Less thirsty, more interesting perennials | THE COMPLEAT HOME GARDENER

Some perennials and annual plants will be looking great this week and these are the ones that are drought and heat resistant.

Some perennials and annual plants will be looking great this week and these are the ones that are drought and heat resistant.

Perennials are plants that come back each year without the need for replanting. Perennials do not flower as long as annuals or bedding plants but if you pick from one of the plants below you will find them less thirsty and with more interesting flowers and foliage.

Agastache – Hummingbird Mint

This may be the best perennial you’ve never heard of. Fragrant leaves and brightly colored, tube shaped blooms make this bright bloomer a plant that hummingbirds and butterflies can’t resist.

The slightly hairy leaves mean agastache is both drought and pest resistant and the tidy growth habit makes this summer blooming perennial good for both pots and borders. You will find Agastche in shades of yellow gold, red and pinks. Plant this perennial in well-drained, sandy soil in full sun.

Tip: For containers and smaller gardens choose the Agastache Kudos series as the plants are more compact but still colorful.

Bergenia – Pig squeak

Huge, paddle-shaped leaves make this perennial a go-to plant for adding texture to the rock garden or dry perennial bed. This spring blooming plant thrives on neglect and will even grow in poor or sandy soil. If you live in a mild winter area the foliage will be evergreen and if you like early spring color the wands of bright, pink bloom clusters will delight you.

Bergenia ‘Lunar Glow’ has lime yellow leaves that highlight the bright pink blooms and the dwarf bergenia ‘Dragonfly’ is more compact for tiny spaces.

Tip: In dry shade plant bergenia in front of fall-blooming Japanese anemone and alongside the fine texture of shade plants such as ferns, bleeding hearts and lamiums. Bait for slugs in early spring around this plant.

Campanula – Bell Flower

This cottage garden plant has many different varieties but all have bell shaped blooms in shades of blue, lavender, white or pink. Most of the campanulas are drought resistant especially when grown in the shade garden. There are dwarf rock garden campanulas often used in tiny fairy gardens and the hardy wall campanulas that will reseed and colonize piles of rubble and old rock walls and other spaces where no other plants seem to survive. Some of the easy to grow campanulas can become invasive so this perennial is recommended for areas with dry soil.

Tip: It is best to move, add or transplant campanulas in early spring or in the fall. They need somewhat moist soil to get started but then are more drought resistant once established.

Crocosmia – Montbretia

Grassy, sword-like leaves and brilliant orange blooms on plume-like spikes make this summer flowering bulb a favorite for sunny hillsides or any spot with well-drained soil. If your winter temps stay above zero degrees the small bulbs will come back in larger colonies year after year. If the weather is colder cover the bulbs with a mulch a few inches deep each fall to keep them from freezing.

Tip: If you notice that your crocosmia have fewer blooms after a few years in the garden, then it is time to dig and divide the corms. Do this in the fall once the green leaves start to fade.

Eryngium – Sea Holly

Spiny leaves and spiky blooms make this a dangerous-looking perennial, but the silver color means this plant needs little water once established and the flowers are unique, star-like and vivid purple or electric blue.

Eryngium is a taller perennial that has a long bloom time. The starry flowers hold color from summer to fall as they dry out in the sun. Leave the flower bracts in place all winter and this plant may reseed in all the rocky, sunny parts of your garden.

Tip: Harvest the unusual blooms when they feel dry to the touch and use them in everlasting floral arrangements or wreaths.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@rentonreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.rentonreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Life

Photo by Haley Ausbun
                                During halftime, athletes and coaches have individual meetings, while parents watch a video prepared by Highlands Community Church for whatever biblical principle teams are learning about that week at the Upward sports league.
Sports that help kids grow

Local church league gives to neighborhood

Alyx Chamberlain, Jennifer Keil and Mario Pilapil, courtesy of Rotary Club of Renton.
Teachers of the Month for February

As part of their commitment to education, and to celebrate teachers in… Continue reading

Local scouts greet attendants at the Renton First United Methodist Church on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020. Photo courtesy of Patrick Montemerlo.
Local scouts celebrate big milestones

Scouts in Boy Scouts of America celebrated Scout Sunday, a national opportunity… Continue reading

Luis Hernandez. Courtesy of Renton Schools
He didn’t care much for class until his teacher encouraged his photography

Local Renton student’s photographs featured in exhibit in Spain

Photo by Haley Ausbun. The International Lion Dance & Martial Arts Team performed in honor of Lunar New Year at the event, Jan. 28 at Renton Technical College 2020 Celebrity Chef event. RTC President Kevin McCarthy and Advanced Sommelier Christopher Chan participated in the demonstration, offering heads of lettuce to the lions. The Lion Dance is meant to bring good luck.
A tasty Lunar New Year

Renton Technical College got a tasty start to the new year with… Continue reading

Casey Pearson, Natalie Schlappi and Oliver Taylor are Renton Rotary Club’s January 2020 Teachers of the Month.
Teachers of the Month for January

As part of their commitment to education, and to celebrate teachers in… Continue reading

Photo by Haley Ausbun. On Jan.22 about 60 St. Anthony’s students put together gift bags with school supplies for their sister school in Haiti, with the help of the WE and NFL Huddle for Good initiative. The schools connected after the devastating earthquake in Haiti killed a young missionary connected to the parish in Renton.
Students volunteer for sister school in Haiti

St. Anthony’s Parish works with WE, NFL for students

Photo courtesy of city of Renton. Council President Ruth Pérez speaks at Centro Rendu de San Vicente de Paul for the Reyes Magos event.
Census campaign joins Reyes Magos celebration

Members of Renton’s Hispanic community gathered Jan. 10 at Centro Rendu de… Continue reading

Photos courtesy of Renton School District.
                                Students across the district are hosting events, assemblies, celebrations of the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr. Pictured are Benson Hill Elementary students reenacting lunch counter sit-ins and other Civil Rights actions against segregation. The district stated in a tweet that schools blend these activities into existing work to teach students history; Black scholars in math, science, medicine; segregation; race; and other topics of U.S. social and political climate.
Renton students honor Doctor King

Students across the district are hosting events, assemblies, celebrations of the life… Continue reading

Photo courtesy of Carol Kaelson. Christel Tucker, a Renton resident and flight attendant, stands at the wheel at Wheel of Fortune. Her episode airs Monday, Jan. 20.
Rentonite spins the wheel of her dreams

Local finds herself winning thousands on Wheel of Fortune

Photo courtesy of Patrick Dodd
                                Patrick Dodd and his father, Stan Dodd, at Hannegan Pass, Cooper Lake Trail. After Stan Dodd died in 2019, Patrick decided to dedicate 2020 to hiking and raising money to Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center.
He lost his dad, now he hikes for him

Local man turns to nature, blogging to fund cancer research

Photo by Haley Ausbun. Have you visited the Highlands new brewhouse? The new Bickersons Brewhouse opened on Nov. 9. Two months later, Jan. 9, business leaders and the Renton Chamber of Commerce celebrated its opening with a ribbon cutting, featuring owners Frank Castro and Shaunn Siekawitch. Go bicker with the “Bickersons” at 4710 NE Fourth St., Renton.
Ribbon cut for new Renton brewhouse

Photo by Haley Ausbun. Have you visited the Highlands new brewhouse? The… Continue reading