QUESTIONS WHEN CHOOSING PERENNIALS

9 min read

QUESTIONS WHEN CHOOSING PERENNIALS

Before you make a choice in perennials, it is useful to know a few things. Our grower answers frequently asked questions about perennials

Without plants, a garden is not a garden! Because many gardeners want to get as much added value as possible from their plants and the space in their garden is often limited, perennials are very popular. In De Tuinen van Appeltern there are hundreds of species in the more than 200 sample gardens and in the 10,000 m2 National Perennial Garden . Nursery Rijnbeek & Zoon from Boskoop has been helping us for many years with the design of borders and making the right choices. We asked them questions that everyone wants to know.

WHY ARE THEY CALLED PERSONAL PLANTS?

Perennials refer to herbaceous plants that sleep underground in the winter and emerge and grow again in the spring. Herbaceous plants are always tender like vegetables. They never become like bushes and trees because they are made of wood. Bulbs and tubers can also be solid and come back every year. 1- or 2-year-olds, the name says it all, they are also herbaceous, but they freeze to death after 1 or 2 winters.

It’s not that a perennial can grow and survive anywhere. Soil and outdoor conditions play a major role. If a plant does not feel comfortable, it will not survive. Nowadays, more and more 1-year-old (climbing) plants are offered at a garden center that resemble perennials. Look carefully at the label before purchasing!

DO ALL PERSONAL PLANTS DO THE SAME?

The only thing they do the same is that, provided the conditions are not too bad, they start growing again every year after the winter. In addition, they all have specific properties that make them used differently. There is already a difference between deciduous and deciduous species. You have ground covers and true bloomers, butterfly attracting species and also edible plants. And then you also have weaker and very stable perennials. The labels do not always contain the most complete information. When you consider that those labels are also intended for sale, you understand that the limitations of the plant prefer not to be mentioned. Some plants, for example, have such a reproductive drive that will fill your entire garden in no time.

Fortunately, there are plenty of connoisseurs among gardeners and designers . A website like Appeltern’s can also help you. It’s also not a bad thing to just experiment.. adjust the low varieties in front, the higher ones behind and in the following seasons if necessary. You can move perennials every year, as much as you want. Well-known architects such as Piet Oudolf and Jacqueline van der Kloet , who nowadays combine perennials and flower bulbs, have also simply had to learn.

IS A PERMANENT BORDER NOT A LOT OF WORK?

This is often thought, but it is not quite right. In the first place, it has to do with the varieties chosen in the border. They are immediately in the right place in terms of height and distance from the other plants in the border. In addition, you have real loan sharks that you have to make smaller every now and then. But once a layout has been carefully done and the soil is in order in terms of nutrition and structure, you don’t have to do anything about a border 4 to 6 years after planting. And from that moment on all you have to do is take out, tear or replace the dissonances. A grass species that has grown too tall can be such a dissonance or a box withirisesView plantIris versicolor – Liswhich give more and more leaves and less flower. It is a given that you give species that have been fixed for more than 5 years a healthy growth impulse by lifting them up, tearing them and planting a smaller piece back.

Some gardeners consider winter perennials a lot of work. But that mainly has to do with the time. It should not be earlier than the end of February because the heart of the plant must remain protected until the end of winter. If you wait until that time, you can easily rake the faded foliage off. Fortunately, many gardeners have experienced that the withered leaves also have an ornamental value that does not need to be removed immediately.

HOW SHOULD I PLAN A PERSONAL PLANT?

If you are going to plant a perennial, you must first remove the pot in the right way. Because the roots have often already grown through the bottom of the pot, you cannot just pull on the top.
It is best to remove the roots from under the pot. Then place the pot with the plant upside down in one hand and gently squeeze the bottom of the pot with the other hand until the plant slides out.

You immerse the plant, root ball and all in a bucket of water until you see no more air bubbles. The plant is then moist enough to be placed in the planting hole. The soil must be nutritious and loose in structure so that you can enclose the root ball with soil all around. Always make the planting hole a few centimeters deeper than the height of the plant root ball. Press firmly all around and the plant can start growing. Pay close attention to watering after planting. Not too much, but certainly not too little; the root ball should always feel moist.

IF YOU CUT PERSONAL PLANTS WILL THEY BLOOM AGAIN THE SAME YEAR?

