Every year I grow a variety of more than 20 biennials, their contribution to the spring and early summer garden is considerable, and I would not want to do a garden without them. By far the best way to grow them isTogether. There is something very rewarding about growing your own plants, the effects are not immediate but the rewards are immensely satisfying. Biennials not only add color to the spring garden, but late-blooming biennials like Sweet William or Sweet Rucola also fill that difficult gap.chivesand getting up earlyperennial plantsIt's insommerblühendherbaceous plantation.
Biennial Meaning: What is a Biennial?
While annual plants complete their life cycle in a single season, biennial plants require a cool period called vernalization to initiate flowering. On a summer planting, biennials form a basal rosette of leaves, with the plant flowering, releasing seeds, and dying the following year.
How and when to plant biennial plants
When to plant biennials
Planting principles are exactly the same as for annual planting, but aftercare and timing are different. while mostannualsown from January to April, biennials are sown in early summer, planted in nursery rows in late summer before moving into flowering positions in fall. The first planting should be Sweet Williams, followed byfox gloves,literally,wall flowerand finally Pansies (where the range of other biennials falls somewhere in between).
How to plant biennial plants.
Seed size determines planting depth, a good rule of thumb is that planting depth should be approximately equal to the size of the seed itself. Apart from foxgloves and verbena, which need light to germinate, all our two-year-olds are stored in cool pots in the dark, with germination usually taking place within two weeks. When they are big enough, I transplant the seedlings into them.slip pocketsbefore placing them in the biennial bed for the summer; of course you can plant them where you want them to bloom or plant them in a bigger placepotsuntil planting. By the time you're ready to transplant them into their flowering positions, usually late October or early November, most have produced good, strong plants.
The best biennial plants that grow from seed.
This white form of our native Foxglove retains all its elegance and charm, with flowers held on single-sided stems that curve slightly downward at the tips. Plant generously or let them sow freely so they run around the bed, encroaching on more rounded or shallow forms. 1.5m x 50cm. RHS H7, USDA 4a-8b.
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I love wallflowers and have grown a few every year for almost 30 years. This new variety comes fromErysimum cheiriit is not only drought tolerant, but also grows very well in poor soil. As members of the Brassicaceae family, Erysimums are affected by moth, flea, and cabbage white moth infestations, so take preventative measures. 70cm x 50cm.
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a huge eryngium"Silver Ghost"
A short-lived perennial, best grown as a biennial. A member of the Umbelliferae family that thrives in hot, dry places. Its silvery-blue flowers blend beautifully with the acid yellow hues of Euphorbia or grow alongside contrasting soft-textured gray foliage plants like Artemisia and Stachys. 90cm x 60cm. General Assembly. RHS H6, USDA 4a-7b.
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The deep purple flowers of this relatively new Honesty contrast beautifully with the ripe plum color of the leaves, stems, and pods. Try pairing it with tulips in a similar color palette, such asfeuer'Rabé',T. "Ronaldo"T. 'Negrita'. 80 cm x 50 cm.
A biennial herb whose coarse-textured, gray leaves are not fragrant but attractive in winter and spring. But the main event is reserved for June and July, when tall, tough spikes appear, bursting with white flowers and persistent pink bracts. It requires a sunny location, but will also thrive in poor soil. 1.2m x 1m.
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Learn more about bush sage plants in our plant profile on other sage species to grow.
The wild form of cultivated carrot is a late-blooming, biennial plant. It has a relaxed quality, perfect for folding edges to soften plants with a more formal character. A bountiful source of nectar and pollen that attracts bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects, as well as birds that come for the high-energy seeds later in the season. 75cm x 50cm. H6 right.
Discover other nectar-rich plants.
An often overlooked plant, but I love it for its calm nature and ability to grow almost anywhere and establish itself in places with great art. Its five-petaled flowers are white with prominent purple stamens that almost seem to float on wire stems. Fast flowering, sometimes in the first year. 70cm x 30cm. RHS H6, USDA 6a-9b.
