Your Year Around Flower and Garden Guide

Perennials: Perennial Gardens

Hardy Perennials for a great Perennial Garden


While many annual plants are started in nurseries, hardy perennials are grown frequently on perennial farms. The difference between a nursery and a perennial farm is that a nursery typically grows plants indoors under controlled conditions.

Perennial farms grow hardy perennials outdoors and generally are precise in indicating how long a particular species of plant has been grown at the farm. In this way, perennial farms prove that the hardy perennials they grow for sale will survive local conditions year-round.

When you go out of these plants at either a local nursery or a perennial farm, most plants for sale will be hardy in your area. However, when you buy online or by catalog, it’s necessary first to know what hardiness zone you live in. The term hardiness is often used erroneously to mean winter-hardiness only. Actually, hardiness is a plant’s ability to survive year-round. Frequently, plants that are winter-hardy in one zone, will not survive summer conditions in another zone.

Aside from variations in temperature, formulating zones for hardy perennials includes other variables such as snow depth and rainfall. Hardiness zones indicate probabilities of plant survival under broad conditions. Extremes in weather, differences in local topography, and gardening practices such as mulching can also have an impact on whether or not a plant will be hardy to your location.

Variables considered by the USDA in drawing its plant hardiness zone map include day length, radiation, temperature, frost, heat, rainfall, and ph. Find detailed explanations of these factors and download the USDA plant hardiness zone map at:  hardiness zones USA

If you live outside the US, you may be able to find a zone map for your area at: hardiness zones outside the USA

A perennial garden plan may incorporate plants that are hardy one zone away if they are afforded protection during extremes in temperature. Flowering plants that aren’t winter hardy perennials can also be grown outside of their zone if stored over winter in a sufficiently warm place.

yOf course, it’s easier to bring these plants in from out of the cold if they are grown in a container, but many hardy perennials can be lifted and stored in various ways. Examples of such plants are hardy mums, geraniums, and dahlias.

However, many types of hardy perennials need a period of dormancy to thrive, so take care to give your plants the specific type of care they need to survive in the warmer than normal conditions they may find in your storage area.

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As the season grows, you'll find more and more detailed information about perennials sown throughout Gardening Guides. Learn all about bulbs, perennial seeds, and take a trip to a perennial farm. Check out our perennial garden plans and learn about shade-loving perennials.

Learn how to grow some of our favorite perennial flowers:

More about perennials:

Check Plants A to Z for information on how to grow all of your favorite cultivars!