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PERENNIAL PLANTS

Perennial Plants of the Year s

t n a l P e Th

OZANNE’ G E R A N I U Mf t‘R he Year 2008 Perennial o

PPA winners are suitable for a wide range of climates, are low maintenance, easily propagated with long-season garden interest. Sel ect in g U s e f u l a n d H a r dy Pe r e nni al s The Perennial Plant Association is an association of member nurseries and interested individuals in the perennial nursery industry. Every year, the association votes on selecting a useful and hardy perennial to feature for gardeners. Plants chosen should be suitable for a wide range of climate types, low maintenance, easily propagated – easily comes from from seed or vegetative propagation and exhibit multiple seasonal interest.

I've put this ebook together to give you a sense of these plants and how to grow them. Feel free to share the download link with friends. Altering or commercial use is not allowed without the express written permission of the author. Perennial Garden Questions answered at http://www/ gardening-tips-perennials.com

2009 Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola' 2008 Geranium 'Rozanne' 2007 Nepeta faassenii 'Walker's Low' 2006 Dianthus gratianopolitanus 'Feuerhexe' (Firewitch) 2005 Helleborus x hybrids 2004 Athryium niponicum 'Pictum' 2003 Leucanthemum 'Becky' 2002 Phlox paniculata 'David' 2001 Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster' 2000 Scabiosa columbaria 'Butterfly Blue' 1999 Rudbeckia fulgida var sullivantii 'Goldsturm' 1998 Echinacea purpurea 'Magnus' 1997 Salvia 'Mainacht' (May Night) 1996 Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' 1995 Perovskia atriplicifolia 1994 Astilbe 'Sprite' 1993 Veronica 'Sunny Border Blue' 1992 Coreopsis verticillata 'Moonbeam' 1991 Heuchera 'Palace Purple' 1990 Phlox stolonifera

ISBN 978-1-897395-06-6 (c) Douglas Green 2008


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PERENNIAL PLANTS

Hakonechloa macra “Aureola’ s l i a t e D Hardiness USDA zone 5 extending to 4 in milder winters. I routinely save it in my Z4 garden.

REOLA’

L O A ‘A U H A KO N E C H Winner 2009 PPA

What it does require is a fertile soil that holds moisture during the summer but not the winter. In other words, a soil high in organic matter is good but not a clay soil. Bri gh ten Up S h a d e G a r d en s This wonderful grass plant thrives in the part shade to shade garden although it is equally happy in full sun.

The color is best in part shade. What it does require is a fertile soil that holds moisture during the summer but not the winter. In other words, a soil high in organic matter is good but not a clay soil. Damp or heavy clay soils will

tend to winterkill this plant. A shovel of compost in the spring is pretty much all it needs in the way of feeding. It does brighten up a shady garden but it is not a plant for dry shade.

Propagation Division in the spring is the simplest and easiest. This is a slow grower.

Pests Pests aren’t a serious problem.

Landscape Value This plant is simply spectacular when planted in large clumps of three or more plants. Each plant will expand slowly. It is not invasive at all in my USDA 4/5 garden. The leaves on the gold forms tend to hold their color well into the fall while the green species have a red-flushed fall color that is also attractive for a long time.


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PERENNIAL PLANTS

Geranium ‘Rozanne’ s l i a t e D Hardiness USDA zone 3 with no difficulties

Propagation OZANNE’ G E R A N I U Mn n‘R er 2008 PPA Wi

It starts in my USDA zone 4 garden in June and ends when the hard frost finally knocks it down for the winter. It does slow down in late September, but then again, so do I

This is a plant for full sun or part shade. It prefers a decent soil where it

Fall division also works well and if you're good at taking and rooting cuttings, this will also work.

Pests

Lon g S ea so n B l o o m e r The entire geranium family are superb garden performers but this hybrid is simply the best of the bunch because it doesn't know when to stop blooming. It starts in my USDA zone 4 garden in June and ends when the hard frost finally knocks it down for the winter. It does slow down in late September, but then again, so do I

Division in the spring is the simplest and easiest.

will bloom heavily although it will survive in drier or sandier soils. Damp or heavy clay soils will tend to winterkill this plant. A shovel of compost in the spring is pretty much all it needs in the way of feeding.

