I love pottering in the greenhouse and garden and listening to classic rock with my Labradoodle, Florrie.
Now that Florrie Labradoodle and I have some time on our hands, we thought we would ‘turn a paw‘ to growing some perennial plants from seed. It’s not as hard as you might think!
Perennial plants can add colour to your garden from April through to November, They attract bees and butterflies to their flowers and make great cut flowers too. The best thing about perennials is that they return year after year, growing larger as they mature. Unlike annuals, they don’t need replacing each season.
During the summer, most perennial plants need little attention. Just a little staking to stop plants flopping over and regular deadheading to encourage a further flush of flowers.
Many individual perennial plants are quite expensive to buy from garden centres. Some can be quite difficult to grow from seed. However, there are some beautiful perennials that you can grow quite easily and cheaply. Like a returning friend, they will reward you with flowers year after year.
Here are our top five recommendations!
1. Rudbeckia ‘Black-Eyed Susan’
Rudbeckia is the name for a vibrant group of summer and autumn-flowering perennials and annuals. This variety is given the name “black eye” for their dark, brown-purple centres to golden yellow daisy-shaped flowers. They are giant bullseyes for pollinators such as bees and wasps. They generally grow up to 3 feet tall and prefer full or partial sun.
You can plant seed in trays or straight into the ground once it has warmed up in early spring. Once established, they require little maintenance other than deadheading. This perennial dies back to the ground each autumn, then fresh new growth appears again in the following spring.
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2. Echinacea ‘Coneflower’
Echinacea, commonly called coneflowers, are loved by cottage gardeners and butterfly enthusiasts alike. They have large daisy flowers with purple or pink petals surrounding an orange-brown central cone. They are tough and do not need staking and make a really good cut flower.
The seeds in the large cone at the heart of the flower head provide great food for birds. This perennial dies back to below ground level each year in autumn, then new growth appears again in spring. Coneflowers grow well from seed and can be divided or grown from stem cuttings.
3. Dianthus ‘Pinks’
Dianthus flowers are also known as 'pinks'. They can be a hardy annual, biennial or perennial and can be used in borders, pots or rock gardens. They have highly fragrant flowers with five petals. These come in shades of pink, purple, red and white, usually in one glorious June or July flush.
Sow dianthus seeds in spring after frosts. Cover the seeds with light soil or compost, and water regularly until germination. Dianthus plants like a hot, sunny position. They can tolerate light shade provided they get a few hours of sunlight.
4. Leucanthemum ‘Ox-Eye Daisy’
Florrie and I have a packet of these seeds to try this summer! Leucanthemum are robust perennials with daisy-like flowerheads with white petals. They are also known by the common names ox-eye daisy, dog daisy and moon daisy.
Ox-eye daisy is found in meadows as well as waste ground, railway banks and road verges. So hopefully we can get it to grow in our back garden! Be careful, as it can be invasive!
Aubrietas are named after the French botanical illustrator Claude Aubriet. They are a compact, mat-forming, evergreen hardy perennial originating from southern Europe and central Asia. Aubrietas are a major star of cottage gardens, creeping across your front path or tumbling out of nooks and crannies in stone walls.
Plant seed in late autumn or spring, either direct in the ground or in seed trays. Aubrietas produce a stunning, cushion-shaped mass display from early spring in shades of light blue, mauve and pink. After flowering, a light clipping will encourage the production of new growth for future years.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.