Easy to Grow Herbaceous Plants – Herbaceous Plant List
Herbaceous Plant List
Where neware being purchased, a choice can be made from the following selected subjects, brief details of cultivation being given in each case. A wider selection can be made from catalogues, but it is always a good plan to take note of any plants that “catch the eye” at shows, or in parks, or especially in friends’ gardens (where it may be possible to obtain a “root” in autumn or winter), and to jot down their names at the time so that they are not forgotten.
– These plants do well in sandy soils and especially hot, dry, soils. They mostly reach 2-1/2 to 3 ft. in height and flower in July and August. A well-known variety is Coronation Gold, which has silvery foliage (always a useful contrast in a border) and yellow flowers. Propagation can be by seed, or by division of mature plants in autumn or spring.
Alstromeria – Often called Peruvian, these are very colourful subjects for summer flowering. There are orange and red varieties, and all grow about 3 ft. high. They are rather slow to establish themselves and prefer a light to medium, well-drained . Plants can be raised from seed, or established crowns can be lifted and the roots planted, preferably in spring. Cover the pieces of root 4 ins. deep in medium-heavy soils, 6 ins. deep on light soils. A popular variety is Dover Orange. Alstromeria are also very popular for cutting purposes, being attractive and long lasting.
Anemone Japonica – These herbaceous plants have an especial value in early autumn, as there is less choice of flowering subjects at this time. They will do quite well in shade and even in cold, exposed, positions. A well-known variety is A. Japonica Alba, which has white flowers and reaches a height of 3 ft. Queen Charlotte is a double pink variety which is 2-1/2 ft. in height. Propagation can be by seed, and also by division which is best done in spring. Once established these plants can be left undisturbed until they become so overcrowded that lifting and division are essential.
Anchusa Italica – This makes a brilliant display in June, the blue flowers being of vivid colouring. A good variety is Morning Glory, which is 4 ft. high. Set several plants in a group, as they are rather spreading in habit. Anchusa has a fleshy root stock, does not divide very readily, but is easily raised from seed. Plants should be replaced every three years for best results. They are useful subjects for filling up a large area to good effect.
Asters (Michaelmas Daisies) – These well-known plants are indispensable for autumn flowering. All are readily propagated by division, which should be done every other year to maintain the quality of the flowers. If the plants stay down longer they deteriorate. Do not grow the taller varieties unless there is ample room for them. There are many different sorts, the following being a selection which can be relied upon: Blue Gem, 4 ft., blue, semi-double flowers, late; Eventide, 3 ft., violet blue, semi double; Prosperity, 4 ft. heather pink, double flowers; Winston Churchill, 2-1/2 ft., claret red, and Tapestry, 2-1/2 ft., pink with double flowers.
There are also many dwarf varieties, all 1ft. high, which are useful for September and October flowering. They include: Blue Bouquet, blue and violet; Lilac Time, lilac-pink; Margaret Rose, pink, double flowered, and Audrey, lavender-blue. These are particularly valuable for the front of a border but, like the taller sorts, are best lifted and divided every second year.
– These plants, which resemble , have finely divided foliage and plumes of flowers which are borne in July. It is possible to raise some varieties from seed but the named varieties are divided. These plants do not do well in poor, dry soils. A good selection of varieties is : Etna, 1-1/2ft, crimson; Red Sentinel, 2-1/2 ft, red, and Salmon Queen, 2-1/2 ft., shell pink. These plants respond very well to a mulch of leaf mould or during the growing season, treatment which should be repeated every year.
Aquilega – Usually known as Columbines, these well-known flowers provide a wealth of colour in May and June.
They are easily raised from seed, and there are now many colourful varieties, the McKana Giant hybrids being especially good. Aquilegas will do quite well in a shaded position and should always be borne in mind for such a site, the choice for such a situation being rather limited.
– These tall subjects are outstanding where there is space for them. They provide many shades of blue for summer flowering. They need rich soil, with an ample supply of compost, and should be planted in autumn, if possible, as they start into growth early in spring. Slugs often attack the foliage, and the crowns can be protected with a layer of ashes in the winter, with this factor in mind. Seed of several good strains is available and will provide suitable plants for herbaceous border planting. Named varieties include Blue Gown, Nell Gwynne, semi-double, mauve, and C. F. Langdon, blue with a black centre. All are tall growing and need support from canes or stakes, to which the shoots should be tied securely, especially in exposed positions.
Doronicum – This is one of the earliest plants to flower, the yellow daisy like blooms being borne in April. The plants are 3 ft. high and the fleshy roots can be divided in autumn. Some varieties can be raised from seed. A good named variety is Harpur Crewe, of which a bold clump can be relied upon to give some welcome colour in spring. It is a plant that responds especially well to a mulch of compost in late winter.
Erigeron – These are easy to grow, summer-flowering plants, which can be readily propagated by division, in autumn, or raised from seed. All are near to 2 ft. in height. Some good named varieties are : Dignity, violet; Unity, pink; Sincerity, mauve-violet, and Wuppertal, pale violet. This latter sort is very free flowering and deserves a place in every border. It is best to lift and divide established plants every second year, otherwise the flowers decrease in size and quality.
Gaillardia Grandiflora – These are brilliant flowers, mostly red, orange and yellow, for July display. Wirral Flame is a particularly bright red variety.