Pests don't bother these perennial geraniums. To be sure a wandering caterpillar or beetle may take a bite here and there, but for the most part they are insect and disease resistant. They are not deer resistant and in fact, the deer in my nursery used to do the pruning for me.

Landscape Value In mass plantings or as ground covers. As a specimen plant in front of a part sun or perennial border it will also add a blue tone to the garden.


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Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ s l i a t e D Hardiness USDA 2/3 This is one tough plant.

Propagation

L OW ’ C A T N I P ‘WiAn nLeKr E2 R0 0’ S7 PPA W

One small trick with this plant is that after it blooms in the early summer, you can shear it back by half. Supe rb Arc h in g P l a n t Catnips love that hot spot in your garden. Give them full sun or even part shade and they’ll do well; although you’ll know they’re not getting enough sun when you see them flopping over. ‘Walker’s Low’ is a bit of an arching plant a the best of times with its 30” long flower stalks bending over on top of the plant.

‘Walker’s Low’ is a taller variety that has arching stems so while the stems will usually be in the 24-30 inch tall range, the arching

brings the overall plant height down to 18-24 inches tall. You can stake it or plant it next to sturdier plants for support such as Hemerocallis (daylily) or then again, maybe you just like it a little floppy. One small trick with this plant is that after it blooms in the early summer, you can shear it back by half. Most years this will produce a second flush of blossoms in late summer.

Easy by tender tip cuttings or a spring division.

Pests None of any consequence.

Landscape Value This is a great plant for mixing into the perennial border at the front or mid-range. The mid summer blue/violet blooms are a fine contrast for the hotter colors in the summer garden. And the greyish foliage works nicely with darker leafed plants The plant is deer and rabbit resistant. Aromatic foliage an d very drought tolerant (although it does get floppier in drought.) Excellent cut flower attracting both hummingbirds and butterflies.


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Dianthus ‘Firewitch’ s l i a t e D Hardiness It is hardy in zones 3-9.

Propagation ITCH’ D I A N T H U S ‘F I R E W 2006 PPA Winner

Upward facing, shocking magenta-pink flowers in early summer Sho cki n g P i n k F l o w e r s The plant does best in a slightly shaded location where it will not get the full blast of summer’s heat. Drought or blasting heat/sun will shorten the bloom duration. Too much shade will do the same thing; so aim for a bit of early afternoon shade if possible. Full sun is fine if adequate moisture is possible. Upward facing, shocking magenta-pink flowers in early summer are held about 7-14 inches over the evergreen mat foliage. Do not allow a winter mulch to cover the crown. This

Tip cuttings work the best in the short term or division/layering every few years. Note that this is a short-lived perennial (3-5 years or so) so you do have to propagate it if you want to maintain it in the garden.

Pests

will lead to crown rot and plant death. Dianthus tend to like a slightly alkaline soil.

None of any consequence.

This is not an overly droughttolerant plant although it will take a few days of dry soil. Those blooms will shrivel up quickly if the plant becomes water stressed.

This is a very short plant so it is mostly used in the front of the perennial garden, in rock gardens or in containers.

Most of the blooms will come in mid-summer although if you deadhead regularly or give the plant a gentle shearing after blooming, you may discover a late summer or early fall flush of blossoms.

Landscape Value

Attracts butterflies and is deer resistant.


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PERENNIAL PLANTS

Helleborus x hybrids s l i a t e D Hardiness USDA 2/3 This is a tough plant.

Propagation DS HELLEBORE HYBRI 2005 PPA Winner

This is one of the early and longest blooming spring perennials. Ear ly a n d L on g B l o o m i n g Hellebore love a well-drained spot in humus rich/fertile garden soil. This plant grows happily in the shade and while it is often touted as a good dry shade garden plant, it does much better with a regular source of moisture. Established clumps can live quite comfortably for over 20 years in one spot.

In any region, if the foliage is tattered or unsightly, it can be cut to the ground in early spring.

