Rivercities Garden Club

Meeting 9/8/02


Program - Perennials - John Cash

John Cash is the owner of Exotic Plant Farm presented a very comprehensive talk on perennials.

He relates that he had been growing plants since high school.  He has a masters degree in floriculture from Texas A&M.  He is the owner of a 35000 sq feet of greenhouses in Logansport and has been running a retail store in Ketihville for the past four years.  At the Keithville store he is specializing in aquatic plants and has two ponds.  He is also able to construct new ponds.

There are both horticultural and botanical definitions for perennials.  In the botanical definition, perennials will live forever.  However the horticultural definition can be modified in several categories: always, usually, sometimes, rarely.  This deionization depends upon how a specific plant will do at a particular location.   The criteria for a plant to be a perennial is that it comes back year after year.  Here in Shreveport, a plant might be usually perennial whereas in New Orleans it would be always perennial.  The horticultural definition means that the plant might live indefinitely somewhere.  If you buy a perennial, the garden shop should be able to be able to assure the purchaser that the plant will be a perennial HERE.

Perennials need a lot of work.  The garden needs to be mulched, and the plants sometimes need replacing.

A tender perennial is one that remains perennial so long as it doesn't freeze.  These plants generally die in the winter and don't come back.  Some of the large stores label a plant as a perennial but in small letters says to 32 degrees.

A re-seeder is a plant that can be either a perennial or annual but usually comes back in the spring from its' seed.  It rarely comes back from the roots.  John recommends  collecting the dry seed from the plant and scattering that seed the next April.

Perennials can be defined as root hardy.  These require some sort of protection during the winter, but will return the following spring coming back from the roots.

An evergreen perennial is a herbaceous plant, not woody which stays green and lush all year.  They die back or very little in the winter.

When contrasting perennials to annuals, the annual will die at the end of the year no matter what you do, such as wild flowers and pumpkins.  Annuals do have an advantage because at the end of the year, the garden can be completely cleaned out without loosing any plant material.  Also annuals tend to have much brighter flowers with a longer season than do perennials.

As third category, neither perennial nor annual are the biennials.  These grow from seed the first year, die back during the winter then they grow back, flower then reseed themselves.  Examples are fox glove and flowering cabbage.



Golden Dew Drops

Hamelia, Fire bush

Heat tolerant, butterflies

Tecomaria, Cape Honeysuckle

Full sun, likes heat

Persian Shield

Likes shade, relatively dry ground

Butterfly Weed

Butterflies & Humming birds love it.

Other flowering perennials that might be considered are butterfly weed, confederate rose and Persian shield.  Purple fountain grass is rarely hardy here in Shreveport.

Cat's Whiskers

White & purple

Mexican Heather

May be winter hard

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