Perennials are plants that come back every year. Be it for flowers or foliage, a perennial is a plant that will keep on giving in your garden year after year, making them an excellent investment in your landscape. All of the listed perennials are hardy in our local zone (zone 7 here on Long Island), and many are hardy to much colder zones as well.
Below are some regularly stocked perennials at Olsen’s Nurseries. Many other, less common varieties and plants are also available. Please call for current availability. All photographs property of Olsen’s Discount Nurseries
Common Names: Ice Plant
Full Sun. Drought Resistant. Deer Resistant.
This succulent type perennial thrives in dry, sandy soil. It’s thick, bead-like foliage forms a well behaved, ground covering mat, up to 10 inches across but only 2-4 inches high. Yellow, pink or purple flowers dot the foliage through hot weather, giving a long summer bloom period. Delosperma will thrive in hot, dry locations with fairly poor soil that other plants tend to struggle in. Do not over water this plant, it is not a plant that will tolerate daily ministrations by a sprinkler system.
Full Sun to Part Shade. Deer and Rabbit Resistant
Dozens of varieties of Delphinium are available on the market today. While traditional Delphiniums will typically grow 3 to 4 feet tall, some of the newer hybrids are as much as 5 feet tall or as little as 6-8 inches tall. Flowering in early to mid summer, Delphiniums offer one of the rarities in the plant kingdom – nearly true blue flowers. Other varieties will flower in white, purple, bluish purples and pinks. When grown in partial shade, Delphinium may require staking. If the tall, central flower stalk is cut down just after flowering, many varieties will offer a second flush of blooms in late summer to early autumn. These stately perennials are perfect for cottage or formal gardens, and will attract both butterflies and hummingbirds to your yard. Delphiniums grow best in rich soil, and are not tolerant of prolonged drought. Heavy feeders, do not forget to fertilize in spring with a balanced, slow release fertilizer for best flowering.
Common Names: Pinks, Pinks-Maiden, Cheddar Pinks
Full Sun to Part Shade. Deer Resistant.
Dianthus are a classic cottage garden flowers. Rarely growing over 18 inches tall, Dianthus offer a mass of colour in late spring and early summer. Single or double flowered, many varieties have a wonderful fragrance, often likened to cloves or sweet carrots. Some varieties will rebloom if deadheaded after flowering. Dianthus comes in shades of red, pink, purple and white. Deep, spikey, evergreen foliage is attractive, even when the plant is not in flower. These perennials do well in containers and rock gardens, as well as more typical cottage and formal plantings, and make a wonderful addition to butterfly gardens. Dianthus prefer slightly alkaline soil, and will benefit from a yearly dose of lime around their base in spring or autumn.
Common Name: Bleeding Hearts
Partial to Full Shade. Deer Resistant.
Who can resist Old Fashioned Bleeding Hearts? One of the oldest perennials in cultivation, Dicentra are a favorite for the spring. Old Fashioned types form large, bushy clumps in the spring. Stems arch over lush foliage, dangling the pink or white heart-shaped flowers at 2 1/2 to 3 feet from the ground. These flowers will last for several weeks or a month, depending on the weather, in late spring. These tall varieties will die back to the ground once they are done flowering, making way for summer shade lovers such as hostas or astilbe. Dwarf varieties are much smaller, some topping out at only 6 inches tall. While their flowers are less conspicuous, they tend to flower for longer periods than their Old Fashioned cousins, and do not die back to the ground until frost. Dicentra like cooler, moist situations and benefit from a good mulching to help protect their roots from dying out. Just be certain to clear the mulch back in spring so they can get an early start!