Flower stalks will appear independently and new foliage will develop after blooming is done. In warmer areas, cut back the plant after blooming to develop new strong foliage

Usually by seed in the home garden and volunteer seedlings are quite common after a few years. When young, the plants can be easily moved around but at they mature, they start to resent being moved. Plants can be divided if this is done carefully, but seeding is the best system for inexperienced home gardeners

Pests None of any consequence.

Landscape Value The plant mostly stays evergreen in zones warmer than USDA 4.

This is one of the early and longest blooming spring perennials.

The plant is deer and rabbit resistant.


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PERENNIAL PLANTS

Athyrium niponicum ‘Pictum’ s l i a t e D Hardiness Hardy to USDA zone 4.

Propagation

J A PA N E S E P A I N T E D

FERN

2004 PPA Winner

One small trick with this plant is that after it blooms in the early summer, you can shear it back by half. Out sta n din g s h a d e p l a n t shading. This is a plant of the shade to part-shade garden where moisture and fertility are good. This is not a dry-shade plant.

I note the further south you are, the more shade you should give this plant; it does tend to bleach out if it gets intense light. So Southern gardeners grow it as a full shade plant and Northern gardeners can grow it as a morning light kind of plant without losing any of the foliage

This plant will reach 18 inches tall and 24 inches wide and it does very well if a layer of mulch is maintained on the garden bed.

By division in early spring or mid-fall. Each mature clump can be broken down into 3-4 baby plants.

Pests None of any consequence.

Landscape Value Excellent container plant or foliage plant for shade where its metallic hues are invaluable. Combine with almost any other shade plant, the blue or goldleaved Hosta make a particularly nice combination. Look for plants with contrasting leaf colors such as Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’ with its silver and green combination or even some of the darker green leafed Astilbe.


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Leucanthemum ‘Becky’ s l i a t e D Hardiness USDA 4

Propagation ECKY’ S H A S T A D A I S Y 2‘B 003 PPA Winner

No matter what the botanists tell us about the name, to those of us who love this plant, it is still (and always will be) a Shasta Daisy

Tip cuttings or division is the normal way for home gardeners to increase the numbers of this plant. Spring division will produce a high number of flowering plants in the same year as division.

Pests Bri gh t a n d C h a r m i n g First of all, this is a Shasta Daisy. No matter what the botanists tell us about the name, to those of us who love this plant, it is still (and always will be) a Shasta. And we all know that they love sunshine to very light shade (you’ll know it is getting too much shade if it flops over). They love well-drained soils so clay is not a soil choice for success with this plant. Excessive

None of any consequence. moisture over the winter months will kill it, so do not cover over the crowns with a heavy mulch.

Landscape Value

You’ll see blossoms from late June or early July right into September if you deadhead and remove the spent flowers before they go to seed. Allowing the plant to set seed will slow down bloom production.

Plant this yellow-centered daisy anywhere you want something bright and charming.

Excellent cut flower and longseason bloomer

It combines well with Perovskia and Veronica that are blue flowering at the same time of summer.


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Phlox paniculata ‘David’ s l i a t e D Hardiness Hardy to USDA 4

Propagation AV I D ’ G A R D E N P iHn nLeOr X2 0‘D 02 PPA W

While ‘David’ is mildew resistant, it is not immune so follow the guidelines Fra gra n t a n d M i l d e w R e si s tant Tall garden phlox are one the backbone plants in the perennial garden and fit the bill for a sunlover or part shade plant. Plant in a rich, organic moistureretentive soil as they tend to lose appeal quickly in high heat and drought conditions. Having said they like adequate moisture, clay soils and standing water will rot the roots out over the winter. Deadhead the spent flower blooms to promote ongoing

growth and flowering. A well deadheaded plant will bloom right into the fall. While ‘David’ is mildew resistant, it is not immune so follow the guidelines for good growth of this plant by planting it in a wellventilated area with morning light (to dry out the foliage early in the day). Thin and divide regularly when the plant gets too overgrown and the stems are crowded.

