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Perennials2022-07-20T19:57:15+00:00

RETURNING BLOOMS

Perennial Plants

What is a perennial? Perennials are plants that have a continuous life cycle and live for more than two years, and often many years.

All perennials have a perpetual rootstock, meaning that the above ground growth dies down in the fall and new growth comes from the root each spring. The root system or bulb (and sometimes the stem and foliage) therefore last through the winter.

This is different from an annual because annuals complete their life cycle in less than one year and the roots die in the winter.

Perennials are easy to grow, require little maintenance and are winter hardy once established. You can find a perennial for almost any situation as there are literally thousands to choose from that bloom at almost any time of the year.

Every garden should have at least a few perennials in them; many gardens almost exclusively contain perennials with little to no annuals. Perennials can be planted amongst evergreens and shrubs for colour in a foundation planting, in a rockery or in a perennial border.

Every year the Perennial Plant Association chooses one plant as their Perennial of the Year. The 2022 Perennial Plant of the Year is the Schizachyrium scoparium, a species of North American prairie grass also known as “Little Bluestem”.

PERENNIAL PLANT OF THE YEAR
outdoor perennials features

Best Perennials for Spring Gardening

At Hunters Garden Centre, these spring perennials are some of the first to arrive and earliest to flower as the weather warms up outdoors.

perennials phlox

Phlox

Phlox are a popular perennial as their varieties are so versatile and low-maintenance. Phlox produces striking star-shaped flowers all summer long with a lovely fragrance.

perennials dianthus perennial

Dianthus Perennial

Dianthus is a low-growing perennial with grass-like foliage and an abundance of small flower clusters. These thrive in full sun.

perennials bleeing heart

Bleeding Heart

A spring favourite - Bleeding Hearts have pink heart-shaped flowers that bloom for several weeks before entering dormancy in the midsummer heat. These prefer shade, so planting them near a larger shrub or tree is ideal.

perennials heather

Heather

Heather is a hardy evergreen perennial with low growth that works well as ground cover. Their branching foliage produces bright pink, purple and white flowers with a sweet scent.

perennials forget me nots

Forget Me Nots

A true blue perennial! Forget me nots are easy to grow and are low-maintenance with dainty blooms that come in shades of blue and purple. Deer-resistant as well.

perennials aubretia

Aubretia

Aubretia is one of the earliest perennial bloomers in the spring with small purple flowers and foliage. These work well as ground cover or in rock gardens as they spread in all directions.

Best Perennials for Summer Gardening

perennials lavender

Lavender

By far a gardener’s favourite, Lavender plants offer both a beautiful shade of purple flowers and a heavenly scent. Lavender does well in full sun, attracts butterflies and is resistant to deer and rabbit.

perennials hostas

Hostas

Hostas are best known for their lush foliage that comes in many shades of green. These shade-friendly, versatile, low-maintenance perennials can also bloom white flowers in the summer.

perennials coneflower

Coneflower

Coneflowers are hardy perennials with long-lasting flowers that bloom mid-summer and are tolerant to droughts. These perennials are versatile as they can also be used as cut flowers.

perennials rudbeckia

Rudbeckia

Rudbeckia (Black Eyed Susan) is a full-sun summer garden must-have with striking yellow flowers and upright growth that attracts bees, butterflies, and birds. Drought and heat tolerant.

perennials grasses

Grasses

Grasses play an important role in a garden by adding texture, depth and colour. They can be planted in difficult places such as slopes or dry, rocky soils.

perennials shasta daisy

Shasta Daisy

Shasta Daisies are a crowd pleaser with cheerful, bright flowers of white petals and yellow florets. They bloom by early summer and last into the fall.

perennials bee balm

Bee Balm

Bee Balm offers eye-catching scarlett flowers that bloom in the summertime and attract butterflies and hummingbirds with their strong scent. This plant is often used for herbal and medicinal purposes.

perennials fern

Perennial Ferns

Perennial Ferns add beautiful texture to your summer garden, working best in shady areas. Once established, ferns live for many years.

DOWNLOAD LAVENDER CARE GUIDE

Best Perennials for Winter Gardening

The beauty of these perennials is that they flower in the winter, providing life and colour to your outdoor garden all year-round! At Hunters Garden Centre we carry these winter-flowering perennials at both our Vancouver and Surrey stores.

perennials hellebores

Hellebores

Hellebores are cool-temperature perennial superstars as these hardy plants provide beautiful flowers in shades of white, pink, purple and light green throughout the winter and spring.

perennials gaultheria evergreen

Gaultheria Evergreen

Gaultheria Evergreen - Gaultheria (Wintergreen) is a low-growing hardy perennial known for its year-round dark evergreen foliage with white flowers in early summer and clusters of red berries in the fall and winter.

perennials heather

Heather

Winter-flowering Heather is a hardy evergreen perennial with low growth that works well as ground cover. Their branching foliage produces bright pink, purple and white flowers throughout the winter.

