Flowers, Gardening, Plants

What Is A Perennial Plant?

It’s easy to get confused with the scientific language used around flowers and plants, especially when it strays into Latin. Sometimes, it’s all Greek to us, but have no fear! This post will take you through what a perennial plant is and some of the most popular choices for your garden, keeping it packed full of colourful flowers right into the winter. 

Tl;dr: In short, perennial plants live for 2 years or longer, and don’t produce wooden stems.

What is a Perennial Plant? 

A number of Light Blue Delphinium Flower
Delphinium double light blue

The definition around perennial plants is fairly loose, but botanically a perennial plant is one that lives for 2 or more years. It’s common for plants that grow in beds or borders to be referred to as perennials to differentiate them from trees, shrubs or bulbs. Perennial plants can have foliage that dies in the winter, or it can be evergreen.

A close term to differentiate is a herbaceous perennial. Herbaceous perennial’s stems and flowers die in the winter down to their roots, which stay alive until the next year when new top growth sprouts. They don’t produce wood stems either, setting them apart from plants that live for multiple years such as trees. Some examples of herbaceous perennials are delphiniums and rudbeckia goldsturm.

Perennials can add bright vivid colours to your garden, are great at attracting pollinators and are superb plants to make up borders. So, to make it easy choosing which perennial to add to your garden, here are 5 of the most popular perennial plants.

Perennial Geraniums

A Soft Pink Geranium Bush
Geranium Orkney Pink

Always a popular choice, geraniums have a wide range of varieties adding bright colours to any garden. To top it off, geraniums are low maintenance flowers and have long life spans.


A Large Red Sedum Bush
Sedum spurium

Sedums are a fantastic perennial plant, as they flower from spring onwards bringing bright colour to your garden in autumn. They’re also happy in less than suitable growing conditions, such as poor soil, making it easy to grow.



Lavender brings a number of vibrant purple colours to your garden, with the added benefit of being a fragrant addition to your garden too. It’s also a favourite of bees, so you won’t be the only one admiring the colourful greenery of your garden.

If you’d like to learn more about lavender, check out our post on everything you need to know about lavender!



Sage, or Salvia, is a staple of the midsummer to autumn garden. Blooming from summer to autumn with bright coloured spikes of clustered flowers, salvia is a hardy plant making it a good year round addition. Salvia plants are also loved by pollinators, especially butterflies, helping to make your garden feel like a cosy corner of nature.


A Bright Violet Coloured Phlox Plant
Phlox pink, Veronica Ulster Blue Dwarf

Our final perennial is phlox, featuring tightly compacted ‘balls’ of flowers. There are a number of varieties flowering between early spring and mid to late summer. Phlox is a herbaceous perennial, giving it a long life span and its sweet fragrance is a perfect addition to your garden.

Now armed with your new knowledge of perennials, you should be all set to fill your garden with bright colours and sweet fragrances. Autumn is a great time to plant perennials, taking advantage of the softer soil and higher rainfall. For more info on how to maintain your garden, check out our blog here.

We have over 700 award winning varieties of perennial plants perfect for everyone’s garden, check out the range here.