A perennial is a plant that lives more than one year. To most gardeners it also implies soft stemmed plants that do not create woody stems.
Popular throughout Europe, Northern America, and southern parts of Australia, perennials is general term including plants like ornamental grasses, flowering soft plants like gerberas and geraniums, bulbous plants like cannas and so on.
More broadly it can also include succulents like Aloe, tropical plants like bromeliads and gingers, or collectables like orchids, bulbs and herbs.
Perennials are crucial within a landscape as they supply a sense of permanence while showcasing seasonal features like flowering.
Most plants can left in the ground for many years and make the perfect specimens for low maintenance gardens.
Some perennials have a habit of resting in winter and look as though they are dying. This resting period is important for the plants health and is the ideal time to cut off old leaves. By mid spring these plants will have resurrected with fresh leaves to prepare for flowering.
In the subtropics, there are many perennials that are can be used to create a ‘cottage garden’ although it must be acknowledged that this style of garden should only be created by dedicated gardeners.
Perennials for a cottage garden include rosemary, French lavender, salvia, winter tarragon (Tagetes lucida), pentas and shasta daisy as easy starters.
For most others, a subtropical garden can be enhanced with the following perennials:
* Blue Ginger (Dichorisandra)
* Canna (‘Tropicanna’ and ‘Bengal tiger’)
* Fountain flower (Russelia)
* River Lily (Crinum)
* Serenity fern (Microlepia strigosa)
* Spiral gingers (Costus)
In a native garden, perennials to look for include:
* Cats whiskers (Orthosiphon)
* Doryanthus palmeri
* Kangaroo paws (Anigozanthos)
* Koala fern (Caustis blakei)
* Native flax (Dianella)