The Q&A Archives: Choosing Perennials

Question: I have a faily large tulip bed that I would like to fill with other perennials so that I have blooming color all season long and I don't want to have to transplant each year. What would you suggest, and should I start with seeds or plants. Thank you for your assistance.

Answer: The major difference between seeds and transplants is that many perennials started from seed won't bloom the first year, whereas most plants will.

I'm assuming your tulip bed is in a sunny area. Daylilies are terrific perennials, as they are easy to grow, bloom profusely for an extended season, have attractive foliage, and come in a variety of colors, most in the yellow,orange, red spectrum. Stella de Oro is a tried and true variety. I'm also a fan of artemesia, which is a foliage plant. There are many varieties with leaves in silvery to bluish-green tones. The foliage is "feathery" and makes a nice backdrop for other plants. It also works well in bouquets as a filler. Artemisia haa a sage-like scent when brushed against. Hollyhock is fantastic if you have a wall or background area to plant it against. It will self-sow around the garden. The leaves are large and dark green. Another perennial that is becoming very popular is Monarda, or bee balm. Its tubular-shaped flowers attract butterflies. All of these are easy to grow perennials for a beginning gardener. It's often best to start with a few types and learn how they "work" in your garden and then expand as your experience grows. Hope this gives you some ideas!

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