Compared to store-bought annuals, perennials are reliable, resilient staples of a water-saving landscape. Perennials live more than one year with some, such as live oaks, living almost 200 years.
Through careful selection and proper care, perennials will keep your garden looking great year round – and for a long time. The key to a perennial’s true resilience and value is its life cycle:
- After germinating, a perennial establishes itself, first through the roots and then the stems and leaves.
- Firmly established in the second year, most perennials will flower and set seed. Others may take a few more years before blooming.
- As winter approaches, a perennial begins to prepare for dormancy. But before the plant completely dies back or drops leaves, it develops buds for next year and stores energy in the roots.
- In the spring when temperatures warm, the plant bursts anew with flowers, leaves and shoots.
Evergreen perennials are slightly different. Rather than going dormant in the winter, they slow down photosynthesis and respiration. They need very little water; most of the time seasonal rainfall is sufficient.
Select and plant your perennials wisely and you’ll be happy with your landscape for many years to come.