What is a Perennial?
A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant that lives for more than two years. Some perennials grow for decades!
Just a few from Mary's Heirloom Seeds,
as close to zero-work gardening as you can get," says Eric Toensmeier,
author of Perennial Vegetables. "Our perennial vegetable beds planted 11
years ago still bear food, and all we do is add compost and mulch once a
From The Self Sufficient Homeacre, "Are you interested in
growing your own healthy food, becoming more self reliant, saving
money, and planning for the future? Then you should be interested in
perennial crops. Your initial investment of time and money will reward
you for years to come. Prepare your perennial beds properly, water and
weed your plants, top dress with compost, and you will harvest fresh
food for your table year after year."
artichoke (Cynara scolymus) in full sun and moist, well-drained soil.
Artichokes require ample, consistent moisture for best growth. They
survive drought but don't produce as well in dry conditions.
24-36 inches apart in rows about 36 inches apart. Amend the soil prior
to planting with 2 inches of compost. Fertilize monthly with a
high-nitrogen fertilizer. When growing artichoke as a perennial, amend
the soil around plants each spring with a 1- to 2-inch layer of
plants should produce for about 3 - 5 years. At that time, you should
notice side shoots at the base of the plant. You can lift, divide and
replant the new shoots.
hardy crop lasts for decades in the garden and is one of the first
vegetables that can be harvested in spring. Plant asparagus (Asparagus
officinalis) in full sun and moist, well-drained soil. Mix a
2-inch-thick layer of compost into the planting site. Because asparagus
is long-lived, it's important to adequately prepare the soil before
In the second year after planting,
harvest for only two weeks. By the third year, harvest for the usual
five to eight weeks. Start harvesting when the spears are 1/2 inch in
sharp-flavor vegetable is technically a hardy biennial, meaning it
grows for two years. It is a type of chicory and is related to Belgian
endive. Dark red leaves with white veins form into a tightly clumped
head that resembles cabbage or romaine lettuce. Grow radicchio
(Cichorium intybus) in fertile, well-drained soil in full sun. Sow
seeds in spring or autumn, then harvest the inner heads in late fall
when they are firm and have the deepest color of white and red, leaving
the roots in the ground to produce another crop.
Though many people treat it like a fruit, rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum) is actually a hardy perennial vegetable (because you eat the stems, not the plant's fruits).
rhubarb in full sun and moist, well-drained soil. Locate it where it
won't be disturbed because it will be productive for many years.
Apply a balanced fertilizer in early
spring. After harvest, spread a 2-inch layer of compost around plants.
When the stalks become thin, usually after six to eight years, dig and
divide the plant in spring or fall. Leave first-year plants
unharvested. By the third year, harvest all stalks larger than 1 inch
wide for as long as eight weeks. Use only the stems; the leaves contain
oxalic acid and are poisonous.
eggplants will continue to grow for up to 3 years. This takes propper
care and the right conditions. The greatest bloom is usually observed
in the indeterminate, with fruit and
seed production starting in the year round
and continuing until year round.
Leaves are retained year to year.
The Eggplant has a short life
span relative to most other plant species and a rapid
growth rate. At maturity, the typical
Eggplant will reach up to 4 feet high.
grow sorrel, sow seeds directly in the garden in full sun and average
soil 6-8 inches apart in rows 2 feet apart. Established plants may be
Certain varieties of pepper can grow for several years. Perennial Peppers include:
Scotch Bonnet (special order)
young leaves and stems of this 6-foot-tall perennial are an excellent
substitute for celery in springtime soups. The seeds and roots are also
edible, and the umbel flowers attract beneficial insects. Lovage
thrives in average garden soil, in sun or partial shade.
These are different than herb varieties that self-seed or re-seed such as Basil and Cilantro.
I've seen them grow over 5 feet tall and over 8 years old. Rosemary is an excellent choice for a "plant it once" kinda garden!
Additional Perennial Herbs include:
you are going to have both perennials and annuals in your garden, it's
wise to keep them in separate areas to make planting annuals easier,
as well as cleaning up at the end of the growing season.
warned that some perennials can be so hardy that they are actually
spreading and invasive. Everbearing strawberry plants and blackberry
vines are known to spread and spread. You may want to plant them in
containers to control them.