Perennial help

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Miss Mary

Perennial help

#1 Postby Miss Mary » Fri Jul 18, 2008 7:16 am

I'm trying to determine what the exact name of a perennial is. I saw this particular one planted in many professional complexes (malls, hospitals, office parks, etc.), this past Spring. The green foliage is round, compact and low to the ground (about 8 inches or so off the ground, in a mound). The flowers are spikey, tall purple flowers (about a foot long). When you see this perennial in bloom, it is a mass of purple, flowers, very full, thick and tall (flower part). Anyway, I went to a local nursery, hoping the clerk would know which one professional growers use in these mass plantings (near entrances to office parks, etc.). She said it started with the word "cat"......I looked at it and it was not at all the perennial I had in mind. And it wasn't cheap - priced at $11 in a 1 gallon tub. I wanted to split it into 3 but of course she said, oh no you can't do that (I'm sure you can, she just wanted to sell $33 worth of merch!).

Now as Summer has peaked, I've noticed 3 types of perennials with the now fading purple flowers.

There's one that is huge - the foliage is about 2 or 3 feet tall and the flowers are 5 to 6 feet tall. So this is not the perennial I'm interested in.

There's another with spikey purple flowers, low to the ground but I think I tried this once and it didn't come back - Salvia (but not the annual one either).

It's the third one I really want to plant, ideally now before winter so in the spring they'll bloom. But I don't want to end up with the first one above I described - I see this purple spikey flowered perennial all over the place too and my gosh, they get enormous.

If anyone knows which one I'm talking about, point me in the right direction. Thanks so much!
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CajunMama
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Re: Perennial help

#2 Postby CajunMama » Fri Jul 18, 2008 9:16 am

Could it possibly be Lily of the Nile (agapanthus)

Image

or Society Garlic

Image

I don't think it's either of these but these might be something you'd like.
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Miss Mary

#3 Postby Miss Mary » Fri Jul 18, 2008 11:03 am

No, not quite. The purple flowers are like spires (that's why they look like the annual Salvia but they're not), tall, thick, dense. I've tried to find them myself. What I should do is take a clipping from one of these perennials but then that's probably frowned upon! I'd take the clipping to the nursery and buy them that way.

But thanks anyway.
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Re: Perennial help

#4 Postby CajunMama » Fri Jul 18, 2008 3:09 pm

mary, we recently pulled out our sago palms that had gotten huge over the last 16 years. I was looking for something that won't be as massive. I went to a local garden center today and got the neatest shrub that i can shape into a small tree. It doesn't grow anymore than 10' tall. It's a pineapple guava, it produces a beautiful flower and from what i understand the fruit is edible.

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#5 Postby Pburgh » Mon Jul 21, 2008 7:59 am

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liatris_spicata
http://www.waltersgardens.com/index.cfm ... ant_id=595

I think this is the one you're looking for. It's a great perennial.
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Miss Mary

#6 Postby Miss Mary » Mon Jul 21, 2008 7:28 pm

Hey, I think you may be right Karan. Thanks.

I'm hoping my local nurseries have them on sale. I'm sure they would still carry perennials.
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Re: Perennial help

#7 Postby Miss Mary » Tue Jun 09, 2009 12:49 pm

Update........I now realize the purple spiked perennial I tried to find last Summer is not catmint. It looks nice but it's certainly not at all what I wanted or envisioned. Funny how things like that happen. I still had the plant label so I took it back to the nursery who sold me the Catmint, but nearby planted in a flower bed for show was the exact perennial I originally wanted a year ago. The clerk told me what I want is actual Purple or Sage Salvia. But, isn't there always a "but".......there are at least 4 or more types of Sage Salvia. Some of the foliage is large, some small.

I am even more confused.

But I did take a chance and bought 4 Salvia's, in quart sized pots. Then 3 cora bells in quart sized pots. I'm going to do a V pattern of these 7 perennials, since I like to plant in odd number groupings.

I did stress to this clerk that I felt tricked last year, that I was told the catmint was exactly what I wanted. The purple flowers this plant produces are soft, they spread out, nothing at all what I wanted!

She did apologize. But I was hoping for a discount....LOL No such luck!
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#8 Postby SaskatchewanScreamer » Tue Jun 09, 2009 1:07 pm

http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/b/Lami ... ultivar/0/
23 or 24 pages of Salvia here......some you'll be able to discount immediately due to colour or lack of picture (those missing a pic are usually rare or not very popular).

I spend too much time 3 days ago looking for one particular Salvia (didn't find it).....they are also a nice plant for positioning in the center of a container.
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#9 Postby Pburgh » Tue Jun 09, 2009 1:25 pm

I love Coral Bells (Heuchera). They come in so many varieties and colors and are so hardy in our area.

Screamer, that's a nice site. Thanks
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Miss Mary

#10 Postby Miss Mary » Tue Jun 09, 2009 3:39 pm

Coral bells....LOL!!! Not a ladies name.....

I think I might have mixed up my coral bells too....sigh. The foliage looked slightly different than the others. Oh well. I hate when that happens. A long time ago, I bought 6 what I thought were red astilbe's. But one was white the other 5 were dark pink, not red. They didn't survive a draught one year........I do miss this perennial. Very pretty.

What I am finding out is this - perennials are hit or miss and you probably need to read the plant stick/tag very carefully!
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#11 Postby Pburgh » Wed Jun 10, 2009 8:06 am

I love astilbe too. They love the shade behind my shed.

Mary, I keep a lot of my tags. My kids have gotten me little copper tags to put in the ground near the plant. They are nice but it kinda looks like some kind of plant conservatory when I use too many of them. LOL

I've always wanted to do an area of all coral bells of different varieties and colors. I think that would be pretty.

Watch out when you buy perennials from Lowes or Home Depot. Some of their plants are marked as perennials and they just AREN'T perennials for our area.
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Re: Perennial help

#12 Postby Abbala » Thu Dec 10, 2009 7:42 am

I love very much....
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