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August 24, 2017 12:00 am

Perennials That Benefit Indoors and Out

Saturday, April 15, 2017 @ 6:45 AM

It might be a little early to enjoy perennials blooming outdoors in the flowerbeds but its not too early to enjoy having them bloom in your home.

Over the past few days, we have received a few perennials at the garden centre already in bloom. Bleeding Hearts, and hardy lilies, have arrived in full colour. The nice thing about these is that they can be enjoyed indoors as flowering houseplants and later be planted outdoors to be enjoyed again next year in the outdoor flowerbed, making them an economical option compared to many indoor flowering houseplants that end up in the compost after they have finished blooming.

Bleeding Hearts (Dicentra spectabilis) are a beautiful old time, hardy perennial that are aptly named for their graceful branches that hold red, pink or white heart shaped flowers that dangle off of them. Each heart shaped flower has a small white drop that hangs down from the bottom which is where the name ‘Bleeding Heart’ comes from. The foliage can be yellow or green and be either lobed or fern like. Bleeding Hearts are an early blooming perennial that prefer shade.

Lilies are grown from a bulb. They do best when planted in a well-drained soil. The plant itself likes sun but the bulb prefers cooler temperatures. Planting a low growing perennial or annual near it, or providing extra mulch around the plant will ensure the cooler soil temperatures the bulb prefers. They are an easy to care for perennial that only needs to be dug up, divided, and re-planted every 3-4 years in September.

Division is needed, as the one bulb will eventually produce a number of bulbs that will all bloom after they have reached a large enough size. Lilies are in bloom for a few weeks. Remove the finished flowers before they can set seed. Allow the stems to die back naturally, as this is when they are gathering vital nutrients that returns back to the bulb.

As indoor flowering plants, I would leave the perennials in their original containers. They can be used in a European Container garden where each plant is left in its pot and placed in a large decorative container. They can be mixed in with other indoor flowering houseplants, or tropicals. After they have been arranged in the container, green moss can be placed over the tops of the pots to give the container a decorative, unified look. Added touches such as outdoor branches of pussy willows, silk flowers, ribbons, ceramic birds, etc., can be added to the container to give it a personal touch.

Once the perennials have finished blooming or are ready to go outside, they should be hardened off before they are planted outside. Harden them off by placing them outdoors during the day and bringing them in at night for a few days, so that they become acclimatized to the outdoor temperatures.

If you are looking to add some colour to your Easter weekend, why not add a flowering perennial to your Easter table!

-Jos

Jos Van Hage owns and operates two Art Knapp Home and Garden Centres in Prince George:

  • Highway 16  West at Kimball Road
  • Highway 97  North at Northwood Pulpmill Road

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