With so much going on with your commercial property, you want a landscape that can thrive without too much input. This is why the best plants for commercial sites provide a high level of functionality and form without requiring too much maintenance. It’s no wonder then that perennials are the number one choice for commercial landscapes.
The hardy, low-maintenance plants not only look good but do well too, with a variety of beneficial properties for your landscape. In addition, with proper planting and maintenance techniques, perennials continue to grow stronger and stronger over time.
In this article, we’ll explore the key properties of perennial plants, and run through the benefits of using them in your commercial landscape.
What is a Perennial?
The defining feature of a perennial is that it returns year after year without needing to be replanted. With proper care, perennial plants will return year after year, often surviving three or more growing seasons. A great deal of their energy goes into forming hardy, strong roots that go dormant during the winter, then return once the temperatures rise again. Due to this, they often do not flower as flamboyantly as annuals. Instead, they produce consistent foliage and short bursts of color. But don’t let this put you off!
One of the best things about perennials is that you can combine different species to prolong the bloom time of your beds. That means that when flowers start to fall from one plant, another is just coming into bloom! This creates a beautiful, ever-changing landscape that’s ideal for commercial sites.
Come Back Year After Year
The number one reason to love perennials on commercial sites is that they return year after year without the need to replant them. Many perennial plants continue to bloom for three or more years, depending on the species and weather conditions, making them a great low-effort investment in your landscape.
Because perennials have a strong root system, they can survive even when their aboveground parts are dormant in winter, and regenerate as soon as temperatures rise. Some even have hardy leaves that remain healthy through winter, offering fantastic year-round greenery for your site.
Many of the perennials we use here in Pennsylvania are native to the state and so are perfectly suited to thrive here. In comparison to cultivated ornamentals, native perennials are more durable and easier to maintain and are more likely to tolerate natural swings in temperature, rainfall, and humidity. Furthermore, native plants have mutually beneficial relationships with pollinators and wildlife, helping to create a landscape that is less maintenance-intensive.
Unlike annuals which need to be dug out and replanted every year, perennials will return season after season with relatively little effort. Once their root system has embedded itself in the soil, most perennials will remain healthy with typically low maintenance, making property owners’ lives easier and leaving more time to focus on other aspects of the landscape.
As a general rule, it is advisable to trim perennials at the end of their flowering season to keep them looking tidy and encourage healthy blooms in the following year. This can also encourage a second bloom in the current year. Depending on the plant, landscapers might postpone trimming until spring to provide more interest to a commercial site through winter.
Benefit the Soil
The root systems of perennial plants aerate the soil naturally, helping to prevent it from becoming too impacted. This, in turn, aids the flow of oxygen and water to other plants in the area, promoting a healthy ecosystem without human intervention.
Furthermore, perennial plants can help to facilitate the filtration of water and nutrients from deep within the soil, giving nearby plants access to otherwise inaccessible resources. Also, since hardy perennials offer year-round ground cover, areas with a good selection of these plants experience better soil moisture levels.
Our Favorite Perennials
Here at emi we like to use a few of our favorite top-performing perennials on our commercial sites. Lilies and Salvia are hardy in Pennsylvania and are salt-tolerant as well for the winter months. Grasses such as feather reed grass, dwarf fountain grass, and little bluestem grass are also very attractive and flow in the wind throughout the year. Our teams regularly plant black-eyed Susans, coneflowers, hostas, dianthus, astilbe, iris, nepeta, sedum, daisies, and coral bells too!
Perennial Maintenance for Commercial Sites
‘Low maintenance’ doesn’t mean ‘no maintenance,’ and it is vital to maintain perennials if you want them to continue producing flowers and foliage year after year. With the right care techniques, perennials can be the foundation of an attractive commercial landscape, and deliver high rewards with little effort.
At emi landscape, we have mastered the art of caring for native perennials. Unlike other maintenance companies, we work with your plants and landscape, rather than against it. Our crews implement expert planting techniques and carefully select combinations that maximize the form and function of your landscape. That means caring for the right plants using the best methods at the appropriate time.