Propagation is the home garden is easy from tip cuttings. It is similarly easy from a spring or fall division of a mature clump. Divide every 3-4 years to maintain plant vigor. It can also be easily propagated from root cuttings.

Pests None of any consequence.

Landscape Value This is a fragrant white flower and the plant is mildew-resistant. Need we say more? You want more – OK it is one of the longest blooming Phlox on the market and the massive flowers are 6-8 inches wide and 6-9 inches long. Combine it with plants such as purple-blooming Coneflower for maximum garden impact.


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PERENNIAL PLANTS

Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’ s l i a t e D Hardiness USDA zone 4

Propagation RASS F E AT H E R R E E D 0G 01 2 PPA Winner

If it doesn’t get to 3 feet tall, you need to feed it. Exc el len t cu t a n d d r i e d This is a plant of the full sunshine with growing leaves to 3 feet tall with flower stems to 5 feet tall in an 18 inch wide clump. It is not an invasive grass as it is sterile and does not set seed. If it doesn’t get to 3 feet tall, you need to feed it. It loves a fertile, well-drained soil and will tolerate clay soils with excessive moisture as well as droughty conditions.

The only maintenance is to cut it back to 6 inches tall every spring so it can regrow. While severe weather will knock the plant down, it recovers very nicely and it contrasts nicely with late-blooming plants such as Rudbeckia and Echinacea.

Division in the spring in the home garden works best.

Pests None of any consequence.

Landscape Value The flowers (or inflorescence) come on this plant in June and are initially a light pink shade, but they ‘tan’ down to a goldenbrown as they mature. Use it in containers or in landscapes where you want a sense of ‘motion’ because it does move nicely in breezes. Massed plantings can be spectacular. It also makes and excellent cut flower and dried flower lasting for months with no fuss or muss.


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PERENNIAL PLANTS

Scabiosa ‘Butterfly Blue’ s l i a t e D Hardiness

F L OW P I N C U S H I nOnN er 2000

ER

PPA Wi

When planting, put crown at same soil level in the garden as it was in the pot;

USDA zone 4 Do not damage or remove the basal (crown) area of the plant when cutting back in the fall as this will lead to premature death.

Propagation Tender tip cuttings are easily rooted. Does not come true from seed.

Pests Exc el len t cu t f l o w e r a n d i n c o nt ai ne r s None of any consequence. While ‘Blue Butterly’ wants a moister soil to keep it blooming, it demands a dry, well-drained soil for winter survival. If allowed to stay damp, this plant will disappear over the winter. Grow in full sun to light shade and for blooms all summer ensure the soil is fertile (a shovel of compost every spring will work wonders on this plant). When planting, put crown at same soil level in the garden as it was in

the pot; deeper plantings will encourage crown rot.

Landscape Value This plant reblooms constantly through the summer, starting in late spring to early summer it will produce several flushes of bloom. It will continue producing new blooms until knocked back by a hard frost. Excellent cut flower and container plant.


PERENNIAL PLANTS

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Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’ s l i a t e D Hardiness USDA 2/3 This is one tough plant.

Propagation OLDSTURM’ R U D B E C K IWAi n‘G ner 1999 PPA

Can naturalize as it does support butterflies with nectar and seeds for birds. Fan ta stic fa l l b l o o m e r

Seed, stem cuttings or division will give you a good plant. I note that some of the seed-grown plants are not exactly like the parent plant, there’s variation there. So if you want to ensure your plants are all the same, use division or stem cuttings.

Pests

This plant loves a well-drained soil in the full sunshine.

None of any consequence.

Moderate fertility will keep it upright.

Long-blooming brown eyed daisy – from the middle of July through to heavy frost.

I have seen it growing successfully in a very light shade.

Very popular plant when planted in large numbers or with grasses.

Landscape Value

Can naturalize as it does support butterflies with nectar and seeds for birds.


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PERENNIAL PLANTS

Echinacea ‘Magnus’ s l i a t e D Hardiness USDA 3/4

Propagation NUS’ C O N E F L O W E R ‘M A G 1998 PPA Winner

It thrives in a fertile but well-drained soil. Lon g S ea so n B l o o m e r Grow in full sun or very light shade. Too much shade produces floppy or ugly, stretched plants. It thrives in a fertile but welldrained soil. Clay will kill this plant over the winter.

