How to Grow and Use Perennials

A great perennials course for the professional gardener, garden designer, nursery person, propagator.
Opportunities abound! Perennials are versatile, beautiful and important to the landscaping industry as well as the nurseries that grow and supply them. As the climate changes and gardening becomes more difficult then ever before, gardeners are increasing looking for tough reliable plants. Perennials are very popular  with gardeners mainly because in this group of plants you will discover the toughest and yet most beautiful examples of garden plants. There are opportunities in this field for knowledgeable people, with a passion for perennials, to propagate, grow and advise clients on their cultural requirements and how to use them in their gardens or public parks.  

Perennials come in all forms, from herbaceous plants that die down in the winter and re-emerge in spring (year after year), to plants that retain their soft-stemmed leafy growth year round. Although beautiful, many perennials are also tough and very much adapted to a variety of climates - ranging from very dry to wet. Some have colourful foliage as well as beautiful flowers, others add architectural interest - but all add excitement and diversity to the landscape or garden as they burst into flower each year. Discover what perennials are, which perennial plants are most popular today, their cultural requirements (ie. feeding, watering, soil requirements, pruning, pest control), and learn how to use them to create beautiful landscapes. A course equally valuable to landscapers, nurserymen, cut flower growers and garden enthusiasts.

Learn to Grow Perennial Plants

Identify different cultivars, propagate cultivate and use perennials to their best advantage

There are 8 lessons as follows:

  1. Introduction
    • Review of the system of plant identification
    • Physiology
    • Information sources
  2. Culture
    • Planting
    • Staking
    • Mulching
    • Watering
    • Feeding
    • Pruning, etc.
  3. Propagation and Hybridization
  4. Review of Major Types of Perennials
  5. Pests & Disease
  6. Irrigation & Hydroponic Culture Techniques
  7. Landscaping with Perennials
  8. Further Uses

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Career Opportunities with Perennial Plants

Thousands of people around the world have turned their passion for perennial plants into a full or part time job. Some have done this by breeding and selling rights to new varieties, others have established a plant nursery, some have gone into publishing books or magazines; and yet others have set up a garden design or landscaping business that creates gardens which are full of colour and contain a large variety of perennials. Many perennials can also be grown and harvested as cut flowers.

The benefit of a course like this is often that it helps provide you with a balanced perspective on the subject. Many people who come to perennials as an amateur enthusiast, will learn to grow a variety well; but may miss developing certain areas of knowledge (eg. a business sense, an understanding of post harvest treatment, a knowledge of certain problems that occasionally occur). Though they may grow great perennials for an amateur collection; turning a hobby into a career can often be a very different thing. Working systematically through a course and getting some mentoring from a professional horticulturist/tutor can sometimes make the difference between success and failure.

What are Perennials?

Perennials are a diverse group of plants providing the gardener with a wide range of plant material suited to an equally wide range of climate and soil conditions. Whilst trees and shrubs provide the backbone of the garden, perennials, with such diversity of structure, flowers and leaf shapes, fill in the spaces to provide (if chosen carefully) year round colour and interest.

Most perennials are very beautiful but at the same time quite tough – this is a bonus for people living in areas with low rainfall or water restrictions. The diversity of perennials means that you can have a beautiful garden, full of perennial plants, any where in the world. There are perennials suited to a Mediterranean climate, wet climates, dry climates, tropical regions and anywhere in between.

Perennials have played an important part in garden design over the centuries; they have been used in the herbaceous borders of grand European gardens as well as in the humble cottage garden. Today perennials are used in similar (if not so labour intensive) ways.

Perennials can be used as fillers for garden beds (such as rose gardens); to line a driveway; to edge walls and ponds; to tumble down embankments or retaining walls; in rock gardens; gravel gardens, in a herbaceous border; in woodland gardens; as ground cover plants and in wild flower meadows.

They can also be used as accent plants to create impact, diversity and movement in the garden, grasses and grass-like plants are an obvious choice. (Grasses are covered in more detail later this lesson).

Most perennials are tough, easy care plants that apart from initial soil preparation, and regular division, will provide the garden with years of colour and interest.

If you are passionate about learning more; and perhaps working with perennials; this could be a great course for you.