What are the Perennial Flowers for Sun Gardens

 What are the Perennial Flowers for Sun Gardens

There are many sun-loving flowering plants that return year after year. They are called perennials, and the best thing about them is that they reproduce. They can be divided every few years and spread throughout your garden or even passed on to other gardeners. I've divided this article into separate sections for annuals and perennials. Hence the phrase "plants along the path."

Perennials

Perennials are more expensive, but worth it because they reproduce. Soon the rhizomes of one iris will become four or five. The daffodil bulb will become two. Next year, those two numbers will be four, and so on. Daylilies, on the other hand, reproduce like crazy. Most of them will have to be divided every three to four years.

Amaryllis

Although amaryllis (Hippeastrum) bloom in the spring, they are often viewed as a Christmas flower because many forced bulbs are sold during the winter holidays. Every year during the holidays, I try to buy a color I don't already own. We enjoy them indoors, then plant them in the garden when warm weather returns.

It is a genus that includes about ninety species and more than 600 varieties and hybrids. They grow from very large grass bulbs, with the tops of the bulbs above the soil. They prefer full sun, but will also be happy in filtered or low light. It is drought tolerant and can go without rain for more than a year, but this will affect the flowers. So plant it in well-drained soil.

They multiply and can be separated to spread more in your garden or share with a friend. If the pups are very young, they will only flower for a few years. I recommend separating the puppies when they are older, and doing so in the fall or winter, depending on where you live.

Aggies

Because of their botanical name, Agapanthus africanus, these beautiful flowers are called “Aggies” by those who love them so much. Lily of the Nile, blue lily, and African blue lily are also common names.

Its flowers are in clusters of small lavender, blue, violet, blue or white flowers that resemble miniature lilies. I've been told there are also pink birds, but I've never seen them before.

I have an article titled, How to Grow Lilies of the Nile (Agaes), which contains more information on how to successfully grow these beautiful, long-lived perennials.

Day Lily

Daylilies (Hemerocallis) are popular with millions of gardeners perhaps because of their wide color range and the fact that they are almost indestructible. They are drought tolerant, and are not picky about their soil. Of course, with good soil, it will perform better for you. They are very easy to grow and divide, and will spread quickly, giving you plenty of babies to run around in your garden or to share with a neighbour.

Plant in a well-drained area, being careful to keep the crown about an inch below the soil. Plant them in full sun away from trees and shrubs that compete with them for water and nutrients.
It is available in solid colors and bi-color flowers. They can be expensive, especially the showy ones, but they are also among the flowers known as "pathway plants." If you have a friend, relative or neighbor who needs a daylily to divide, they are sure to share some with you.

Siberian Iris

Siberian iris is especially popular with gardeners who live too far south to grow bearded iris. I tried growing these beautiful bearded irises in Central Florida (Zone 9a), but they weren't happy there, because the winters don't freeze long enough.

I also had a Siberian purple iris, and it grew like crazy. When we moved two years ago, I brought three little buds with me. Now I have four large clips that need to be redistributed. You will need to divide it every two or three years. If it is too crowded, the flowers will be smaller and on smaller stems.

Geranium

Cultivated geraniums (as opposed to native) fall into a category called "tender perennials." This is because in all but the warmest climates, they will not return if left in the ground over the winter. Although they are not true annuals, in some seasons they are considered annual plants.

They come in a huge range of colours, with clusters of solid and multi-coloured flowers. It can be grown from seed, but I've never tried it, so I won't try to describe it here.

One way to keep them alive over the winter is to grow them in pots over the summer, then move them indoors for the winter. I love watching them grow in the ground just like my mother. He came up with the idea of putting them in clay pots (which are porous) and then planting them in the ground.

When frost approached, she would pick up the pots, clean or dust them, and take them into her basement to sit in the window until spring. I copied his methods and now have some geraniums that I have had for five years.

Louisiana Iris

For those of us who live along the Gulf Coast, a favorite spring flower is the Louisiana iris. Once exclusively a wildflower, it has been hybridized to bloom in a rainbow of colors on tall stems with large, showy flowers. You can often see native wildflowers blooming in swamps or swampy areas and in ditches along roadsides.

Louisiana iris fits well into the popular and growing use of native plants in the landscape. They make excellent additions to hydroponic gardens and rain gardens, but can also be grown in a regular garden.

There are five species known as Louisiana iris, but only in southern Louisiana have all five species been found growing naturally. These five types of iris mate easily. Hybrid varieties of Louisiana Iris are now found in nurseries and garden centers as a result of hybridization of the species.

They are available in a wide range of solid colors, including red, yellow, pink, blue, purple, gold, lavender, burgundy, white and even brown. Two colors of contrasting shades, markings and ruffles are also cultivated.

The best time to plant these beauties is August and September when they are dormant, but you can plant them when they are in bloom and choose the colors and flowers you prefer. If the flowers are planted open, handle them carefully so as not to damage the foliage and flower buds.

Carolina Spider Lily

This is what another gardener gave me. When we moved, I left some behind and took a few with me. They are now growing happily in my new garden.

Due of its similar look, the Cahaba lily (Hymenocallis Coronaria) and the Carolina spider lily (Hymenocallis caroliniana), sometimes known as the coastal spider lily, are frequently mistaken for one another. However, the Cahaba lily grows in flowing water, such as the Cahaba River, as well as in other creeks and streams.
The Carolina spider lily is a perennial native to southern coastal soils from North Carolina to Florida and Alabama. It usually blooms in spring with clusters of fragrant flowers, making it attractive to pollinators.

This perennial herbaceous bulb grows best in consistently moist soil. It needs full sun to part shade and can be grown in zones 7a to 9a. In landscaping, it is best used in water gardens, rain gardens or ponds. In the wild, it can be found in moist soil up to 6 inches deep from standing water in tidal marshes and along the banks of standing water streams.
The dark green, belt-like leaves resemble those of amaryllis and agapanthus. In fact, they both belong to the Amaryllidaceae plant family.

Bearded Iris

Of the more than 300 species in this genus, the most famous is the tall (at least 28 inches) bearded iris. It is also the symbol of Florence, Italy and was the royal standard (fleur de lis) of France for many years.

Beard hair is often considered old-fashioned by many, as everyone's grandmother had beard hair. I think it looks weird with three large outer petals called the "rod" and three straight inner petals called "standards." It is the beard (or crest) of fine hair at the center of the waterfall that gives it its name.

Depending on where you live, irises will bloom in early to mid-spring or early summer. Now there are some hybrids that will bloom again in late summer. Even after flowering, the sword-like sage green foliage adds interest to the garden and serves as a beautiful backdrop for the small, colorful flowers.

I wrote an article called Bearded Irises and How to Grow Them which includes more information, such as when and where to plant, how to transplant (this is not a common method), how to fertilize, and how to avoid rot.

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