Hedge plants

What are perennials?


A colorful world of its own can be created with perennials in the garden. But which plants are perennials and which are not?

© AnnaReinert / stock.adobe.com

Everyone's dream is to create their own world with blossoming landscapes. Most amateur gardeners have long since realized this dream. Fantastic garden spaces have been created on a number of properties.

There doesn't seem to be a lack of ideas, because gardeners are often inspired by a visit to the perennial garden. It is the large range of shrubs with its colorful variety of flowers and different location requirements, which offers garden enthusiasts a wide range of design options.

Hugo von Hoffmannthal, Austrian writer (1874 - 1929), recognized at the time:

"A garden can become a world in itself, regardless of whether this garden is large or small."

The botanist draws clear boundaries!

From the gardener's perspective, the plants are referred to as perennials that are older than two years. They are perennial, persistent and herbaceous. In contrast to shrubs, the plant parts that protrude from the ground do not become woody. As soon as their seeds have ripened, they die at the end of the garden year. However, their roots, tubers (rhizomes) and onions overwinter in the soil and form new plants in the next spring.

Two-year-old plants are also often counted as perennials. However, they are not classified among perennials. The botanist draws clear boundaries between the perennials and the one to two year old plants.

Characteristics and lifespan of the plants

characteristicsPerennial (perennial)Biennial plantAnnual plant
Root:The roots, tubers or onions spend the winter in the ground. After the parts of the plant protruding from the ground have died, buds on the roots, tubers and onions form underground.Rootstock dies at the end of the second garden year and rots in the groundRootstock dies at the end of the garden year and rots in the ground
Blossom:Flowering perennials, bloom from the first year. Some summer shrubs are cut back after the first flowering and form a second pile.Blooms in the second year. Some varieties form an after-bloom after the first pile. The first flower should be cut back immediately after flowering.Flowers only in the year of plant rearing.
Propagation by:Root runners, subsidence, sprout extension of the tubers or onion division, ..."Semen embryo" in the second year. The plant comes together. Their seeds germinate in the same garden year and form hardy young plants. These bloom and form seeds the following year.Insemination Only the frost-insensitive seeds will germinate in the next spring and form young plants. All other varieties must be sown again in spring.
Flowers for example:
  • cranesbill
  • crying heart
  • Wolf me
  • Flaming heart
  • lily
  • Kaisekrone
  • foxglove
  • cloves
  • pansy
  • mullein
  • mallow
    • aster
    • lobelia
    • zinnia
    • marigold
    • marigold
    • nasturtium
    Vegetable plants for example:
    • rhubarb
    • asparagus
    • wild garlic
    • salsify
    • carrot
    • parsley
    • radish
    • pea
    • Bean
    • tomato
    • zucchini

    Perennials that remain green even in winter

    Many "evergreens" are an exception to the vegetation behavior of known perennials. These include e.g. the sedum, which is especially known in rock gardens or from the wall planting. The low fat hens are among them.

    Badger root, Andean upholstery, looping bulbs or tyme are found as “evergreens” in the rock garden, for example.

    Evergreen perennials are hard to imagine without even on shady to partially shaded borders. Evergreen, palm lily, bergenia and lavender are very popular. The leaves of this

    Plants lose their color intensity in winter. Others, like the Bergenia, take on a light to intense red leaf color.

    Perennial or not perennial, that is the question

    The dahlia, the Indian flower tube and the gladiolus are persistent, herbaceous and perennial. They form tubers and store nutrients in them for the next garden year.

    In our latitudes they bloom like all other flowering perennials from summer to autumn. However, these plants are not hardy. Your tubers are therefore brought into the house for the winter. Although these ornamental plants fulfill essential characteristics of a perennial, they are not kept among perennials. They are common among herbaceous ornamental plants.