- Transplanting Schedule for Perennials in Zone 5
- About USDA Zone 5
- Tips For Fall Planting Perennials In Cold Winter Regions
- Too early to transplant perennials?
- Zone 5 Edible Perennials – Information On Cold Hardy Edible Perennials
- What are Edible Perennials?
- Edible Perennials for Zone 5 Gardens
- Fruit Trees for Zone 5
- Apple Tree
- Pear Tree
- Cherry Tree
- 1. Asparagus
- 2. Horseradish
- 3. Watercress
- 4. Goji Berries
- 5. Gooseberries
- 6. Egyptian Walking Onions
- 7. Wild Leeks (Ramps)
- 8. Raspberries
- 9. Blueberries
- 10. Blackberries
- 11. Strawberries
- 12. Grapes
- 13. Lemons
- 14. Lime
- 15. Figs
- 16. Mulberries
- 17. Peaches
- 18. Nectarines
- 19. Mandarins
- 20. Rhubarb
- 21. Kale
- 22. Globe Artichokes
- 23. Banana
- 24. Currant
- 25. Serviceberries
- 26. Honeyberries
- 27. Plantain
- 28. Radicchio
- 29. Lovage
- 30. Papayas
- 31. Jerusalem Artichokes
- 32. Chinese Artichokes
- 33. Capers
- 34. Chayote
- 35. French Sorrel
- 36. Garlic
- 37. Muscadines
- 38. Apples
- 39. Pears
- 40. Cherries
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- How can we improve it?
- We appreciate your helpul feedback!
- Perennial fruit and vegetables only need to be planted once
- 1. Berries
- 2. Garden Herbs
- 3. Globe Artichokes
- 4. Rhubarb
- 5. Perennial Onions
- 6. Asparagus
- 7. Sunchokes
- 1. Sorrel
- 2. Purslane
- 3. Agretti
- 4. Cardoons
- 5. Miner’s Lettuce
- 6. Egyptian Onions
- 7. Asparagus
- 8. Good King Henry
- 9. Amaranth
- 10. Okra
- 11. Arugula
- 12. Chinese Yams
- 13. Chives
- 14. Gai Lan
- 15. Chicory
- 16. Rhubarb
- 17. Watercress
- 18. Sea Kale
- 19. Ostrich Ferns
- 20. Ramps
- 21. Jerusalem Artichokes
- 22. Horseradish
- 23. Lovage
- 24. Stinging Nettles
- 25. Lamb’s Quarters
- 26. Groundnuts
- 27. Black Salsify (Scorzonera hispanica)
- 28. Alexanders
Transplanting Schedule for Perennials in Zone 5
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Perennials — the lazy gardener’s best friends — grow for at least three years in areas where they are hardy. The day comes, however, when even modest perennials grow too large for their space and beg division — or maybe a division from a neighbor’s plant comes to stay. Success in transplanting any perennial hinges on timing the move to fit the plant’s growth pattern in your U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zone.
About USDA Zone 5
The USDA publishes plant hardiness maps based on data collected by the National Climatic Center. The new map, published in 2012, moved USDA zone 5 approximately half a zone north throughout its swath across the country, starting from southern Maine around the Great Lakes; looping across Iowa and Nebraska; running up the foothills of the Rockies in Colorado, northeast Utah, northern Idaho, and western Montana; and ending along the Washington-Canada border. USDA zone 5 gardeners experience their last killing spring frost from late April through mid-May. The first hard frost of fall occurs during October. Winter’s coldest average temperature may register between -10 and -20 degrees Fahrenheit.
Transplant herbaceous perennial divisions in early spring, including daylilies (Hemerocallis spp.), hardy from USDA zone 3 through 9. Move hosta (Hostas spp.) divisions, also hardy from USDA zone 3 through 9, in June as early as the ground is comfortable to work and before plants leaf out so that the crowns don’t grow unevenly. Plant summer bulbs such as allium (Allium cernuum), hardy from USDA zone 4 through zone 8, after the soil has warmed above 50 F for best results. Plant purchased perennials throughout spring until hot weather sets in anytime from mid-June through July.
Some perennials, notably daylilies, are so hardy that they can be moved throughout the summer in USDA zone 5, when it is relatively mild and humid. Best results follow planting in spring, however, unless spring is when the perennial typically blooms. Summer transplants need extra attention and faithful irrigation, because root growth is slow and summer heat and drought places stress on plants. Tender perennials, woody perennials or perennials that bloom during summer, such as bigleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla “Tokyo Delight”), hardy from USDA zone 5 through zone 9, should never be moved in summer — delay transplanting them until fall.
