In designing with plants, it is the perennials that ensure that there is constant change, and that there is always an element of surprise or interest in the garden.
Getting to know the dormant and flowering periods of the plants is essential to achieving the right balance in the design, so that as one perennial goes to sleep, another awakens.
Perennials, perhaps more than any other group of plants, are available in a huge range of colours, forms, textures and fragrances in both foliage and flower. There are perennials suitable for almost every area of the garden: from full sun to full shade, in large gardens or small beds and to suit every mood or style. Popular perennial plants include Penstemon, Gaura, Canna, Dahlias, Salvias, Lupins, Columbines, Lilies, Delphiniums and Hellebores - oh! the list is endless.
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A perennial plant (Latin per, "through", annum, "year") is a plant that lives for more than two years, unlike an Annual which grows, sets seed, gayly disperses it and then dies - all in a single season. Perennial plants are divided into two large groups: those that are woody and those that are herbaceous. They can be short-lived (only a few years) or they can be long-lived, and can vary in size from only a few millimeters to over 10 meters tall. They include a wide assortment of plant groups from Ferns to the highly diverse flowering plants like Orchids and Ornamental Grasses.
Perennials typically grow structures that allow them to adapt to living from one year to the next. These structures include bulbs, tubers, woody crowns, rhizomes plus others. They might have specialized stems or crowns that allow them to survive periods of dormancy over cold or dry seasons during the year. Many perennials have adapted to survive under extreme environmental conditions: some can survive hot dry conditions, or cold temperatures. These plants tend to invest a lot of resource into their adaptations and often do not flower and set seed until after a few years of growth.
Many perennials produce relatively large seeds, which can have an advantage as they produce larger seedlings after germination that can better compete with other plants or more quickly develop leaves, ensuring their survival.
In warmer climates, perennials grow continuously. In seasonal climates, their growth is limited to the growing season. For example, in temperate regions a perennial plant may grow and bloom during the warm part of the year, with the foliage dying back in the winter. These plants are deciduous perennials. Regrowth is from existing stem tissue. In some species, perennials retain their foliage all year round; these are evergreen perennials. Come in and take a look around. We've always got something pretty, perky and persuasive in the perennial line.
A dwarf Agapanthus blue fresh green strappy foliage topped off with gorgeous blue flowers for months on end. The flowers are eco-friendly in that they are virtually sterile, i.e. seedless. For maximum impact plant in large drifts. Evergreen.
Sparkle White forms a mound of narrow, green leaves with airy arching stems of dainty white flowers tinged pink from late spring through to late summer. Great for containers, edging or in the rock garden. When flowering enmasse they give the impression of butterflies in flight when the wind moves them. Perennial
Colour: White / Pink Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 60cm x 60cm
Winter Rose single. A special form from the 'Clifton Homestead' collection with stems of soft apricot, outward facing blooms that sometimes have a red blush on the reverse. Dark green, divided leathery leaves that form a clump. Plant in semi-shade in nice humus rich soil that is well drained. Perennial.
Colour: Apricot Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 45cm x 45cm
The handsome dark green leaves combine well with the pale pink cupped shaped blooms which appear from winter through to early spring. Happiest in a semi-shaded position, ideal to naturalize under deciduous trees. Well worth planting. Perennial.
Colour: Pink Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 45cm x 45cm
Winter Rose single. A beautiful single yellow Hellebore from the 'Clifton Homestead' collection that has soft primrose yellow blooms that have hints of green in the centre. Plant in semi-shade in well drained, humus rich soil. Cut off any old leaves looking tatty just before flowering. Perennial.
Colour: Yellow / Green Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 45cm x 45cm
This little sweetie will win you over even if you don't like Mice! The thick blue-grey rounded foliage forms a very neat little clump. The spring-summer flowers are pale mauve but really it's about the foliage. Plant in semi-shade in nice rich moist soil. Hosta of the Year 2008. Deciduous perennial
As with many 'blue' Hostas this form is reasonably slug resistant.
Colour: Mauve Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 20cm x 20cm
Another tuber (edible root). Kumara is a marvellously versatile vegetable. Like potatoes, it can be cooked in many ways and has the added advantage of being packed with antioxidants with a lower GI than potatoes or pumpkin. It has a pleasant, sweet taste and when mashed is delightfully smooth. Great for kids. Perennial
Plant maturity is approximately 120 days and depends on sunshine hours.
If you want a tough and easy to grow ground cover or edging plant then it would be hard to go past Liriope Royal Purple. Strong grass-like dark green foliage that forms a clump and spreads. Spikes of dainty purple flowers appear throughout summer. Tolerates sun or part shade. Evergreen.
Colour: Purple Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 40cm x spreadscm
Liriope Royal Purple
Current Stock Height: 0/5 cm ?
Container: 1.3l ?
Liriope Royal Purple
New stock arriving beginning of July, 2021. Pre-order now. Estimated price $19.99 each. Payment when stock arrives.
A selected form of this hardy ground-cover which grows particularly well in shade. Glossy green foliage with a 'serrated' edge on fleshy stems. Little white fragrant flowers in spring. Most attractive when allowed to form a thick mat of foliage. Hardy and evergreen.
Pachysandra will grow in sun but will need to be keep moist to do well. As it is an invaluable plant for shaded spots with is where it does best.
Colour: White Habit: Spreading Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 10cm x spreads
Intensely blue flowers with a tinge of purple contrast beautifully with the silvery green foliage of this hardy perennial. Renowned for their resilience, long flowering period and weather resistance. With a bushy, upright habit, this semi-evergreen perennial makes a superb addition to the garden. Prefers a sunny well drained position. Perennial
Colour: Blue / Purple Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 60cm x 60cm
Gentian Sage. Bright green, hairy aromatic foliage and stems of vivid blue, tubular flowers in summer and autumn. Very striking and lovely for the mixed border. Prefers protection from afternoon sun and harsh frost. Dies down after flowering to tuberous roots. Perennial.
Colour: Blue Habit: Spreading Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 60cm x 60cm
Salvia Blue Angel
Current Stock Height: 10/15 cm ?
Container: 1.5l ?
Wairere Nursery 826 Gordonton Road, R D 1, Hamilton 3281 Ph: (07) 824 3430 Email: