Low-Maintenance Perennials That
Thrive in Middle Tennessee
We love to see homeowners take charge of their landscaping. In many cases, this means planting perennials which need only minimal maintenance each year to thrive. Paired with an artificial lawn, many Franklin and Middle Tennessee homeowners have found their landscaping maintenance cut in half! It’s a practical solution to get beautiful gardens that impress any time of year. Here are our tips to achieve more with your landscaping.
A Few of Our Favorite Perennials
Planting perennials is one of the best ways to cut back on your lawn and garden maintenance routine. These plants grow back every year and many require only small amounts of maintenance to bloom. Here are our recommendations to plant a perennial garden you can be proud of.
Chrysanthemums, or mums, are a classic fall flower. They offer more than just beautiful blooms: they also act as ground cover for areas in your yard that are sparse. The ideal environment for mums would get at least six hours of sun per day. Remember not to overwater these; soggy soil is not the ideal environment for mums and could damage your plants. Water the base of your mums regularly and pinch back any faded blooms to encourage growth of new buds for a longer season.
The botanical name for the daylily, Hemerocallis, means “beauty for a day.” It’s true: daylilies usually open in the morning, only to die by nightfall. But don’t let this scare you: each stem typically yields about a dozen flower buds. Look for reblooming types, which continue to blossom throughout the season (May through September) so you can enjoy more flowers with less maintenance.
Echinacea is a coneflower which can be found throughout middle Tennessee. There are dozens of hybrids out there so you can enjoy a variety of colors, sizes and styles. Echinacea is best planted in full sun, although it can adapt to dry conditions. This makes it a water-efficient choice that can help any homeowner save on lawn and garden care. Remember to dead head your plant for the first couple months of flowering, which encourages repeat blooming. Don’t be afraid to let it grow wild as fall approaches; echinacea seeds are a natural source of food for local birds.
Phlox is a classic choice for southern gardens. Try to plant cuttings or transplants instead of attempting to grow seeds. This can save a lot of time and allows you to enjoy your flowers much sooner. Phlox should be planted in the early spring in a sunny location with moist soil that drains well. Space out your phlox about 18 to 24 inches apart so they have plenty of room to grow. This spacing helps avoid powdery mildew, which is common in this particular plant. Cutting back stems after they flower can also help foster healthy growth.
This is one of our favorites, simply because it is so fragrant! Russian sage is extremely hardy; it thrives in dry soil and only needs occasional watering. This is a full-sun plant that blooms throughout the summer, even when more delicate flowers have withered. Russian sage grows quickly and will need to be pruned often, but provides great texture and cover for a garden that needs some extra variety.
Switchgrass, also known as Panicum, is a great way to add height and dimension to your landscaping plan. There are three main varieties:
- Cloud Nine
Switchgrass is perfect to separate different sections of your garden. Some types, like Cloud Nine, can grow as high as 67 feet in the right conditions! Conversely, you could pot your switchgrass and place it on the patio to keep the size more manageable. Switchgrass is perfect for anyone who loves wildlife because the birds eat its seeds in the fall.
Heuchera grows best in shaded environments and does not require a lot of water to thrive. It comes in a variety of colors like purple, green, brown, amber, red, or any combination of those. This makes it easy to choose a variety that complements your existing landscape.
Heuchera needs to be divided every few years to maintain healthy growth, but it is relatively rabbit- and deer-resistant. This makes it a great substitute for hostas, which deer find to be delicious!
Hydrangeas are a beautiful addition to any garden and come in a variety of colors so you can choose a neutral or more colorful garden. The University of Tennessee offers this free guide for anyone who wants to learn more about growing hydrangeas.
For more information about perennials in Middle Tennessee, we recommend this free guide from The Southeast Exotic Pest Plan Council. This is a great way to learn more about plants that were meant to grow in your region. This not only means that you are contributing to the historical legacy of Franklin, but you are likely to have far less upkeep on your garden, too!
Important Gardening Dates to Remember
February/March: Clean up perennials. Clip back ornamental grass and any other tall perennials in your garden. Clean dead foliage around base of plants to allow room for new growth.
April/May: Divide perennials like heuchera, asters, mums, and salvia. This is a great opportunity to replant or share your bounty with neighbors. If you have roses, this is the time to fertilize them. Keep frost dates in mind. In Nashville, this is typically between May 1st and 10th.
June: This is the time to plant your sun-loving perennials for the first time. Consider some from our list above or visit your local nursery to get inspiration.
July/August: Prune hydrangeas now after they have bloomed. Flower buds on hydrangeas form in late summer/early fall, so pruning them after this time means you may not have flowers to enjoy next year.
September/October: This is the time to plant your shade-loving perennials, like hostas and heuchera, for the first time.
An Important Side Note
Pay attention to the topography of your area. Tennessee’s soil and growing conditions vary greatly depending on the region you are in. For example, the terrain on the Appalachian Trail will be different than terrain closer to the Mississippi state line. Franklin is known for its fertile soil, which makes perennial gardens an easy choice for homeowners.
Franklin is known for its rich history. From our historical districts to festivals, parades and more, everything that happens here is part of a legacy. This is just one of the many reasons we take pride in beautifying our city and enhancing its reputation as a destination for anyone who wants the best the south has to offer.
Don’t wait to claim your place in Franklin’s history. Contact us to learn more about artificial grass landscaping solutions that complement any flower bed!Read More