Best Perennials for Sun

These perennials will thrive outdoors in a full 8 hours of sun, providing flowers that shine just as bright. Many of these sun-loving perennials attract bees and other pollinators to your garden.

perennials lavender

Lavender

By far a gardener’s favourite as Lavender plants offer both a beautiful shade of purple flowers and a heavenly scent. Lavender does well in full sun, attracts butterflies and is resistant to deer and rabbit.

perennials coneflower

Coneflowers

Coneflowers are hardy perennials with long-lasting flowers that bloom mid-summer and are tolerant to droughts. These perennials are versatile as they can also be used as cut flowers.

perennials dianthus perennial

Dianthus Perennial

Dianthus is a low-growing perennial with grass-like foliage and an abundance of small flower clusters. These thrive in full sun.

perennials bee balm

Bee Balm

Bee Balm offers eye-catching scarlett flowers that bloom in the summertime and attract butterflies and hummingbirds with their strong scent. This plant is often used for herbal and medicinal purposes.

perennials shasta daisy

Shasta Daisy

Shasta Daisies are a crowd pleaser with cheerful, bright flowers of white petals and yellow florets. They bloom by early summer and last into the fall.

perennials phlox

Phlox

Phlox are a popular perennial as their varieties are so versatile and low-maintenance. Phlox produces striking star-shaped flowers all summer long with a lovely fragrance.

Best Perennials for Shade

Have a difficult area of your garden that doesn’t get much sun? These shade-tolerant perennials can adapt to low light conditions outdoors and still provide your garden with blooms and life year-round.

perennials hostas

Hostas

Hostas are best known for their lush foliage that comes in many shades of green. These versatile, low-maintenance perennials can also bloom white flowers in the summer.

perennials bleeing heart

Bleeding Hearts

Bleeding Hearts have pink heart-shaped flowers that bloom for several weeks before entering dormancy in the midsummer heat. These prefer shade, so planting them near a larger shrub or tree is ideal

perennials forget me nots

Forget Me Nots

A true blue perennial! Forget me nots are easy to grow and are low-maintenance with dainty blooms that come in shades of blue and purple. Deer-resistant as well.

perennials hellebores

Hellebores

Hellebores are cool-temperature perennial superstars as these hardy plants provide beautiful flowers in shades of white, pink, purple, red and light green throughout the winter and spring.

perennials gaultheria evergreen

Gaultheria

Gaultheria (Wintergreen) is a low-growing hardy perennial known for its year-round dark evergreen foliage with white flowers in early summer and clusters of red berries in the fall and winter.

perennials fern

Perennial Ferns

Perennial Ferns add beautiful texture to your shade garden in the summertime. Once established, ferns live for many years.

DOWNLOAD HOSTA CARE GUIDE

OUTDOOR PERENNIAL CARE

How to Care for Your Perennial Plants

Perennials grow best in a loose well drained soil. Annual applications of manure in the fall can be dug in the spring to improve soil texture and retain moisture. Plants like to be watered on a regular basis and it is important to cultivate the soil frequently. The small fibrous roots systems grow best in a loose well ventilated soil. Fertilizers should be applied annually. In early spring applications of 6-8-6 encourages new top growth. As plants come into flower, fertilize with a flowering plant food (4-10-10). Taller varieties do require staking. Perennials benefit from winter protection for the first year. Place a mulch 2-3” deep over the plants to protect them from the cold.

Planting

Most perennials are best planted in the spring. Some grow best in the sun, others in shade. Plant perennials as soon as all danger of frost has passed, and the ground is dry enough to work. Make sure to give plants plenty of room so that none of the roots are crowded. The crowns of the plants should not buried, or the plants will suffocate and rot. Some perennials are best planted in the fall. Bearded Iris, Oriental Poppies and Bleeding hearts can be planted in late August. Peonies and Lilies are best planted in September. Shallow rooted perennials such as Chrysanthemums and perennial Asters require a light dressing of soil in the spring. Soil should be applied only around the base of the plants.

If you’re planning a perennial border, a sunny location is best away from encroaching roots of trees or hedges. The border should be at least 6 feet wide to arrange plants properly. Before planting make a plan showing where each variety is to go. Know the height, colour and season of bloom to arrange plants to the best advantage. Plant the tallest plants at the back, then medium tall ones, shorter ones toward the front and ground and prostrate plants at the front edge. A few taller plants can be brought forward to break up the line of the border. Taller plants are best grouped in threes and intermediate and dwarf varieties in groups of five. Plant strong coloured perennials first, leaving adequate space in between for softer coloured perennials.

Watering

Watering thoroughly once or twice a week is preferable to several light watering. Most perennials do not like to have wet roots and excessive wetting of plant foliage encourages disease problems.

