Perennials that Multiply


Brand new homeowner, therefore brand new perennial planter :-). Im starting some flowers from seed but Ive also seen some ridiculously cheap product to order from mail order places. I know they are tiny babies, but how will I know if it will multiply and fill in an area over time?

Which flowering plants are the best multipliers? Which ones don't? trees I understand lol.


and I LOVE this site. I truly don't get anything done at work because Im reading all these fantastic tips!

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Nice! Glad you joined our community :)

Stoloniferous plants are good spreaders for sure. Also plants that spread by underground rhizomes are also very good spreaders to fill in areas. If you listed what sort of plants you like and what sort of sun exposure they will get we can suggest plants that will spread nicely.

Be careful in getting 'ridiculously cheap' products from mail orders. I lot of the mail orders that send catalogs in the mail sell bare root perennials. I have never had much luck with bare roots. A lot of people will pot them up individually and pamper them from there until they are strong enough where they are able to be planted in the garden. One exception is daylillies; they do really well as bare root. IMO, you are way better off spending more money for the plant that is in a pot than having mixed results from a bare root plant.

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Hi Pammesue, welcome to Dave's Gardening forum, you will love it here and loads of people will give advice, encouragement and you will be surprised at how patient gardeners are, no question is ever too silly, we all had to learn so enjoy.
IF you are new to gardening, PLEASE don't go for any cheep, bare rooted plants, infact, until you have gained a little more knowledge about plant care, where to place them Sun / shade and how to prep the soil before planting, then my many years of experience would advise you to buy your plants from a reputable plant store / nursery where there is always ready available help and advice.
Plants are NOT cheep, even bare rooted plants are a real waste of good cash IF they just die on you a few days after receiving them, heard stories about dead plants arriving and cash returns very few and far between so be warned.
I personally have purchased plants via post BUT, Been well prepared for their arrival, babied them along till they had made some growth and after several died on me, the others were planted at the right time of the season, they took several years to bulk out and that is the difference between bare root plants and pot / container grown plants, you pay extra for the pot / container grown plant as these have been cared for in the growers premises,. watered, fed, potted into larger pots as they grow larger allowing the roots to spread out, when you take them home, assuming it is the gardening season, you can plant them right away or leave them after watering for a few days tto become acclimatised to your OWN environment.
The bare rooted plant for sale have been germinated, usually the next season they are dug up from soil (think hundreds of plants being dug out the soil all the same hour and they need to be wrapped for dispatch, by that time, the plants have gone into shock, no water is given as this adds weight therefore postage will be more, usually the roots are broken and unless you have some plant experience to cre for these stress plants giving total care, good soil either in pot or border, watering every day, you will loose I would suggest about 60 % maybe more IF the weather is not good at delivery time, in pots / containers, you don't have all those problems.
Yes I know the potted plants are more expensive but once you gain more knowledge re caring for plants, you will be able to sew your own seeds and care for the plants from packet right through to flowering, that way it keeps cost down, you will also learn more about the plants you like because you are with them, caring, watering AND worrying about them from seed sewing.
To answer your plant question, MOST plants bulk out, depending on what type of plant, some are faster than others at growing bushier, or making more stems, Carnation's (Pinks) can form a huge bush but is slower growing than say Lavender, again, you need to always READ the planting instruction, like the label gives final height, spread (how wide), when it flowers and sometimes when to prune, but all flowering plants require the faded flower be removed so the plant continues to make new flowers, of ignored, the plant will make seeds at the expense of more flowers.
Go along to your local library or book store and find gardening books for beginners, these give ideas for how to make beds and borders either all flowering or mixed with shrubs to give structure over winter when the flowers have died down for winter rest period and the border it then bare.
Don't spend lots on books, they are not cheep, one plane spoken general gardening for beginners is better than a dozen different books that are way to scientific for most new gardeners or that are full of lovely pictures that are as much use to you as chocolate teapot.

Hope this helps get your head around stage one for your new venture into gardening, have fun, try relax and be prepared for some disappointing results, that's how we all learn.
Aske as many questions as you need answers to and be sure, you will get there in the end.
Best Regards.

Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b)

Hi, welcome.... You don't say if you have any gardening experience. So if this is all new to you I would stick with the easier plants to begin with. There are many annuals that are just a matter of cleaning the area, breaking up the soil and throwing the seed on top of the soil or need to be placed just a bit under the soil. Packets usually say how deep. (ie Zinnas, annual Alyssum, Bachelor Buttons, Sunflowers, Cleome, Nicotiana (which are very Fragrant in the eve. til next morning.), Poppies, Ammi, Sweet Peas, Calendula, Cosmos, Larkspur, Nigella, Nasturium, Rudbeckia (Black Eyed Susans), Morning Glories, Osteospurmums, andTithonia just to name a few. Check out the website for Select Seed to get ideas and see plenty of pix.

Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b)

then there are easy perenns to try also:
Daisy, various heights, multiply quickly, (lots of flowers all season til frost, great as cut flowers too)
Achillea (yarrow) most of the season
Coreopsis, many to choose from but the easiest is probably grandifloras, again lt. spring thru til frost, and they reseed also making a nice patch
Salvias, many to choose from, nemerosas will bloom the whole season
Scabiosa, again the whole season for bloom also reseeding
Geranium (the perennial varieties) Johnson's Blue and Rozanne will bloom the whole season,(Rozanne is more prolithic), and many more to choose from
Veronica, personally I like the spicatas as they are all season bloomers, some are only for a month or so.
Alcea (hollyhock), easy and reseed in the garden
Rudbeckia, many will bloom the whole summer til frost
Iris germanica, only bloom in June-ish but they are sooo easy, just have to plant at the correct depth.

