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Perennial Flowering Plants in Mississippi

Perennials are plants that live for several years and often require two or more years from seed to flower. There is a renewed interest in herbaceous perennials because they need less maintenance, less water, and fewer pesticides than annuals. Many gardeners include flowering bulbs and ornamental grasses in this category. Once prominent in many landscapes, these enduring plants are being rediscovered for their dependable seasonal effects.

Unlike trees and woody shrubs, which are also perennials, herbaceous perennials are those that appear to die down part of the year, only to emerge again the following season from underground roots, stems, bulbs, or rhizomes. The simple term "perennial" is commonly used when referring to herbaceous perennials.

The daylily Suburban Nancy GaylePerennials are easily used as ground covers, mixed with annuals, grown in containers, and used as accents or specimen plants. Many perennials are short bloomers and are best mixed with others that bloom at different times or included with other landscape plants as part of an overall design. Other perennial plants, such as ferns and monkey grass, are more noted for their foliage than their flowers. Inclusion of these plants adds interest and creates seasonal color or texture to the landscape.

Favorite perennials, including many herbs and native wildflowers, have long been shared by gardeners and sold through garden centers and mail-order nurseries. Many are treasured by gardeners as heirloom plants and have proven themselves to be hardy enough to withstand our weather and climate extremes, often with little care. Others are exciting new discoveries or hybrids and may take several years to prove themselves in Mississippi gardens. However, there are a good many perennial plants that simply do not survive for more than a year or two in our warm, humid climate, just as some of our favorites will not survive long in colder areas of the United States.

Most annuals are planted in spring and are killed by frost in the fall. However, some, including pansies, ornamental cabbage, and dill are tolerant of our winters and are best planted in the fall for color throughout the winter. These are usually killed by the heat of early summer.

Some annuals, such as gomphrena, cosmos, and coreopsis reseed themselves, yielding several years of pleasure with minimal care. Annuals come in a variety of colors, heights, and textures, and their uses are almost unlimited. Unbeatable in masses of solid or mixed colors, annuals are also very effective in small groups or used to soften lines and accent borders.

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News

Slender, green seedlings grow in rows under lights in black trays marked by white tags.
Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Vegetable Gardens February 17, 2020

I’ve promoted the 2020 Mississippi Medallion winners Colorblaze coleus, beautyberry and Luscious lantana for the last three weeks. Now, I want to tell you about the fourth and final 2020 selection, Garden Gem tomato.

This will come as a surprise to the Southern Gardening Nation, but I think I’m starting to like eating fresh tomatoes. I’m certainly looking forward to picking fresh Garden Gem tomatoes this summer.

A bumblebee climbs on a single, pink-and-orange cluster of blooms.
Filed Under: Flower Gardens February 10, 2020

One of my favorite easy-care, flowering plants has to be lantana. This low-maintenance plant is highly tolerant of the hot, humid summers in our Mississippi gardens.

It’s no wonder that lantana has been selected as a Mississippi Medallion winner three times.

Small purple berries in clumps line branches with green leaves.
Filed Under: Flower Gardens February 3, 2020

Through February, I’m highlighting plants named 2020 Mississippi Medallion winners. Each of these winners is superbly adapted to our garden and landscape environment.

This week, I want to tell you about American beautyberry, a winner that is a native species found across the Southeast. It is known botanically as Callicarpa americana.

Maroon veins stand out on a sea of chartreuse leaves.
Filed Under: Flower Gardens January 27, 2020

A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of introducing the 2020 Mississippi Medallion Winners at the Gulf States Hort Expo in Mobile, Alabama. This is a special group of selections, as the Mississippi Medallion program is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2020.

The plants selected for 2020 include Colorblaze coleus, beautyberry, Luscious Series lantana and Garden Gem tomato.

A person with yellow gloves on planting a shrub.
Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens, Landscape Management, Vegetable Gardens January 27, 2020

It may be chilly outside, but don’t let that deter you from going outside and working in your garden and landscape. Grab a jacket and your gardening tools, there is plenty to be done during February! 

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Volume 5 Number 3

Mississippi’s Pine Belt Master Gardeners are extending their knowledge across state lines, with prize-winning results.

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Before she became the Hancock County Youth Court judge, Elise Deano was a school teacher. She jokes that she became a lawyer because she taught school, but Deano wants to make sure young people get an opportunity to turn their lives around.

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