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Get more drama with perennials

Becky Garber
Special to the Daily

Perennials never go out of style.

They show up in sensational shapes-from spikes and mounds to the delicate and demur. Perennials offer ever-changing colors and textures. Some live in the sun, others like the shade. This is why many property owners are turning to them to replace large expanses of annual flowers in their landscapes. Perennials offer a solid, sustainable option for ongoing seasonal color.

Once established, low-water perennials can help you reduce the amount of water needed to maintain non-stop outdoor color. There are many drought tolerant varieties available. Consider the Plant Select perennials developed by Colorado State University with Denver Botanic Gardens that withstand and thrive in Colorado’s often challenging conditions.

Varieties that don’t require deadheading also reduce your time in ongoing maintenance. That’s good news for busy people who would rather be picking fresh tomatoes than spent blooms.

Plant a perennial once and that same plant gets “reused” in the landscape year after year. Perennials provide great value because, unlike annuals, you purchase and plant them once-and they return to bloom again and again. Plus, after that first growing season when they become established, they get bigger and more showy with age.

After a few growing seasons, many perennials actually outgrow their available space. That’s good news for the gardener who can divide the plants into two or three more plants and “recycle” them to other areas of the yard.

Perennials are the BOGO-buy one/get one-in the landscape if you just have a little patience to wait for them to expand their boundaries. Grasses, rudbeckia and daisies are some examples of perennials that can be successfully “recycled” by dividing and planting elsewhere.

Unlike annuals, most perennials don’t bloom all season long. So you will need to plan and plant an assortment of perennials that provide a sequence of flowers. This requires a combination of plants that will bloom at different times throughout the growing season. Designers and landscape architects can help you select the right combos mix of low-water perennials that bloom in successive stages. Those staggered blooms will give your yard fresh bursts of color throughout the year.


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