Perennials add much colour to South African gardens. They die back, but they won’t die off completely, and they come back better than the year before with a touch of fertiliser just before blooming time. “A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant that lives more than two years.”
There are so many perennial plants to choose from! However, the following 5 perennials are particularly popular – as much for their hardiness, reliability as for their colourful flower displays.
Top perennials that are suitable for gardens in most areas of South Africa
1. Red-hot Poker (Kniphofia sub-species)(above image)
The bright orange-red or yellow-red flowers of the Red Hot Poker erupt in a breathtaking displays for several months each year. There are several sub-species indigenous to South Africa, some flowering in autumn and on through mild winters, others in spring and summer. Most are best grown at pond edges or in marshy areas of the garden.
Agapanthus is very popular as a summer flowering perennial. It has attractive foliage, even before it flowers, but it’s a real showstopper when it does flower! The tall deep purple inflorescences are both striking and long-lasting. As a bonus, agapanthus is indigenous and hardy. In some areas, it will flower all through the year.
3. Blue Marguerites
Ideal for planting between the tall flowering perennials, Blue Marguerites look like bright blue daisies. They flower prolifically, and the deep blue colour is almost iridescent. Blue Marguerites offer a dazzling display. They are also hardy perennials that will thrive almost anywhere in South Africa.
Another ‘daisy’ lookalike, only a bit bigger, with multicoloured flowers. Some varieties also resemble low-growing sunflowers. Gazanias are indigenous to South Africa. They are also exceptionally hardy, drought and wind tolerant. Plant an assortment of them once and leave them to flower year after year in a truly unique riot of colour.
5. Deities (African Iris or ‘Butterfly Iris’)
The delicate flowers of the African Iris are a common site in South African gardens – for good reason. Although the flowers only last a day, this popular perennial flowers prolifically throughout summer and even through autumn in milder climates. Flowers range in colour from deep purple to place lilac. Butterflies love them too!