Dividing

It is time to divide perennials as soon as plants begin to lose vigour. As a general rule, perennials that bloom in late summer and autumn are divided and replanted in spring, (Chrysanthemums, Asters). Dig up old plants when new growth is 1-2” high. Pull the roots apart to make pieces with three or four shoots. Plant only the most vigorous shoots. Replant and water with a good starter fertilizer such as 10-52-17 or Up Start. Spring flowering perennials (Aubretia, Alyssum, Carpet Phlox) may be divided immediately after flowering in the spring or in August.

DOWNLOAD PERENNIAL CARE GUIDE
leaf test 2

OUTDOOR PERENNIAL CARE

How to Care for Your Perennial Plants

Perennials grow best in a loose well drained soil. Annual applications of manure in the fall can be dug in the spring to improve soil texture and retain moisture. Plants like to be watered on a regular basis and it is important to cultivate the soil frequently. The small fibrous roots systems grow best in a loose well ventilated soil. Fertilizers should be applied annually. In early spring applications of 6-8-6 encourages new top growth. As plants come into flower, fertilize with a flowering plant food (4-10-10). Taller varieties do require staking. Perennials benefit from winter protection for the first year. Place a mulch 2-3” deep over the plants to protect them from the cold.

Planting

Most perennials are best planted in the spring. Some grow best in the sun, others in shade. Plant perennials as soon as all danger of frost has passed, and the ground is dry enough to work. Make sure to give plants plenty of room so that none of the roots are crowded. The crowns of the plants should not buried, or the plants will suffocate and rot. Some perennials are best planted in the fall. Bearded Iris, Oriental Poppies and Bleeding hearts can be planted in late August. Peonies and Lilies are best planted in September. Shallow rooted perennials such as Chrysanthemums and perennial Asters require a light dressing of soil in the spring. Soil should be applied only around the base of the plants.

If you’re planning a perennial border, a sunny location is best away from encroaching roots of trees or hedges. The border should be at least 6 feet wide to arrange plants properly. Before planting make a plan showing where each variety is to go. Know the height, colour and season of bloom to arrange plants to the best advantage. Plant the tallest plants at the back, then medium tall ones, shorter ones toward the front and ground and prostrate plants at the front edge. A few taller plants can be brought forward to break up the line of the border. Taller plants are best grouped in threes and intermediate and dwarf varieties in groups of five. Plant strong coloured perennials first, leaving adequate space in between for softer coloured perennials.

Watering

Watering thoroughly once or twice a week is preferable to several light watering. Most perennials do not like to have wet roots and excessive wetting of plant foliage encourages disease problems.

Dividing

It is time to divide perennials as soon as plants begin to lose vigour. As a general rule, perennials that bloom in late summer and autumn are divided and replanted in spring, (Chrysanthemums, Asters). Dig up old plants when new growth is 1-2” high. Pull the roots apart to make pieces with three or four shoots. Plant only the most vigorous shoots. Replant and water with a good starter fertilizer such as 10-52-17 or Up Start. Spring flowering perennials (Aubretia, Alyssum, Carpet Phlox) may be divided immediately after flowering in the spring or in August.

DOWNLOAD PERENNIAL CARE GUIDE
leaf test 2

FAQs

How do I care for Hostas?2022-04-04T20:38:13+00:00

Hostas are a very hardy, adaptable and easy to grow perennial plant that are grown for their interesting foliage. Flowers are produced on scapes, some are fragrant and they bloom from June to September. They are the perfect plant for those shady garden situations.

Hostas prefer a rich, slightly acid soil enriched with humus to retain moisture.

A fertilizer high in nitrogen will be beneficial and give greater splendor to the foliage.

Hostas are moisture lovers and need regular watering during dry spells and in the summer. Always water immediately after planting!

Click here for more information and to download our Hosta Care Guide.

How do I care for Perennial plants?2022-04-04T20:34:47+00:00

Perennials grow best in a loose well drained soil. Annual applications of manure in the fall can be dug in the spring to improve soil texture and retain moisture. Plants like to be watered on a regular basis and it is important to cultivate the soil frequently. The small fibrous roots systems grow best in a loose well-ventilated soil. Fertilizers should be applied annually.

Most perennials are best planted in the spring. Some grow best in the sun, others in shade. Plant perennials as soon as all danger of frost has passed, and the ground is dry enough to work. Make sure to give plants plenty of room so that none of the roots are crowded.

Click here for more information and to download the full Perennial Care Guide.

What is the difference between an Annual and a Perennial?2022-04-04T19:15:25+00:00

One of the most common questions from novice gardeners is the difference between an annual and a perennial.

An annual completes their life cycle in less than one year and the roots die in the winter. 

Perennials are plants that have a continuous life cycle and live for more than two years, and often many years. As the seasons change, the above ground growth dies down in the fall and new growth comes from the perennial root each spring.

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