It all depends on when and how long your perennials bloom. With spring bloomers, that’s just possible. You wait until they have almost finished flowering and then cut them off near the ground. After a few weeks they will have grown again and will flower again. Salvia and Lady’s Mantle fit into this list. In principle, this applies to every bloomer, only the effect becomes less and less after the longest day. Perennials that bloom in the summer will not do so a second time in the fall. You have to be a little wary at a garden center because you can just find a spring bloomer in the autumn there. This has to do with the fact that they are grown in a greenhouse.

WHAT TYPE OF FERTILIZER DO PERSONAL PLANTS NEED AND HOW OFTEN?

This of course depends on the type of soil you start with. If you have a very permeable soil, you should fertilize sooner than if you have peat or rich river clay soil. There is of course food in the root ball, but that is not enough for a plant very quickly. It is best to provide a humus-rich soil with nutrients.Ornamental garden compostsee productDCM Fertilizer Ornamental Gardenhas both, but gardeners are often far too frugal with it. You also have to keep repeating it every year because your garden soil can also leach out. With sandy soil you have to deal with it properly in the basics. Because sand has hardly any nutritional value and dries out quickly. You can also take this into account when choosing the plants.

There is therefore no standard guideline. Try to look closely at your plants and you will also discover what they are getting too little or too much. When in doubt, it is good to call in an Appeltern Garden Expert .

DO YOU PUT PERSONAL PLANTS IN GROUPS OR SEPARATELY?

That is a matter of taste and of course also function. If you want to cover the bottom in a planting area, you usually only put one type of plants. Depending on the space you have at your disposal, you can put tufts of the same type of plants (3 to 5 plants) together or just singles that you mix together.

Mixed borders are much more common than 10 to 15 years ago. This is also because mixtures of various plants have been devised that are immediately offered for sale. An advantage of more singletons is that you can apply more species on a limited area. And perhaps most importantly; if you put the same species in more places in your border instead of in one place together, you spread the bloom over the entire border. If you do that with all varieties and you make sure that other varieties bloom throughout the season, your entire border will bloom for a season. One reason for planting more specimens of one species than another is that one species grows larger and demands more attention. To maintain balance, you just have to plant more of the weaker variety.

We see that many garden centers offer a limited or always the same range for sale. Many gardeners often also apply the same sequence. It is not for nothing that we work together with De Tuinen van Appeltern and De Appeltern Tuinexperts ; They are always working on new varieties and increasingly beautiful border plans.

CAN A GROWER GROW ANY PERMANENT PLANT?

No that is not allowed. With plants it is a bit like with models of cars or certain construction techniques. The inventors protect their invention and have the exclusive right for production. In the plant world, that right lies with breeders.

Breeders must request permission from them to start breeding (propagating) a new species . The right does not remain with such a breeder forever. After a number of years, the propagation of a plant is often royalty-free. The breeders themselves usually do not negotiate with growers. Special intermediate companies such as ‘Plant-Tip’ do this. Coincidentally, we ( Kwekerij Rijnbeek & Son ) also represent a few breeders. This is of course also because we also operate on the American market, for example.

WHICH PERSONAL VARIETIES SHOULD YOU NOT PLANT?

More and more people are suffering from allergies, but because it works out differently for everyone, it is difficult to indicate which plants cause the most problems. Heracleum is downright dangerous. That’s a sex that burns you. Plants that proliferate and can take up your entire garden in a short time are Aegopdium variegatum, Glechoma, Houttuinia cordata and Houttuinia Chameleon. There are two ways in which plants spread quickly. Some varieties take over your garden because their seed is blown everywhere, others take root under other plants and therefore gain more and more ground.

IS IT BETTER TO BUY PERSONAL PLANTS IN LARGER POTS?

It all depends. First consider that everything is done in the garden market to entice gardeners to make a purchase. For that reason, plants are offered in several pot sizes.
As a consumer, you don’t realize it, but did you know that the color of the jar and the height of the sales tables influence buying behaviour!? If there is a hole in your border during the season, it is sometimes practical to use a larger plant (in a larger pot).to purchase. You will immediately have volume in your garden again. Looking over a period of 2 to 4 years, a plant in a large pot in the garden has grown no bigger than a plant in a small pot. As a grower, we are sometimes disappointed that some gardeners find perennials too expensive. While money is much easier to spend for a temporary bunch of flowers on the table.

WHICH GROWTH FACTORS ARE IMPORTANT FOR A BEAUTIFUL PERMANENT BORDER?

