Perennials are plants whose tops are killed back by frost but whose roots and crowns survive the winter.

Perennials grow and flower for several years. Many perennials live for a very long time with some care, while others return for only a few years. Some perennials re-seed and may move around in your garden.

Because perennials are long lived, you should do a good job of preparing the soil and planting them.

Perennials have a definite season of bloom and period of bloom. Plants bloom in either the spring, summer, or fall. While a few perennials will bloom from spring to fall, most perennials bloom for 2 to 8 weeks. The challenge is to use a varied selection of perennials so that you have color throughout the growing season.

With the exception of a few evergreen perennials, the entire top part of most perennials is killed to the ground in winter. This can leave an empty appearance to the perennial garden in winter. Using evergreen shrubs and small trees with perennials and also using evergreen perennials and ornamental grasses will help you have winter interest in your garden.

Perennials are not maintenance free. While perennials do not require replanting every year, they do require watering, fertilizing, mulching, cutting back, weeding, dividing, and at times, transplanting. For beginners, a good perennial garden develops along with the knowledge of the gardener. Perennials have been collected in many different climates from all over the world. There are thousands of species and cultivars to choose from.

If you are a total beginner, do a little research and then buy a few perennials and plant them. Get to know the plants and how they grow and bloom in your particular area.