With their colourful flowers, unusual leaves and stunning winter silhouettes, perennials are an asset to your garden in any season. If you make some smart choices, you will have something to feast your eyes on year-round, even in autumn and winter!
Autumn celebration and winter splendour
In spring, it is the flowers of early bloomers in particular that catch our eye, and budding fresh leaves, of course. Next comes the turn of numerous plants that start to flower in summer. If you think there’s nothing to enjoy in your garden once summer is over, think again! If you choose the right plants, your garden can be just as beautiful, even in autumn and winter!
The leaves of certain perennials display beautiful autumn colours, for example, bluestar (Amsonia) and moor grass (Molinia). Besides the summer bloomers that continue to bloom into autumn, you can then enjoy typical autumn bloomers, such as the well-known Michaelmas daisy (Aster) and Japanese anemone (Anemone) or spikes of the lesser-known black cohosh (Cimicifuga/Actaea).
An enchanting winter silhouette
In winter, (semi) evergreen perennials in many shades of green, as well as colours such as purple and grey, look particularly attractive. Examples include candytuft (Iberis), coral bells (Heuchera) and elephant’s ears (Bergenia). Hellebore (Helleborus) and Viola, among others, will bloom in winter. You could also opt for plants that do die off above ground, but leave a strikingly beautiful winter silhouette. They will look particularly enchanting when covered in a layer of frost!
Perfect choices for a beautiful winter silhouette
The perennials listed below will continue to bloom into autumn. What’s more, their autumn and winter silhouette is a feast for the eyes. Plant them higgledy-piggledy for a beautiful weaving effect in the garden with different shapes and colours. In this way, your garden will look attractive year-round.
Some examples of perennial superstars with a beautiful winter silhouette:
- Coneflower (Echinacea and Rudbeckia) – will continue to look decorative with very dark-coloured stems and the seed pods of its daisy-like flowers.
- Verbena (Verbena bonariensis) – its flowers and airy branches die above ground, but remain standing in winter.
- Jerusalem sage (Phlomis) – this cascading flowering plant with yellow or pink flowers is possibly even more beautiful after flowering thanks to its dark-brown seed pods. The large furry leaves at the base of the plant keep their green colour in winter.
- Culver’s root (Veronicastrum) – the dark brown seed heads on its tall and sturdy stems will continue to look attractive all winter long.
- Gravel root (Eupatorium) – this perennial has pretty, darker stems and cream-coloured seed pods.
- Yarrow (Achillea) – striking umbel flowers on which the snow will settle nicely.
- Sea holly (Eryngium) – its wilted flowers will stay beautiful well into winter.
- Ironweed (Vernonia) – with its wilted brown fluffy flowers, this perennial will stay attractive long after flowering.
- Stonecrop (Sedum) – the flower heads will turn from light-green to red, dark-red and eventually brown throughout the year.
- Giant hyssops (Agastache) – after flowering, these flower spikes are easy on the eye all winter long.
- Ornamental grasses – most ornamental grasses stop growing in autumn and retain a beautiful appearance. Colours will vary from straw-yellow to brown. You could consider silvergrass (Miscanthus), reedgrass (Calamagrostis), fountaingrass (Pennisetum) or pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana).
Don’t prune too soon
You can prune perennials back once they start to sprout in spring. Pruning them in spring means birds can enjoy the seeds of these plants all winter long. They adore the seeds!
You can plant perennials in the garden year-round, as long as the temperature is above freezing. Autumn is a very suitable time, as is spring. Low-growing perennials also do particularly well planted in pots. This is a good way to brighten up your patio or balcony in autumn and winter. After their winter dormancy, the plants will come back looking even better and grander with gorgeous flowers!