3 Mistakes to avoid when planning your perennia...


DIY and how-to

Creating a perennial garden is an exciting project. Imagine a riot of colours, textures and scents that come back year after year, bringing joy and beauty to your outdoor space. 

However, like any gardening project, there are common pitfalls that can derail your plans. Let’s explore three mistakes to avoid when planning your perennial garden, ensuring that it flourishes for years to come.

1. Neglecting to consider sunlight and soil conditions

One of the most crucial factors in perennial gardening success is understanding the specific sunlight and soil needs of your chosen plants. Some perennials thrive in full sun, while others prefer partial shade or even deep shade. Similarly, soil conditions vary widely, with some plants requiring well-drained soil and others preferring moisture-retentive or acidic environments.

Before you start planting, take the time to assess your garden’s sunlight exposure and soil composition. Observe how the sunlight moves across your garden throughout the day, noting areas of shade and direct sunlight. 

It’s also useful to test your soil to determine its pH level and nutrient content. Armed with this information, you can select perennials that are well suited to your garden’s conditions, increasing their chances of thriving, and minimising maintenance requirements.

2. Failing to plan for seasonal changes

While the allure of perennial gardens lies in their ability to return year after year, it’s essential to consider seasonal interest when planning your layout. 

Many perennials have specific bloom times, with some flowering in spring, others in summer, and some even extending into autumn. Without careful planning, you risk having periods of dullness in your garden when few plants are in bloom – not the desired look!

To avoid this mistake, aim to include a diverse selection of perennials that offer interest throughout the growing season. 

Mix early-, mid- and late-blooming varieties to ensure continuous colour and visual appeal from spring to autumn. 

Top tip: consider including flowers and plants with attractive foliage, interesting textures or striking seed heads to add visual interest even when they’re not in bloom. 

By carefully curating your plant selection, you can create a perennial garden that unfolds beautifully throughout the year.

3. Overlooking maintenance needs

It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of designing your perennial garden! But don’t forget to consider the maintenance needs of your chosen plants. 

Some perennials are low-maintenance, requiring little more than occasional watering and deadheading, while others may need regular pruning, dividing or staking to keep them healthy and looking their best. Have a look at our guide to dividing perennials hassle-free.

Before filling your garden beds, take the time to research the maintenance requirements of each plant on your list. 

Consider factors such as:

  • Water needs 
  • Pruning frequency 
  • Susceptibility to pests and diseases 

Be realistic about the amount of time and effort you’re willing to invest in garden upkeep, and choose plants that align with your maintenance preferences.

Also, think about how your plant selections will interact with one another in terms of maintenance. A big no-no is overcrowding your garden beds, as this can lead to increased competition for resources and make routine tasks such as weeding and deadheading more challenging. Instead, give your plants ample space to grow and spread, allowing air circulation, and reducing the risk of disease.

Bonus: top tips for perennial planting

Now that you know what not to do, these are our best tips to guarantee success in your perennial garden:

  • Start small, focusing on a section of your garden to gain experience and confidence before ‘branching’ out.
  • Choose indigenous plants; they are well adapted to the climate and soil conditions
  • Include evergreens, to maintain visual appeal year-round
  • Plan for staggered succession planting to ensure continuous blooms throughout the growing season
  • Mulch and water wisely to retain moisture, suppress weeds and regulate soil temperatures

Getting that year-round garden beauty

When it comes to choosing perennial plants for your garden, Stodels Garden Centre is your go-to destination. We’ve got a wide selection of garden plants on offer, along with gardening equipment and expert advice to help you bring your garden vision to life. 

Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, visiting one of our Garden Centres is an excellent way to explore different varieties, learn about their care requirements, and get inspired for your own garden projects. Or if you are in Cape Town, you can even shop online without having to leave the comfort of your couch. 

So roll up your sleeves, grab your gardening gloves, and get ready to create a perennial paradise that will be the envy of your neighbours.

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