You must first make sure that you have the right plant for the situation in your garden. You cannot put a ‘sun worshiper’ in the shade and vice versa you cannot put a ‘shade plant’ in the sun. You also have to take into account the expansion drive of a plant. The plant must have room to grow. You also cannot put a tree in a flower pot. After that, almost everything is adjustable.

You also have to ensure good water management, a good soil structure and a soil with sufficient nutritional value. The approach and amount of measures can differ per garden. Maybe you shouldn’t want things that you can’t. Suppose you have an extremely dry garden, for example due to many tall trees in the area, then you can make the soil more moisture-retentive and install a rain installation, but you could also choose to apply heat and drought-resistant plants. When in doubt about the possibilities and impossibilities in your garden, it may be good to ask an Appeltern Garden Expert for advice.

HOW MANY PERSONAL PLANTS DO YOU NEED PER SQUARE METER?

Of course, that depends on how big a plant gets in practice. For average growers you can assume 7 to 9 plants per m2. But that is too much for plants that grow higher than 1 meter. For the larger species, 3 to 5 plants per m2 are sufficient. With larger grasses, 1 to 3 per m2 is more than enough. It is not always easy to estimate in advance, but if your garden is extremely vegetative, you simply need fewer plants to close the border. With ground covers, where you normally assume 12 per m2, you can take this into account.

WHICH PLANTS DO YOU PREFER TO GROW YOURSELF?

That is a difficult question for a grower who permanently grows more than 4000 varieties. But I’m going to try. Agapanthus ‘Little Dutch Blue’ and Agapanthus ‘Little Dutch White’ are beautiful compact flowering varieties.

For autumn, the colorfulAnemonesView plantAnemone ‘Splendens’ – Autumn Anemonespecies important. Asarum is a favorite of mine because it does very well on our peat bogs and is used so little under tree mirrors and other shaded areas. An old favorite of mine isAstilbe ‘Perkeo’see productAstilbe ‘Perkeo’ (Plume Spiraea, Splendor Spiraea)and Liliput with beautifully shiny leaves. They should be a little more known to the general public.

Astrantia is also a great genus with many different colors and low flowering varieties. Epimedium is a fantastic ground cover with beautiful flowers and foliage colours. They are very suitable for different soil types and in shady places.

The new Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora ‘Orange Pekoe’ is a bulbous tuber crop which I really like. Echinacea purpurea ‘Delicious Candy’, also a beautiful new species that continues to flower. The Geranium can’t go wrong with me either. Geranium species such as cantabrigiense types but also the Macrorrhizum species especially because of the discoloration of the leaves in autumn and winter. TheGeranium sanguineum speciessee productGeranium sanguineum ‘Album’ (Peakbill)are good ground covers in different colors. I really just can’t choose. The Salvia range is also indispensable for me. I just like to grow all plants equally. Especially when I see them everywhere in the gardens after a year!

WHY DO YOU WORK WITH THE GARDENS OF APPELTERN?

As a grower, I think it’s great that such a garden inspiration and garden information concept has emerged. We think it’s a wonderful way to help gardeners realize their gardening dreams. The people of De Tuinen van Appeltern see this as their most important mission. Earning money is not a priority at Appeltern.

The Rijnbeek family is happy to contribute to this. For the same reason; transferring knowledge and passion is more important than making money. Together with the Appeltern garden service, we can show beautiful things and contribute to the garden experience in the broadest sense for both the consumer and the professional.

IF SOMEONE JUST WANT TO TRY A CORNER OF PERSONAL PLANTS WHICH PLANTS DO YOU RECOMMEND?

Another very difficult question. But people come to love perennials when they are introduced to:

  • Alchemilla mollis
  • Astrantia
  • Campanula Iactiflora Prichard’s Variety
  • Echinacea Delicious Candy
  • Gaura Lindheimeri Freefolk Rosy
  • Geranium Azure Rush
  • Gillenia trifoliata
  • Hemerocallis Rosie Retuns
  • Hosta Big Mama
  • Iris and Variegata
  • Ligularia Pandora
  • Ligularia dentata Britt Marie Crawford
  • Veronica longifolia Marietta

THE BEST PLANT FOR THE CIRCUMSTANCE OF YOUR GARDEN

In Appeltern we are happy to have such passionate growers as Rijnbeek Perennials. It is partly because of them that we can make our gardens shine like we do now. Thanks in part to their knowledge, experience and involvement, we can make planting suggestions for everyone. In the article ” Choosing the best plants for the best place ” we have put together a number of plant lists that you can use in specific circumstances and certain preferences. Lots of planting fun!

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