1) Salvia nemerosa (purple), Dianthus g. Cheddar pinks
2) Salvia nemerosa white (also available in pink)
3) clockwise from top: wild sunflowers, Daisy Becky, unopened Catanche, Veronica, Malva
4) Yarrow
5) Rudbeckia

Those are just a few ideas to get you started... Remember you will need to get tools to start a new garden. Shovel, trowel, pruners. hose, spray nozzel....... You know, just some of the basics. So let us know more.......... We're glad to help. Have plants and seed if your interested...., just remember they will need TLC whatever you do, watering, weeding and deadheading (which can include cutting for the vase too), it will keep many in bloom til frost. Good Luck. Kathy

Thumbnail by warriorswisdomkathy Thumbnail by warriorswisdomkathy Thumbnail by warriorswisdomkathy Thumbnail by warriorswisdomkathy Thumbnail by warriorswisdomkathy

I have done some annual planting, but it was at our rental house. I had a large garden growing up, but I didn't actually plant this stuff, just helped with the harvest mostly.

I actually don't even know what direction my house sits and where the sun is lol. I sure do have a lot to learn. I have several bulbs that I got from lowes etc that Im going to plant when the frost is over. Ill have to learn what areas get sun.

Im sure ill be asking yall lots of questions.

Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b)

Start with looking where the sun is in the morning and then checking again in the eve just as the sun is setting. Also realize that it will become higher in the sky as the season move forward. Yes, very important to find out which way your home is situated. What and how much sun you'll have detemines what and where to plant... What's your planting zone 7 or 8? Also look for things that throw shadows (ie trees, fences, and house). Most sun loving plants need 6-8 hrs of sun a day.

What bulbs did you get from Lowes if I may ask? And do you know your average last frost date?

Lol, so now you get to play in the dirt for!!!


Looks like Im in zone 7A. Forgot which ones I got from Lowes, but they are the bulbs in the bag. Ill look at them tonight and tell you.

I have always been told that for around here to never plant anything until the first weekend in May to be safe. Although that could have been March. Ill have to do some more research on that as it might dip below freezing this week.

Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b)

Also remember if planting bulbs you can fudge the date since they will be just has to be thawed enough to do the I would guess since your in z 7 your last frost would be soon, mine is May 10 in z6a. Only 2 more months..... Ya, ONLY!!! Lol....

COTTONTOWN, TN is what I got for planting.

blue wish

calico jack

commander in chief

festiva maxima
sarah bernhardt
Margaret Truman

Tennessee ostrich fern

pink bleeding heart

liatris blazing star

some of the bags have sprouts :-) now to figure out my sun situation!

Contra Costa County, CA(Zone 9b)

This is the best time of the year to figure out the sun.
It is rising almost exactly due East for a week or so in mid March.
It is setting almost exactly due West for a week or so in mid March.
In the middle of the day it is South.

Daliah- sounds like a pretty one!
blue wish
Daylily- durable and forgiving plants.
calico jack
Lily- Do some research to make sure to plant it correctly.
commander in chief
Peonies- You should have good results, but not always the first year. They are long lived, and keep getting better.
festiva maxima
sarah bernhardt
Margaret Truman
Tennessee ostrich fern- I think these get big.
Pink bleeding heart- a bit more delicate than some, but really interesting flowers.
Liatris blazing star- A really interesting flower spike.

These should do well for you!

Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b)

Lily Commander in Chief, that one is a nice multiplier. Within a few years it will make a nice patch. If you've never had lilies before…Deadhead the bud when it is done but allow the foliage to ripen tip fall. If you do cleanup in the fall wit tip the stem turns brown, gently tug and it will break from the mother bulb. When you pull it out from the soil you may find several new babies along the stem, just slip them in the same hole or just slightly to the side and cover with a few inches of dirt. As these bulbs grow and mature they will pull themselves downward to the correct depth… They should begin blooming in a few seasons, first year or two is just strap leaves…..

YUMMMMMMM! Peonies are some of my favorite flowers!!! Just make sure you get them planted at the right depth..too deep no blooms!!! Seriously. The eyes (red or pinkish), should be planted no deeper than 1-2" elow the soil line…. If ya get that correct they can live for more than 100 years…. In Japan they are given as a dowry of marriage…nifty huh?! I'm thinking I've had all 3 before but remember the first 2 as being VERY fragrant. I like how some of the peonies even have fall color, one of these years I should figure out which, most turn yellow and there are some that get a deep red foliage at that time of the season. I picked up some at H.Depot the other day and they had 10 + eyes on them, was soooo happy..

If you can't get to planting right away, try to straighten them up in their bags so the new shoots are growing upward. And be careful when planting as not to break any…especially on the peonies.

Goodluck!!! Kathy

Glen Burnie, MD

Pammesue - I've basically only been really in to gardening for about 10yrs, but I'm still a lazy gardener. I do plant annuals but I really love easy perennials. Coneflowers & gaillardia are my favorites. Gaillardia comes in some really spectacular colors. It's low-growing, very low maintenance, spreads nicely & the butterflies love it. Best in full sun. Mine are in a southside foundation garden & they sometimes have blooms in mid-winter (not in this past brutal one, tho). Coneflowers come in a lot of colors & heights. Very easy. My Shasta Daisies have been carefree also. All 3 of these will bring on the butterflies. Obedient Plant is also a perennial & a spreader. Two older varieties can be aggressive but I've read there's a newer one that's more "obedient". Good luck, & welcome to the joy (& occasional frustration) of gardening!

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