has anyone tried 100% perennials?

hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)July 24, 2012

As in, does anyone here not even mess with annuals?

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aachenelf z5 Mpls

Me - sort of.

Unless you count the big leaved plants like colocasia as annuals which I guess they are in my climate, but I keep them through the winter indoors. But no, I don't do any petunias, etc. in my yard.

Oh wait. My one indulgence into the world of annuals would be my Blvd gardens devoted to zinnias. I just love zinnias. But since they aren't on MY property - the Blvd would be City property - I don't do annuals in my yard. I just take care of those plants on the City owned Blvd. Convoluted logic?

Kevin

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 2:00PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

let me put it this way ...

i gave up buying them ...

whatever free seeders are still around.. i enjoy completely ...

ken

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 2:20PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

Annuals go in the window boxes. Aside from that, if somebody gives me something, I'll try to find a home for it.

Vegetables are a different category. But the perennial beds are perennials.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 3:00PM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

No. While the bulk of my gardens is perennials (outside of shrubs/trees, of course), there will always be a place for annuals. Nothing beats them for constant, season-long color.

I grow annuals primarily in pottery in the back but do have some annuals scattered in the beds here and there, and the front of my house is full of bright geraniums - really perk up the front of the house w/o a lot of effort, as one good-sized geranium can have a big impact (read: don't have to fiddle with "bedding" annuals when just one large or two small geraniums will do the job quite nicely).

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 5:44PM
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a2zmom(6a - nj)

I'd say my beds are about 85% perennial, but the beds also contain shrubs, sub-shrubs, grasses, bulbs and annuals.

As well as true annuals, I also grow a lot of tender perennials that won't over winter for me. I can't imagine giving up on tender salvias or Plumbago articulata (which is technically a shrub).

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 6:23PM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

Definitely have annuals! I use them on the patio and front steps in pots, I put impatiens along the edges of my shade beds, put marigolds in my vegetable garden and other places, and in the gardens I have zinnias, rudbeckias, cosmos, sweet peas, celosias, amaranthus, gomphrena, larkspur, nigella, morning glories, (trying very hard to have)bells of ireland, cleome, sunflowers, tithonia, black-eyed-susan vines, snapdragons, chinese asters, bachelor buttons, calendula, statice - oh my, who could do without annuals?

Oh, and dahlias.

Dee

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 7:06PM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

Indeed, who could do without annuals!

A sampling:




    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 7:40PM
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jodikay

Good question, and for me, pots only. never could figure out how to work them into my beds and make it look good. they always looked out of place, and frankly, downright dumb looking.

Jodi

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 8:13PM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

I have a few annuals that self-seed around in my beds every year and I remove only where I don't want them: Johnny jump-ups, Nicotiana, poppies. I have a few biennials that I let seed around also: foxglove, forget-me-nots, rose campion. I also plant pots of half-hardy perennials that I overwinter inside, as well as a very few true annuals in my pots.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 9:00PM
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lisanti07028(z6NJ)

I have a couple biennials, but no annuals. I do have 30 roses which take up a fair amount of time, so I stick to perennials that I don't have to fuss with too much, like hostas and peonies.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 10:48PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

I have annuals in pots only, none in the ground. There is no room for them, my beds are all full.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 10:56PM
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a2zmom(6a - nj)

Jodikay, here's a few examples of how to work annuals into your perennial beds: (if you want to know what the perennials in the pictures are, feel free to ask)

Verbena

Petunias

Snapdragoms

Salvia, Dahlia, Plumbago

Petunia

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 11:11PM
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pam_whitbyon(6 Niagara)

There were two years I didn't buy annuals, both times because life got in the way of May and June planting. I really missed them. I love using a few annual geraniums here and there, and white or magenta impatiens around my japanese painted ferns. And who can do without big clusters of Salvia Victoria weaving in and out of any spaces? I still need annuals but the budget for them doesn't have to be as big as it was when my perennials were new.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 11:20PM
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mistascott(7A VA)

Annuals are great but they break your heart every fall when the frost comes. I always buy a flat of impatiens to give the shade some color. Calladiums look great with hellebores in the shady areas. Torenias and coleus are excellent in the shade, too.