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The humble forget-me-not blooms continuously in spring and early summer. It vigorously colonizes beds and edges, adding a nice low-level foam. Happy in sun or shade, but can be susceptible to powdery mildew if conditions are too dry. 45cm x 60cm.
Learn more about how to grow forget-me-nots.
A beautiful wildflower native to Great Britain with slender, fibrous stems bearing widely spaced purple-blue bell-shaped flowers. Sometimes I plant them around the iris trees, which are still blooming. 40cm x 40cm. H5 right.
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An early spring biennial, Honesty blooms in late April or early May, followed by wonderful seed pods in the fall. Spring bulbs grow under the edges of deciduous shrubs. After flowering, most of the stems can be pulled off, but leave a few to develop seed pods. 60cm x 50cm. RHS H6, USDA 5a-9b.
Digitalis purpúrea'Sutton's Apricot'
An old variety that I liked to mass-grow in the rose garden.Sissinghurst. Identical in all respects to the native purple or white foxglove except for color. The pale pink flowers, slightly spotted on the neck, go well with early roses and peonies. 1.2m x 60cm. RHS H7, USDA 4a-8b.
As with other wallflowers, good flowering is achieved by careful transplanting. Choose a frost-free and windless day to fork the plants out of the beds, leaving as many roots as possible. If the soil is dry, water it first to minimize the chance of soil loss and root damage. After digging, place the plants in their permanent location as soon as possible and water them if necessary. 60cm x 40cm.
A tall, hardy biennial that can become a threat if allowed to self-seed. However, a plant of great architectural presence in the garden. Mauve flowers give way to prickly onesseed heads, which persist throughout the winter if you dare to leave them. 1.8m x 70cm. RHS H7, USDA 3a-8b.
the dolphin is resting
A plant I first grew for the purple border in Sissinghurst. Tall spikes rise from a basal rosette of slug-resistant, glossy green leaves. The numerous flowers, which are the color of the chest of a wood pigeon, create an unusual and captivating sight in the border. 2m x 60cm.
From June to August, this tall mullein will brighten the garden with large, white, ruffled flowers with hints of primrose yellow. The leaves are gray and oval, and the stem is stormy white. Blooms best in full sun in well-drained soil. 1.3m x 80cm.
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A matron of HesperGuerra.Albiflora
Sweet arugula grows at the same time as foxglove and can be grown together with good results. Its clusters of delightfully scented white or lilac flowers last for many weeks, even longer in partial shade. The plant must be staked during growth -hazelnut sticksworks well for that, and some early year protection from foliage-eating pigeons. 1.2m x 80cm.
Attractive gray foliage almost unbeatable due to the sticking of its buds in the olfactory league. They look a bit messy and aren't the prettiest, but that's not why you're growing them. Group them in pots and place them near a door to get a little whiff of their scent. 50cm x 50cm.
Erysimum cheiri"Red blood"
I always prefer monochrome, heavily scented varieties like these, along withE. cheiri'king of fire',E. cheiri'Gold Cloth' andE. cheiri"Giant Rose". Most have delicious honey.Fragrance, which is intensified by planting in a sunny location. 40cm x 40cm. USDA 7a-9b.
A statuesque plant, not for the faint of heart. The gray, heavily matted, and fiercely spiny basal leaves are conspicuous in the first year. At the beginning of the second year, a single white stalk with woolly wings rises up and branches halfway into a chandelier of lilac thistle flowers. A plant that I grew with good results.white gardenen Sissinghurst. 2,5m x 1m. H5 derecho.
Large green leaves with plum-colored stems and swollen pods, this biennial plant produces the intricate, cupped, dark brown flowers from summer through fall. looks good withsanguisorbasor how here with whiteI loved him more. Prefers moist soil with plenty of room for legs to grow. 2m x 1.5m. RHS H6, USDA 4a-9b.
Find out about other umbelliferous plants to cultivate.
Another one of my favorites for softening the edges of the forest or naturalizing the edges to create a wild aesthetic. I used it to great effect onnutin Sissinghurst, where acid yellow harmonizes perfectly with whitebells,Trillium chloropetalomiMatteuccia struthiopteris. 60 cm x 40 cm. H5 derecho.
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