Living in a four season area, it is important that the plants you grow can stand up to all types of seasons.

A perennial plant, or simply perennial, is a plant that lives for more than two years. They grow and bloom in summer and spring, and die back in autumn or winter. Since they are available all year round, they are greatly used for gardening and landscaping. Also classed as woody (trees and shrubs that produce above-ground stems and branches), or herbaceous (plants that produce soft tissues making them die back to ground level at the end of the growing season).

They are being widely known by homeowners and commercial landscapers because of their ability to offer permanence to the landscape. Perennials are unrivaled in providing year round color. Its colors, sizes and time of blooms make it ideal in any landscape.

Many perennials work very well with Georgia weather and most of them can survive winter. So they work perfectly with any landscape, height spread, color, and length of bloom and plant habits are items to consider. It is also important to consider their tolerance to drainage, sun, and shade.

Tolerance to drought is also considered. Most require ample moisture during periods of active growth. Frequent light waterings may not suffice for the moisture they would require because they only wet the upper depths. Normal rainfall may not be adequate, irrigation may be necessary. Mulches help in conserving water, and weed control. They improve the overall appearance of the garden and provides an added degree of protection to winter.

One characteristic of perennials is being heavy at the top. This may cause bending and falling over if exposed to wind and rain. To lend support, simple wire, plastic or bamboo stakes are often used. If done correctly, the plants will grow to cover the stakes so that they won’t affect the plant’s appearance.

To maintain healthy growth, remove mature flowers to avoid seeds from forming. Removing them will often result in the growth of side shoots where additional flowers will form. In the fall, dead foliage and stems are removed.

The hardiness zone identify which plants are best to grow in a specific area as defined by climate conditions. Georgia has four seasons, and its hardiness zone range is 6-9. Here are some perennial plants to consider in your landscape design.

Arkansas Bluestar (Amsonia hubrectii) – Light blue, star-shaped flowers bloom from long stems holding very thin leaves gives this plant an airy look. As fall approaches, the whole plant turns a deep golden color that seems to glow in the autumn sun. Once established, this is a drought-tolerant, deer-resistant, low-maintenance addition to the garden.

Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) – This butterfly magnet reaches 2-4 feet tall, and likes dry, sunny areas. This bright orange blossom is a preferred food source for butterflies. It also provides nectar for hummingbirds.

Perennial Plumbago (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides) – It is 8 – 12 inches tall and will spread to be 1 – 2 feet wide. It can be grown in sun or part shade and looks beautiful groundcover in front of shrubs in a border. Plumbago also spills to the walls and add a blue to your landscape. They begin to flower in in late spring and continues to flower on and off until fall.

Geranium ‘Rozanne’ – This hardy perennial can withstand unrelenting summer heat and 1humidity. ‘Rozanne’ form a round mound of about 10-20 inches tall and wide. Its blossoms in shades of blue with violet and white center work great in the garden as it weaves the colors together. If it becomes lanky, giving it a trim will give you another floral display. In autumn, the flowers will turn burnt red.

Swamp Hibiscus (Hibiscus coccineus) – Flowers as big as your hand in tropical raspberry red color will blossom from late spring until frost. They grow up to 10 feet tall and 3 – 4 feet wide. Hibiscus like rich. Moist soil and is often planted near a water feature like a pond. As an adaptable shrub, it grows in most garden soils as long as it gets adequate moisture. To keep it young and vigorous, cut back the branches in late winter.

Bottlebrush buckeye (Aesculus parviflora) – In June and July, the shrub is covered with long flower stems of individual white blossoms which hold up like candles. Bottlebrush prefers some shade and is often planted under the canopy of pines and other shade trees where the white blossom will stand more. Even though adaptable, it requires slightly acidic soil.

Purple beautyberry (Callicarpa dichotoma) – Slender arching branches are covered with deep lavender berries in September and October. They are planted in full sun or light shade in moist, well-drained soil. They make a nice transition from trees and shrubs to perennials with it’s 3 – 4 feet height and width.

Paperbush (Edgeworthia chrysantha) – This shrub is fragrant and has beautiful blooms in the middle of winter. The chocolate-colored branches are crowned with tight clusters of flowers, while the white blossoms with golden yellow centers hang down like little bells. It prefers filtered shade and moist, well-drained soil and grows 4 – 6 feet in height and width.

‘Alice’ Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Alice’) – ‘Alice’ are larger, ranging from 10-14 inches long. The bloom time is longer too, up to four to six weeks before turning pink and finally fading to tan. It can grow up to 12 feet tall and wide, so give it some room to grow.

Fragrant Tea Olive (Osmanthus fragrans) – Fragrant, tiny white blossoms are often hidden in the foliage. They grow 20 – 30 feet tall, and are great for use in the back of the border or as an evergreen hedge.

American hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana) – Often called musclewood, this tree reaches 30 – 40 feet in height and prefers moist soil and part to full shade. Decorative catkins hang down from the branches in the spring. Dark green foliage turns yellow, orange, and red in the fall.

American yellowwood (Cladrastis kentukea) – White, wisteria like, fragrant flowers hang down on 10- to 14-inch stems that wrap the entire tree when it’s in full bloom. This is a medium-size tree, 30-50 feet tall with a rounded crown. Its roots go quite deep, so it is drought-tolerant once established and will tolerate other plants growing under the canopy.

Lavender Twist redbud (Cercis canadensis ‘Covey’) – This small, slow-growing tree will eventually reach up to 15 feet. Multitudes of pink buds and flowers line the smooth gray branches in early spring. This tree needs full sun to partial shade and moist, well-drained soil.

‘Yoshino’ Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica ‘Yoshino’) – ‘Yoshino’ grows 20 – 30 feet tall, yet only 5 – 6 feet wide. In summer, its color is blue-green, changing to plum-purple in winter. ‘Yoshino’ is also superior in winter hardiness, and grows either in sun or shade.

Athena elm (Ulmus parvifolia ‘Emer I’) – Athena grows 30 – 40 feet tall and eventually up to 50 feet wide. The foliage is shiny dark green (almost black) and provides cool shade to the garden. The bark of this tree provides a great deal of winter interest. It exfoliates to show a tapestry of gray, green, orange, and brown shades.

Magnolia grandiflora ‘Little Gem’ – Growing just 20 feet tall and 10 feet wide, this tree fits into your landscape. Fragrant white cup-shape flowers bloom off and on all season long. Plant in full to part sun in moist, acidic soil.