Propagation can be by seed for many varieties, whilst the fleshy roots lend themselves to. Division in October can also be done. Most Gaillardias are about 3ft. high, and do best on the lighter types of soil but, even on heavy clay, will respond to generous compost applications. The flowers are especially colourful and very useful for cutting.
Helenium – These plants do well even in dry poor soils, and the colourful, daisy-like flowers are borne in July and August. Plants should be divided frequently, if possible every year, for best results. Seed of some varieties is available and plants are easily raised by this means. Good named sorts are Moerheim Beauty, 3 ft., with red flowers (a “must” for the herbaceous border), and The Bishop, which is rather later flowering and has yellow blooms with a brown centre.
Hemerocallis – These colourful subjects often called Day Lilies, make a very bright display and have a long flowering season. They are easy of culture and should be included in every new border. Some good varieties are: Amber, 2-1/2ft., pale yellow, June to July; Gold Dust, 2 ft., golden yellow, May to June, and Radiant, 3 ft., orange, June to August. Propagation is by division in October, or seed is available of some varieties. If possible, choose a sunny site for these colourful subjects.
(Bearded) – These subjects have a rather short flowering season but one or two plants should be included in every border. They require a position in full sun and there must be ample lime or old mortar rubble in the soil. Plant so that the upper surface of the rhizome is exposed. The flowering season is June. A good violet variety is Sir Michael, whilst Blue Rhythm and Corrida are colourful blue sorts. Golden Flare is apricot, and Senlac is red and purple. The planting season is March, July or October but, if possible, this should be done after flowering.
Lupins – These colourful and popular plants should be raised afresh from seed each year, or every other year, to keep a continuity of supply. The Russell Lupins are well known, and some named varieties include Canary Bird, yellow; Venus, salmon red and crimson; Fire Glow, orange; Heather Glow, purple, and Charmaine, buff orange. All reach a height of about 3 ft. If you save seed from your own plants, mixed colours will result, i.e. the colours sown will not come true, but satisfactory plants for general purposes can be obtained. Lupins are at their best in June and July and no border is complete without a few plants of these popular subjects.
Paeonies – These, often called the aristocrats of the border, are certainly deserving of this title. The plants take a few years to become really established and can then stay undisturbed for a long period. When planting, make sure that the crowns are not covered more than tins. as a greater depth can cause failure to flower. The double paeonies are not raised from seed but established plants can be divided, the best planting time being September and October. Most varieties are 2-1/2 ft. high and a choice of named sorts can be made from the following, all of which are first class: Sarah Bernhardt, an apple-blossom pink; Karl Rosefield, crimson; Kelways Glorious, white; Laura Derwent, cream; Felix Crousse, crimson; President Wilson, pink, and Mons. Jule Elie, rose pink.
Paeonies benefit considerably from a manure or compost mulch and a generous application should be given each spring, this being spread evenly over the area between the plants. The common red paeony often seen in gardens is P. Officinalis, which flowers in May, rather sooner than the varieties described above. A few paeonies are a “must” for the new border; although the plants may cost a little more than many subjects, the extra expenditure is well worth while.
– These very brightly-coloured subjects are at their best in June, July and August. New plants should be obtained from a good source, to be free of eel worm. Some good varieties are Blue Moon, Dresden China, shell pink; Prunella, rosy violet; Signal, salmon orange, and Rosebella, deep rose. All are about 3 ft. high. Healthy plants can be propagated by division in autumn or spring.
Pyrethrum – This is a particularly attractive subject for June flowering, the red and pink varieties being especially colourful.
Established plants can be lifted and divided after flowering, in July. The “splits” or divisions should be about 2ins. across. Some good varieties are Kelways Glorious, red; E. M. Robinson, pink, and Salmon Beauty. All grow about 3 ft. high, and are a “must” for the herbaceous border. They are also especially good for cutting.
Plants can also be raised from seed, but the colours may be varied; if seed is saved from say a red variety the resulting plants may be different. Nevertheless this method of propagation should be used for building up a stock of plants quickly, at least expense.
Scabious – The best-known variety is Clive Greaves, which gives a pleasing soft lavender blue display from July to October. Spring planting is best for this subject, and an adequate supply of lime in the soil is essential. It is of compact habit, 2-1/2 to 3 ft. tall, and one of the best plants that can be obtained for the herbaceous border. It is also a very popular flower for cutting, lasting well in water, and with a good length of stem.
Tritoma (Kniphofia) – The “Red Hot Pokers” are popular subjects for June to August flowering. Some varieties that should be grown include Red Chief, 4 ft. high, flowering in August, and Royal Standard, also 4 ft. high, which blooms very freely from July to September. Its flower spikes are half orange-red, and half lemon-yellow. Both these plants do well under a wide range of soil conditions. Propagation is by division in autumn or spring, or some varieties can be raised from seed.
Trollius – The “Globe Flowers” as they are often called are useful for giving colour in May, and will do well in damp soil. The most striking varieties are: Etna, which is deep orange, 3 ft. high, and Brilliant, also 3 ft. with a dark orange colouring. Established clumps can be divided in autumn. If plants are being raised from seed, grow the variety Ledebouri, Golden Queen, which is very free-flowering, and easily propagated from seed. These are particularly valuable plants for a heavy soil.
Veronica Teucriain – One of the dwarf varieties, such as Royal Blue, which is 1 ft. high, will do well in the front of the border and give a bold display in June. The gentian blue flowers are strikingly colourful. Propagation is by division in autumn.