Top Ten Perennials to grow – Part one

The following article is from Rebeccas Garden and was featured on the HGTV website.

Foolproof perennials can be the staple of your garden, giving you enduring color and interest with little or no effort on your part. Here are Rebecca Kolls’s top-ten easiest perennials to grow. Scoring high on the charts for disease resistance, hardiness and low maintenance, these perennials will brighten your garden for years to come.
1. Iris (Iris sp.) Dutch Iris   
This classic staple of your grandmother’s garden won’t let you down. Irises come in a wide array of colors–from nearly translucent, pale yellow to a murky, dark purple. Some are bearded, some are not. Most of the common irises bloom in mid to late spring, but if you select from varieties and cultivars, you can extend the season from early spring to early summer. The reblooming bearded iris gives a second blooming period from midsummer to fall. During the rest of the growing season, the lance-shaped foliage is a good filler for the garden. For even more interest off-season, plant irises with variegated foliage.
Planting iris is different than planting most perennials. It’s very important the fleshy bulb, the rhizome, is slightly above the soil’s surface. Dig a shallow hole, hold the plant in place and cover the roots and sides of the rhizome with soil. You may have to toggle the plant back and forth to make sure that the tip of the rhizome is exposed. USDA Zones 4 to 9.

2. Peony (Paeonia sp.)
Peony is another classic late-spring-blooming perennial with large masses of petals in shades of pink, white and red. They grow best in full sun but tolerate light shade. Give them well-drained, fertile soil (mix in an organic matter when you plant) and be prepared to wait for a couple of years for their first good show; they often take awhile to become fully established. Plant three feet apart, burying the buds (eyes) no more than two inches below the soil surface. Peonies are a great flower for a cutting garden. Zones 3 to 8.

3. Hosta (Hosta sp.) 
One of America’s most popular perennials for the shade garden, the hosta is nearly impossible to kill. Although hostas have pale, slender flowers that appear on spires above the leaves, what you’re getting is a magnificently varied foliage plant. Hostas come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, sizes and texture. Some are a couple of inches tall, and others climb to three feet. They’re excellent for borders and lining pathways, for partial to the densest shade. The blue-green varieties generally don’t tolerate sun, while the yellow-green varieties can. USDA Zones 3 to 9.

4. Astilbe (Astilbe sp.) 
Here’s another perennial that’s made for the shade. The soft, feathery plumes of astilbe come in shades of white, pink and red. Depending on the variety, they bloom in early, mid or late summer. Astilbes need moist, well-drained soil; they don’t like to have their roots disturbed, so amend the soil with peat moss, cow manure and compost before or when you plant. When transferring from a container, gently tease apart the roots so they’ll spread out once planted, and place the plant as deeply as it was in the container. Keep it watered and fertilize once a month. Plant one and a half to two feet apart in light shade. Astilbes can withstand sun as long as they’re well mulched and watered. Propagate by division every three or four years. USDA Zones 4 to 8.

5. Bee Balm (Monarda sp.) 
This plant is a Mecca for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds, who feed on the nectar of its pompom flowers from summer to fall. Bee balm can do equally well in full sun or light shade. It’s also deer-resistant. You can propagate from cuttings, from seed or by division in the spring. USDA Zones 4 to 9.

Give perennials the site and soil they prefer the most, and then be patient, says Kolls. “The first year they sleep,” she says, “the second year they creep, and the third year they leap with color.”

All of these perennials grow in my yard and I highly recommend them. The following link has the rest of the article:

Tags: 5 top perennials, easy perennials to grow, foolproof perennials, Iris, hosta, peonies, beebalm, astilbe

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