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Herbaceous Perennials

Caring For Plants

Herbaceous Perennials

What are Herbaceous Perennials?
Herbaceous Perennials are flowering plants that are frost hardy and come back every year. Many die off during the winter to re-appear in spring. Herbaceous Perennials require very little maintenance.

Caring:
Plant in carefully prepared ground, ideally in spring or autumn. Keep the surrounding area free of weeds, and water young plants regularly until established. Mature perennials require little water except in prolonged dry periods. Tall herbaceous plants may require support and should be staked when young to ensure the stems remain upright. Dead-head old flowers regularly to prolong flowering.


In autumn, cut shoots down by half and remove dead and faded growth and weeds, leaving the border tidy for the winter. Some perennials still look attractive over the winter period – like grasses. Cut these back only when looking untidy or in March when new shoots start to appear. In spring cut out remaining old stems back to where the new growth is starting to show. On poor soils a mulch of organic matter in spring will improve the performance of perennials.

Alpine and Rock Plants

Alpine and Rock Plants

What are Alpine and Rock Plants?
The term rock plant is often used more or less interchangeably with alpine. In fact, true alpines are native to the mountains where they grow in rock crevices. Most alpines are compact in habit, and rarely over 15cm tall. Rock gardens, raised beds and scree beds will all provide suitable growing conditions.

Caring:
In general, alpines and other rock plants prefer an open site in full sun, with moderately fertile soil, with good drainage. Dead head rock plants, where practical, to encourage further flowering and remove withered or damaged growth immediately. Trim plants as required, to maintain their neat, compact form, and where necessary, to restrict their spread.

Ferns

Ferns

What are Ferns?
Ferns are primitive plants that produce evergreen or deciduous leaf-like structures, known as fronds. Ferns are highly valued for the elegant symmetry of their fronds, and the textural contrast of their lush, usually green foliage, varied in some varieties with displays of red, yellow or grey.

Caring:
Once established, ferns usually require little maintenance. The majority prefer conditions ranging from partial shade to deep shade. However some ferns can tolerate full sun. Most varieties will thrive outdoors in well-aerated, humus-rich soil.

Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental Grasses

What are Ornamental Grasses?
Grasses are evergreen or deciduous annuals or perennials belonging to the grass family. Colours include yellow, silvery blue and red as well as shades of green and numerous cultivated grasses have attractive variegated leaves with stripes or bands. They have delicate inflorescences (flowers) in the form of spikes, panicles or racemes. These are usually light and feathery and subtle in colour.

Caring:
Once established, grasses need little maintenance. Most prefer full sun and moist but well draining soil. Hardy grasses can be planted in any season, while more tender varieties are best planted in spring. Cut perennial grasses in spring. During the growing season grasses may be cut back if they do not look tidy.

Bamboos

Bamboos

What are Bamboos?
Bamboos originate from tropical and subtropical regions particularly East Asia. The majority are frost tender and evergreen. Bamboos range in habit from low-growing plants to those with tall, almost tree-like habit. Popularly grown as, specimen plants, for screening and hedging, or as a decorative ground cover.

Caring:
Once established, bamboos require little or no maintenance. Bamboos should be watered freely until established. Vigorous or invasive bamboos should be kept in containers or placed in a barrier in the soil such as thick plastic sheeting. Alternatively, cut back invasive roots with a spade when new growth appears in spring and again in mid or late summer.

Herbs

Herbs

What are Herbs?
Herbs can be categorised into different segments. There are herbs for cooking, herbs with medicinal properties and herbs that are fragrant. Herbs can be perennial, biennial, annual or for indoor growing only (like Aloe). Most herbs are easy to grow and can be planted into a border or in a large container. Some, like mint and comfrey, are invasive and should be planted either separately or in a large container so that they would not smother other plants. Rosemary and Lavender can form attractive hedges that can be used as edging. Some will attract butterflies and bees (Oregano, Lavender and Thyme) and many are scented (Lavender, Thyme, Mint, and Chamomile). Some deter pests, like mint and garlic chives, and can be used alongside other herbs (Companion Plants) to fight off these pests.

Caring:
Most herbs will grow in any reasonable, but not waterlogged soil and benefit from regular pruning during the growing season (May till August). All will grow best in a sunny position but this is not essential. A very easy way to start growing herbs, is by using a window box and placing it near the kitchen. The most popular herbs to plant in it would be Chives, Parsley, Thyme, Mint and Oregano.

Ensure there is a draining hole in the bottom of the window box and place it in a sunny position. Be careful not to let it dry out. Water when the compost is dry. Any potting compost available in your Garden Centre will do the job perfectly.

© Schram Plants 2009 Royal Oak, Moyvalley, Co. Kildare. E: info@schram.ie