How To Select Perennial Garden Plants for Your Edible Landscaping

Professional landscapers love perennial garden plants.


Because once established, perennial garden plants (defined as those plants that normally live more than two years) give a consistent look to the landscape year after year, and are generally easy to care for. They will become the foundation of your edible landscape design.

Are you looking for a list of perennials? Click here.

Let's look at some guidelines for landscaping with these beautiful, tasty plants:

  • Choose perennial plants that look good all year round to form the major elements in your design (for example, an edible evergreen like rosemary).
  • Make sure the perennials you choose are well-suited to your area, the part of the yard they are in, and the climate.

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It's tempting to pick something out of a garden center display or a catalog on a whim, but do your research first to make sure this is a plant you can live with.

  • Use taller perennial plants as the centerpiece of circular displays, in between windows, or at the corners of buildings -- but keep large bushes and trees away from foundations, paths, and underground/aboveground lines.

Remember, with most trees and bushes, roots go down and out as far as the branches go up and out!

  • Spreading low perennials are good along stairways, pathways, and as ground cover. Using perennial garden plants this way cuts down on weed issues and gives a soft pleasant look to areas which are often boring.
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Look and Feel

  • When looking at a perennial plant, think about its leaves. Will the leaf colors and patterns fit into your design?
  • Perennials that change color with the seasons are especially nice ... think about your yearly decorations (don't forget the holidays!) and choose plants that flower, bear fruit, have brilliant fall foliage, or bright winter berries at the times you want.
  • Use perennial plants with long blooming seasons (like lavender) to provide a base color over several months, adjusting your palette as needed with annuals.
  • Alternatively, putting perennials together that bloom at different times of the year can provide a carefree, constantly-changing color scheme as the months go by.

Tip: Make plants with especially bright foliage or very large flowers a focal point in your garden.

  • Repeating a plant, a color, or a flower shape can unify the garden. Often designers will limit the number of colors in a garden, or stick to one area of the color wheel, in order to bring the overall picture together.
  • If there is a lovely tree, mountain, or lake over the fence or off in the distance, choose perennial plants to frame and complement the view.

If you like a plant but want a different color, check around! Often there will be a variety that has been bred for the color you want.

Care and Maintenance

  • Give your new perennial garden plants lots of tender loving care when they are first becoming established, over the first six weeks or so. Check on your babies and water them daily until they're sending up new leaves, then at least every few days until you're sure they've adjusted to their new home.
  • Don't crowd perennial plants in more closely than the recommended spacings. Plants need plenty of air circulation around them to prevent diseases. While it will look barren at first, your landscape will fill in over time.
  • If you plant something, and a year or so later, you don't like it, most perennials don't mind being dug up and moved. So don't stress about your choices.

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List of perennials - Perennial garden plans

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