Easy from cuttings, division or even seed.

Pests None of any consequence.

Landscape Value This is a long-blooming plant that begins flowering in July and runs will into September. Not much is going to kill this plant or stop it from blooming heavily.


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PERENNIAL PLANTS

Salvia ‘May Night’ s l i a t e D Hardiness USDA Zone 4

Propagation

’ S A L V I A ‘ M AY N I G H T 1997 PPA Winner

Fragrant foliage with spikes of deep violet-blue Drou g h t To l e ra n t This plant loves a full-sun garden but will tolerate light shade and continue blooming.

Easy by tender tip cuttings or a spring division.

Pests None of any consequence.

Landscape Value Cut flower, late-spring bloomer to bridge the gap between the early spring and mid-summer blooming plants. Fragrant foliage with spikes of deep violet-blue held well over top of the plants.

Once established, it will tolerate periodic droughts but like most perennials, will prefer a welldrained soil in average moisture and fertility conditions. Does not like clay soils or winter wetness.


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PERENNIAL PLANTS

Penstemon ‘Husker Red’ s l i a t e D Hardiness USDA zone 3

Propagation KERS B E A R T O N G U E ‘H U S

RED’

1996 PPA Winner

the bronze foliage adds season-long value to the garden. Dem a n ds F u l l D r a i n a g e value to the garden.

Tip cuttings or division works well in the home garden. It doesn’t come true from seed although it will set some. Remove seeds in fall you you’ll have self-sown seedlings of different colors messing up your design.

Pests

Penstemons love the full sun but will tolerate some early morning shade particularly in warmer climates.

None of any consequence.

Another key to success is to ensure the soil is well drained (no clay). It will even tolerate summer droughts.

A great plant for the hot dry garden where few other plants survive. The bronze foliage is an excellent contrast plant with silver-leaved plants such as Russian Sage.

It will not rebloom, but the bloom time is a solid 6 weeks and the bronze foliage adds season-long

Landscape Value

It is a heavy blooming, white flowering plant.


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PERENNIAL PLANTS

Perovskia atriplicifolia s l i a t e D Hardiness USDA 4 with good drainage

Propagation

R U S S I A N S AG E 1995 PPA Winner

One small trick with this plant is that after it blooms in the early summer, you can shear it back by half. Fra gra n t R a b bi t R e s i s t a nt fo l i ag e This is a sun-loving plant that will take a bit of morning shade. It demands excellent drainage for good success. It doesn’t tolerate winter wet soils (clay).

Delightful silver foliage and spires of lavender-blue flowers in late summer make this an excellent plant for the middle to back of the perennial border.

Tip cuttings or division work the best in the home garden.

Pests None of any consequence.

Landscape Value Butterfly-attracting plant. Great silver foliage contrasts well with upright or darker green-leaved plants such as daylilies. I’ve planted mine next to dark-leaved shrub roses and the contrasts between the late rose blooms and the violet-blue flower spikes is excellent. Flowers make excellent cut flowers

Other than that, put it in the ground and enjoy the breathtaking fragrant foliage.

Leaves are fragrant and Rabbit-resistant plant


PERENNIAL PLANTS

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Astilbe ‘Sprite’ s l i a t e D Hardiness USDA zone 3

Propagation

A S T I L B E ‘S P R I T E ’ 1994 PPA Winner

Divide every 3-5 years to maintain growth

The easiest is by division first thing in spring or mid-fall.

Pests None of any consequence.

Landscape Value Supe rb Arc h in g P l a n t ‘Sprite’ grows well in full sun to part shade in northern gardens but requires more shade in the South. Astilbe are heavy feeders and can us a shovel of compost in early spring and again in late fall to keep it growing well. Mind you, these can be quite invasive once established. Divide every 3-5 years to maintain growth and remove any dead centers on the plants.

