I LOVE flowers and always have, so this time of year I’m happy to be tending to my flower beds and picking out new plants. When we moved back a few years ago, I updated the flower beds in front of our house with perennials, because I didn’t want to have to re-plant each year! I also wanted to put in plants that were drought tolerant, since we are a very busy family and don’t have an irrigation system to water our plants for us!
My mother was in the local garden club and knows a ton about plants, so she was able to help me along with a lot of my own research to determine which plants would do best in our beds. While I kept some of the plants that were already there, I bought some new ones and was lucky enough to get some from local friends.
When choosing perennials for your garden or flower beds, here’s what you should keep in mind:
Do They Like Full Sun or Part-Sun?
The front of our house faces to the west, and half of the front beds get full sun, while the other half is in more shade. As a result, my selections for each side were different and included mostly perennials, with a few annuals added in for color.
For full sun, I love Gaillardia for its burgundy, orange and yellow flowers. It will bloom through the fall and is very drought tolerant. Other great full sun options are lupine (beautiful tall flowers in a variety of colors) with distinctive leaves. Lupine will sometimes re-seed itself too, so don’t be surprised if you see it popping up in a different spot the following year!
Shasta daisies, coreopsis, sedum, yarrow, and coneflowers (echinacea) are also great choices as are herbs like rosemary, sage and thyme. If you need perennials that need more shade, check out astilbe, bleeding hearts, foxglove or spiderwort.
How High Will They Grow?
Plants usually come with a little identification tag sticking up in the soil that will tell you the amount of sunlight they need, how far and apart to plant them and how tall they will get. Gather your plants and start placing them where you want them to go (still in the containers)– that way you can rearrange them to see what looks best before they are in the ground!
Put the higher plants towards the back and the shorter plants and ground covers (like phlox) in the very front.
Do They Need to be Watered Often?
Even though we are right down the street from the beach, it does get pretty hot in the summer here and plants can get dried out quickly. I purposely chose drought tolerant plants to give them the best chance of success in our flower beds! Drought tolerant plants may need to be water if you go through a really dry spell, but in general they will be okay with the occasional rain shower.
Will They Reseed or Grow Back in the Same Spot?
The great thing about perennials is they will come back year after year, so you won’t have to replant beds every year! Sometimes the same plant will come back in the same spot, or on other occasions it reseeds itself and will pop up somewhere else in your flower bed or garden (like my lupine did last year!).
What are your favorite perennials?