, “Crocuses are very rewarding. They bloom early with bright, cheery colors and spread over time.” They can also be planted in the lawn and under trees where the blooms will be long gone before the first mowing is needed or foliage has emerged to block access to the sun.
Hyacinths bloom during mid-spring with a cluster of fragrant white or pastel flowers at the top of a single stalk. Catherine Boeckmann writing for The Old Farmer’s Almanac says, “Each hyacinth bulb generally produces one flower stalk that stands 8 to 10″ tall. The hyacinth’s loose-to-dense racemes (clusters) of strongly fragrant flowers may be closely-packed single or double flowers.” Like some other perennials, hyacinths will multiply and spread over the years.
Irises are also grown in many colors and varieties. According to The American Iris Society, “Iris are generally discussed in two groups: Bearded and Beardless. Bearded have a fuzzy beard on the fall (the bloom part that hangs down).” Unlike the perennials mentioned, irises are grown from a shallowly buried rhizome, which are long and knobby in appearance like a root rather than a bulb. Depending on the variety of iris, they can bloom anywhere from early spring to late summer.
In contrast to the single stalk perennials, peonies are wide bushy plants bearing large flowers that grow from tubers planted in the fall for late spring/early summer blooms. Peonies are available in many varieties that are either herbaceous or woody shrubs.
Catherine Boeckmann writing for The Old Farmer’s Almanac says, “Peonies are generally very hardy. Plus, peonies are also one of many deer-resistant plants you can grow in your garden.” Teo Spengler writing for SFGate advises, “They need to be planted in full sun. Although they will grow in partial shade, you won’t see many blossoms.” Each plant can produce an abundance of blooms that can be cut and used in bouquets or table settings.
In fact, all the perennials listed can be cut and used for bouquets or placed in colorful springtime arrangements around the home or office. Otherwise, perennials can remain in the garden adding to the home’s curb appeal. Some gardeners keep perennials grouped exclusively in a perennial garden while others use them for borders or part of other creative planting arrangements around the property. As long as the perennials are planted in a sunny area of well-drained soil, they should provide several years of springtime color.