Deep green foliage and pink flowers on graceful arching stems make this a perfect shade plant. It is absolutely stunning if massplanted. Excellent cut flower.


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PERENNIAL PLANTS

Veronica ‘Sunny Border Blue’ s l i a t e D Hardiness USDA Zone 3.

Propagation

‘S U N N Y B O R D E R

BLUE’

1993 PPA Winner

deadheading regularly will keep it blooming longer. lon g b loomi n g b l u e f l o w e r Grow in full sun to very light shade. Wile this plant likes (and blooms better) with fertile soil, it demands excellent drainage if it is to survive the winter (no clay soils). While it is an extremely long season bloomer, deadheading regularly will keep it blooming longer.

Tip cuttings or division work nicely

Pests None of any consequence.

Landscape Value A long blooming-season plant with good blue flowers. Looks very good in mass plantings or when combined with yellowflowering perennials.


PERENNIAL PLANTS

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Coreopsis verticillata ‘Moonbeam’ s l i a t e D Hardiness USDA zone 4

Propagation BEAM’ C O R E O P S I S ‘M O O N 1992 PPA Winner

One of the last perennials to start growing in the spring Lon g sea so n bl o o m e r Full sun is recommended but the plant can tolerate some light shade (morning sun), Fertile soil but well drained is the key to success.

One of the last perennials to start growing in the spring in zone 4 so do have patience.

Division or stem cuttings. Note that this is one of the few plants that you can take stem cuttings wshile the plant is in bloom and they’ll root nicely. It is sterile and doesn’t produce seed.

Pests None of any consequence.

Landscape Value This plant blooms from the end of June in my garden right through to mid-September, This longblooming nature lends itself well to garden or container performance. I never deadhead and the plant is continually smothered in blooms.


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PERENNIAL PLANTS

Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ s l i a t e D Hardiness USDA zone 4

Propagation AC E P U R P L E ’ L A P A R E H C U E H 1991 PPA Winner

This is a plant that will thrive just about anywhere. Cl a ssic P ur p l e L e a v e d P lant Plant in full sun to shade. This is a plant that will thrive just about anywhere if given adequate water. If you find the leaves fade on you in your garden (they did in mine) then move the plant to a shadier location. While the plant is rated for full sunshine, I’ve had better luck with it as a part-shade plant. It does like adequate moisture all summer but good drainage in the winter (crowns rot if kept wet during the winter).

While this plant is an older variety of this popular plant family, it remains one of the most-readily obtained and popular.

By division and stem cuttings. While there are a few seeds being sold for this plant, the results are variable in leaf shade.

Pests None of any consequence although the leaves will be eaten by slugs or other leaf eating insects.

Landscape Value The purplish-bronze foliage is an attractive counterpoint to lighterleaved plants and it looks stunning in massed plantings. Flowers are almost insignificant and can be cut off to keep attention on the foliage. Excellent in containers


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PERENNIAL PLANTS

Phlox stolonifera s l i a t e D

Sorry, no image available

Hardiness USDA zone 3

Propagation RA P H L OX S T O L O N I F E 1990 PPA Winner

Do give this plant a hard shearing after blooming to stop it from getting leggy Damp S h a d e G a r d e n This is a plant for the damp shade garden where it will throw lovely sprays of fragrant flowers in early spring. Do give this plant a hard shearing after blooming to stop it from getting leggy; it will respond with dense foliage development and heavy blooming in subsequent springs.

Easy by tender tip cuttings or a spring division.

Pests None of any consequence.

Landscape Value This is a low-spreading plant with evergreen leathery leaves. Native to North America. Early spring bloomer with fragrant flowers. Shade lover and it does grow well in containers. The main use, however, is to highlight early spring blooms (such as trillium) in the shade garden.


End Words

W

ith special thanks to

Perennial Resource for providing pictures of Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ Penstemon ‘Husker’s Red’ Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’ Athyrium niponicum ‘Pictum’

http://perennialresource.com/

All other pictures copyright Douglas Green.

Perennial Gardening Questions can be asked at www.gardening-tips-perennials.com

Perennial Plant Winners  

How to grow all the Perennial Plants of the Year

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