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5 Easy Perennial Plants That Add Value to Your Home
05-04-2021 | Armbruster

5 Easy Perennial Plants That Add Value to Your Home

We homeowners invest a lot of money in our homes. We update, renovate, and make repairs. No sooner have we spent the money, though, and the work depreciates over time. Take painting. Give the downstairs a fresh coat of paint, and before you know it there are dings and scratches and fingerprints. New faucet on your kitchen sink? A few years later it’s going to look a little worse for the wear. What was once a new bathroom now needs an overhaul. A perennial garden, on the other hand, adds value over time. Once you frontload the work of planting and helping the plants get established, healthy perennials will look better and better each year. Your investment of time and money can really pay off in curb appeal. What are Perennial Plants? Perennial plants are ornamental or flowering plants that come back year after year. Once you get them in the ground and the roots take hold, they are fairly easy to maintain. Perennials each have a particular time of the year when they blossom. Some are early bloomers, such as daffodils and tulips. Others, like butterfly bush or bee balm, bloom later in the season. If you plan it right, you can have something new blooming every week or two. You can find perennial plants for any kind of growing condition---full sun, shade, rocky soil, lots of rain, etc. Why Perennial Plants? Perennial plants are like putting money in the bank. Leave them be and you’ll see the interest growing---literally. Many perennial plants will double in size every couple of years. Which means you can have very full, lush beds or you can ‘split’ them. BONUS TIP: To split a perennial, dig out the whole plant and put it on a flat surface. Use a planting spade to make a clean cut from the top of the soil to the bottom. Replant part of the plant in its original spot. Use the other parts to fill in other beds or create a new bed. When people think of summer blooms, they often think of tried-and-true annual plants. Flowers like geraniums, petunias, and impatiens are great for having blooms all season. But those are annuals, and annuals don’t come back the next year. Annual flowers can also be fussy, requiring careful watering nearly every day. If you ignore them for a few days in a row in the middle of the summer, you may lose them. Perennials, on the other hands, can often take a beating and survive just fine. How to Plant Perennials Want to plant perennials, save a ton of time, and stave off an aching back? Take advantage of the new trend in home gardening---no-till gardening. Gardeners, farmers, and scientists agree that it’s not necessary to till (turn over) inches of soil to plant a garden. In fact, it’s better for your plants if you don’t disturb the soil. When soil gets turned, the networks of living creatures in the soil get broken up. Those networks help plants access nutrients and give the soil structure. So how do you start a garden without turning over a new bed?
  • First, spread a dark-colored tarp over the area you want to plant. Leave it alone for 4-8 weeks. You’re trying to kill whatever is currently growing there---most likely grass and weeds.
  • When it looks like the living matter has given up the ghost, remove the tarp. Rake out the old grass and weeds.
  • Add compost, composted manure, or the soil of your choice and fertilizer.
  • Mold the soil into the shape you want. Keep the middle of the bed higher than the edges.
  • If your plants have deeps roots already, you can rough up the first couple of inches of soil with a hoe to give them a little more wiggle room.
For a finished look, add edging and mulch. Our Pick for the Top 5 Perennials All of the plants below are native to North America. They are attractive even when they’re not flowering and get bigger every year. Black-eyed Susan If you like being able to have cut flowers for your garden, you are going to love Black-eyed Susans. Plan on being able to bring in deep yellow blooms on 2-foot stems from July through late summer. Black-eyed Susans are seen growing wild in meadows in great swaths of yellow. It is a workhorse in the garden, producing tons of flowers and providing a beautiful splash of color in mid-late summer. Black-eyed Susans are part of the daisy family. They grow equally well in full sun or part shade. They double in size every 2-3 years. You can expect a couple of gallon-sized plants to fill in a ten-by four-foot bed in a few years. You’ll even be able to dig up some sections to start in new beds. Black-eyed Susan plants are attractive to pollinators (bees, butterflies, and birds) as well as other wildlife. Rabbits like to hide in the dense foliage of the plants. Deer eat the plant. To discourage deer and rabbits, plant aromatic plants such as lavender, sage, or rosemary nearby. The strong smell repels them. Creeping Phlox    There are over 60 varieties of phlox native to the U.S. Some grow tall, but here we’ll talk about the low-growing kind--creeping phlox. Creeping phlox is a perennial ground cover that blooms in spring, and, yes, it creeps. You’ll see it filling in rocky beds or spilling over stone walls. Every year it will creep forward a little more. It comes in colors ranging from white and pink to blue and purple. When it blooms, creeping phlox looks---and feels-- like a soft, fluffy blanket. Even when the blooms are gone, the greenery has a soft mossy look. Phlox are a great option for adding a colorful early bloomer to the garden. Hostas Another garden super-hero is the hosta family of plants. There are many varieties of hostas with different types of foliage---deep green or light, thick or delicate. Hostas are similar to Black-eyed Susan in their ability to fill in a landscape. In fact, every couple of years, you will be able to split one plant into 6-8 new ones. You may even run out of places to plant them. In mid-summer, a long thin stalk grows from the otherwise low-to-the-ground greenery. Then, in late summer, tiny trumpet-shaped flowers quietly bloom. If you sit very still in late August, you may be lucky enough to watch hummingbirds flit back and forth sipping nectar. Hostas prefer some shade during the day. Otherwise, the leaves will wither, even with frequent watering. Day-lilies Day-lilies grow wild by the side of the road, so you know they are going to do well in your garden. They can grow in hardpacked soil, but they benefit from well-drained soil, as most plants do. Day-lilies shoot out their lush, light-green leaves in early spring. They are often one of the first plants you can see growing in the spring. In later spring and early summer, their large orange flowers pop open. They grow on 3-4-foot stems and make beautiful cut flowers. They will be ready to spilt every 3-4 years. Purple Coneflower There are actually many colors of coneflower, but purple is the most common. Purple coneflower is a show-stopper. Lilac-purple petals flare out from the center of a 2-3-foot-tall plant. In the center is spikey pom-pom of brick-colored seeds. These seeds help the plant grow and spread, so be sure to let the seeds fall when the blooms are spent. Coneflower is easy to grow---it’s drought tolerant and can take scorching heat and sun. The soil doesn’t have to be perfect for it to take hold. While purple coneflower doesn’t spread as quickly as Black-eyed Susan or hosta plants, you will see it get bigger with each season. They are extremely hardy and bloom from mid-to-late summer. Purple coneflower is a favorite of butterflies and bees. The big spikey flowers are the perfect place for tiny feet to rest while the insects sip on sweet nectar. Coneflower seeds will attract birds, helping to create a mini-wildlife sanctuary right in your yard. Bonus pick: Chives This is the only edible plants we’re including, and it deserves its own special mention. You might think that growing chives would be an odorous addition to your beautiful garden. Stick with us here. (They really don’t smell onion-y, unless you’re very close.) Chives are easy, easy, easy, and they look good. By early spring they already have a lot of green showing. They grow in neat, round clumps that look good all season. In mid-spring they produce straw-like purple flowers that pollinators love. You need to add a kick to your salad or roast? Snip off a few leaves and, voila! The plant will still look good and keep sending up new shoots. Chives don’t require a ton of water and have no major maintenance needs. Every 2-3 years, you’ll be able to spilt them and pop them anyplace you want to add attractive greenery. Chives can also deter foraging animals that want to nibble on your other plants. Did you know that May is the start of the busiest season for moving? Get ahead of the crowds. Contact us or schedule a virtual survey to see how we can help.
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