A Beginner’s Guide to Perennial Shade Flowers
A lot of people who do not have enough knowledge about perennial flowers and can often assume plants that grow in shade gardens are less beautiful than those that grow in the sun. This is not true…
There are very many kinds of perennial shade flowers that have a mesmerizing beauty and range of vivid colours. These flowers often need less care and they still repay you with their beauty every year. See the list of related pages at the bottom of this page.
Difference between Annuals and Perennials
An annual is a plant that grows, flowers, and dies, during one season while perennials are plants that grow and flower for many years if they are not killed by disease. Most of them live around 3 to 4 years but that lifespan can be extended if you divide them each year.
Perennial flowers don’t need to be re-planted every spring like the annual flowers. A lot of perennial plants will wither when autumn arrives, lay dormant during the winter, and are reborn again in the spring.
They are like little messengers of spring. After the snow melts, you will see them grow and bloom in your garden.
If you have areas in your garden that have a lot of shadow or you have many trees, plant your own perennial shade flowers and you won’t regret it.
Annuals flowers have to be re-planted every year, which is not very convenient since it requires a lot of time and money.
Perennial flowers don’t need more than three hours of sunlight each day. To protect them from the burning in the midday sun, plant them under trees or near a wall. The east and west sides of a house are ideal places for perennial shade flowers. There the sun reaches only in the early morning and in the evening, when it’s not too strong anymore.
Clay Soil and Perennials
Before you plant flowers, check the soil of your garden. Perennial shade flowers require a lot of moisture, more than some other types of plants.
This shouldn’t be a problem, because areas with shade are usually moister than areas getting a lot of sun. However, if the soil of your garden contains too much sand or clay, the flowers don’t stand such a good chance of survival. If the soil has too much sand it cannot hold water, and the plants won’t get enough nutrition and moisture. However, don’t worry, because there is always a solution for problems like these.
To avoid this, just mix the soil with a lot of organic matter, decayed leaves, seaweed, or products for the fertilization of soil that you can find in any garden centre or nursery.
If the soil in your garden has an excessive amount of clay, the only thing you can do is to build another level of fertilized soil: you can use bricks, rocks and wood to build a raised bed for planting flowers that sits on the top of the clay soil. These raised beds are not very hard to make and are worth the effort.
Starting Perennials from Seed
Most perennial shade flowers are sold as roots or grown plants, which you can just easily plant into your garden. But you can start and plant perennial flowers from seed but it generally takes more time and effort.
Perennial’s seed are easy to be found on the plants once they reach maturity, the seeds appear every year and some of them can even self-sow to achieve more plants.
Start with easy to grow perennials, such as Columbine, Black Eyed Susan, Purple Coneflower, Yarrow, Snow in Summer or Catmint. These perennials plants generally drop their seeds in late summer or early autumn.
A warm temperature in the soil will increase the speed at which the seeds germinate so keep this in mind when you plant perennials seeds. A good time could be June and July.
For hardy perennials, the best time for sowing these perennial seeds is late winter and early spring (February to April).
Some seeds need to be frozen before they can germinate. If you live in a warm winter region or country, you can sow the seeds in a pot, cover it with plastic, and place in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 weeks to make an artificial winter.
Identifying Perennials Plants
Characteristics of Perennials Plants
Unlike trees and shrubs, which are also perennials plants, most of what we called perennials plants are herbaceous – a fleshy, soft, non woody stem plants.
Usually they die back in winter, but the roots remain alive and will have new lives in spring. But not all perennials plants have this kind of characteristic.
Many of them remain evergreen in some parts of the country, such as in zone 8, and can still retain their leaves in late December.
Types of Perennials
There are 2 types of perennials, Hardy Perennials and Tender Perennials, which refer to the ability of these plants to withstand the cold.
Hardy Perennials are those plants than can survive low winter temperatures, while tender perennials are not able to withstand such cold conditions.
In colder climates, tender perennials will become annuals or houseplants; take Mealycupo Sage as an example. Tender perennials are the best plants for warmer regions.
As for hardy perennials, whether they can survive hot temperatures depends on their species, soil, or drought.