I think annuals, perennials, and shrubs all have their place in the garden. No garden is complete without all of them -- the combinations they make can truly dazzle. But, my perennials (and shrubs) are like my lifelong companions -- there for the long haul, suffering through the winter, and back again in Spring. My annuals are like a summer fling -- don't take them too seriously because they won't be there long. That's a good thing because you can always plant something completely different next year so nothing ever gets repetitive or boring. I used to think annuals were for novice gardeners who just want a quick and easy way to get color -- I still laugh at those who fill their beds with annuals every year because to me that is a waste. However, I have grown to appreciate annuals for what they are and feel they deserve a place in every garden. Some perennials (gaillardia, platycodon, scabiosa) do a decent job mimicking annuals' appeal of long-lasting color, but in the end nothing can do it like an annual.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 11:42PM
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wieslaw59

Never bothered with annuals, but I once bought a biennial Hesperis matronalis and it was a failure. It turned out the breeders managed to breed the fragrance out of it, and all I wanted was the fragrance.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 6:03AM
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marquest(z5 PA)

I am 100% perennials in the gardens. Like Ken I have some volunteer annuals but I do not invest in annuals for the garden. I grow tropicals in pots.

It depends what type of garden style you like. If you like a lot of flowers 100% from May to Winter you may need annuals. I am just as happy with color foliage vs flowers every day for months.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 8:13AM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I seem to grow quite a few perennials as annuals.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 9:17AM
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ninamarie(4Ont.)

No annuals, though I like them. I feel I see them in everyone else's gardens, in parks and at garden centres so much, that I do not need to indulge my own liking. Our beds are perennials, vines and shrubs, trees, and ornamental grasses and in great numbers. We have a lot of gardens.
And there is never a dull moment from the very beginning of spring to the first major snowfall.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 9:50AM
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freki(5a)

My front bed is all perennials, with biennial heartsease allowed to self seed here & there.

Of course, I've been told my parrot tulips are annuals, even though they return every year (/snark)

Back garden, still under construction, will be mostly perennials, too.. not counting veggies.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 9:51AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Besides a few sunflower and Zinnia seeds, all of my plants are perennials even though many aren't hardy and came from the annuals section at the store. If I can't save it, I don't buy it.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 9:53AM
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mytime(3/4 Alaska)

I try to never be without alyssum, Lobularia maritima. Most of the other 'annuals' I use are actually tender perennials. Four other true annuals I always have (and probably couldn't get rid of if I tried!): Papaver somniferum, Papaver rhoeas, Eschscholzia californica, and Linaria maroccana. They're so easy to pull out wherever I don't want them, and no matter what else happens in my life, I can count on seeing color when looking out my window!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 12:54PM
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jodikay

a2zmom, your pictures are wonderful and are making me reconsider my refusal to do annuals. i really like pictures 1 and 3, those are my favorite colors but all the pictures are absolutely stunning.

granted its probably 10yrs ago since i tried them and they always looked sparse, no matter how many plants i bought. maybe i should consider seed in the spring. do you think that would work in my zone? or my worse case, i would weed them out. how does one go about including annuals? a certain number to buy to get the look without looking sparse? planting close together? this is probably why it didn't work for me before - i didn't know what to do!

Jodi

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 1:27PM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

"...I seem to grow quite a few perennials as annuals..."

LOL, Bumblebeez, I hear ya on a few of those!

:)
Dee

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 2:20PM
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a2zmom(6a - nj)

jodikey, I normally buy started plants. I plant them very close together (much closer than the recommended spacing), usually a minimum of three plants.

Quite often I'll stop deadheading in late August or early September to get some seeding for next year.

One thing I like to do is edge one of my beds with annuals. I used petunias, nicotiana, coleus, tender salvia and annual verbena in this manner.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 10:08PM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

I decided long ago that 100% annuals and subtropicals was impractical and sacrificed early season interest, so when I established my adrenal-shaped hot color bed I planted a few shrubs and perennials to complement the short-term population.

Oh wait, you were talking about 100% perennials. The perennial part of the garden is about 100% perennial, but some of those are temperennials (like the Salvia guaranitica that may or may not overwinter).

Some perennial gardeners look down their noses at annuals (noted gardener Fred McGourty had an amusing take on this attitude), but annuals provide color and variety that add a lot. One of the best things about them is you can change and adapt quickly from year to year (the same old perennials can get boring, you don't have the heart to yank them out, and replacements can take years to really get going).

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 11:21AM
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marquest(z5 PA)

Does he know how pretty Heuchera, Ligularia 'Britt Marie Crawford, and so many other beautiful color foliage perennials can look so pretty for such a long time in the garden?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 9:24PM
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Carrie B

My beds are 100% perennial, while my containers are a combination of annuals/perennials/tropicals. I love moving around my containers & re-doing them just about every spring, but love that my beds, I can move/add if I want to, but if I don't, they'll look better and better every year on their own.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 7:59PM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

"Does he know how pretty Heuchera, Ligularia 'Britt Marie Crawford, and so many other beautiful color foliage perennials can look so pretty for such a long time in the garden?"

If you're talking about Fred McGourty, then I suspect the answer is yes, as his primary interest has been perennial gardening (and he's written books on the subject).

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 8:03AM
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