Transplant at will again after mid-August, when USDA zone 5 temperatures begin to moderate, until mid-October. Always transplant peonies (Paeonia lactiflora), hardy from USDA zone 3 through zone 8) in September so that they have time to establish their roots. Red peony buds often pop up through the snow in USDA zone 5 and may bloom around the end of May. Spring and early summer bulbs such as tulips (Tulipa spp.) and lilies (Lilium spp.), both hardy from USDA zone 3 through 8, receive necessary chilling when planted in the fall at least six weeks before the ground freezes. Plant them by early November in warmer parts of USDA zone 5 and mid-October in northern areas.
Tips For Fall Planting Perennials In Cold Winter Regions
- Roots need unfrozen soil to grow and prosper, so it’s highly advisable to transplant 6 to 8 weeks before the first average date of hard frost. (This data is readily available from local weather websites.)
- For the USDA zone 3 areas of the country, Fall is not the time to plant. It’s best to plant in mid- to late spring as the ground freezes too soon for good root growth before the onset of winter.
- Make a nice wide, deep water holding saucer (well) around the base of new transplants and fill it with a good quality, coarse-textured mulch (not whole leaves or grass clipping which can create a smothering mat of materials that prevent air and water exchange with the soil below).
- Mulch the planting bed around the new transplants as well. Mulching in the fall keeps the soil just a little bit warmer giving all the plants (new and established) extra time for fall root growth.
- Be sure to give fall transplants (as well as established plants in arid climates) a long, deep final watering after the first hard frost (25° F or lower) to thoroughly saturate the soil.
- Leave the plants standing; don’t cut off the frost killed stems and leaves. Instead, let the entire plant remain in place and cut back come mid-spring. This is a proven technique to improve winter cold hardiness by allowing the plant to gradually re-absorb nutrients and minerals from the dying leaves and stems into the crown.
- Avoid transplanting plants that like fast draining soil in low spots that accumulate water from melting snow and early spring rains.
Too early to transplant perennials?
Hi daisygrrl. I transplanted and divided a bunch of things a few days ago. In fact I’m so mean I left Becky Daisies lying in a box for a day in the sun before I got them back in the ground. They perked right back up and look fine. We’ve had night time temps between 29 and 35 for a week. It really hasn’t done a thing. A month ago I transplanted an orange primrose that somehow got under a pale pink hellebore – (very ugly combination) It hasn’t stopped blooming yet so I think if the plants are up its a sign that its ok to work with them. I’ve learned from wintersowing that its actually just fine to water plants in in this weather – they still need the water. A few days ago I moved or divided Shasta Becky, Sedum Autumn Joy, Valerian, Euonymous Kewensis, Lavender Provence, some daffodils, Clustered Bellflower, Aster Honeysong Pink, Pulmonarias, Chrysanthemum Mary Stoker, polyanthus Primroses, perennial poppies, raspberry canes, Teucreum, a salvia. Thats a pretty tough list actually – I would go ahead if your soil is workable.
On the other hand I have just a sprig of a new tricyrtis up out of the soil and I won’t touch that for a few more weeks.
Zone 5 Edible Perennials – Information On Cold Hardy Edible Perennials
Zone 5 is a good place for annuals, but the growing season is a little short. If you’re looking for reliable produce every year, perennials are a good bet, since they’re already established and don’t have to get all of their growing done in one summer. Keep reading to learn more about edible perennials for zone 5.
What are Edible Perennials?
Edible perennials are simply those that require less work, come back in the garden each year and, of course, you can eat. This can include vegetables, herbs, fruits and even flowering plants. By planting perennials that you can eat, you don’t have to replant them each year. Generally, they die back in winter, coming back once again in spring – or even summer, making your gardening endeavors much easier.
Edible Perennials for Zone 5 Gardens
Here is just a sampling of some edible perennials that will grow in zone 5:
Asparagus – It takes about 3 years to get established, but once asparagus is ready, it will produce reliably for decades.
Rhubarb – Rhubarbis extra tough and actually prefers colder climates. As long as you hold off on eating it for the first growing season to allow it to establish, it should come back again and again for years.
Ramps – A cousin of onion, leekand garlic, the ramp is a pungent vegetable that can be grown in zone 5.
Sorrel – One of the first things that’s ready to eat in the spring, sorrel has a biting acidic taste that’s just right when you’re craving something green.
Chives – Another very early herb, chives have a strong, oniony taste that goes well in salads.
Culinary Herbs – A lot of green herbs are usually hardy to zone 5. These include:
Berries – All of these plants are cold hardy edible perennials that are well worth the space in your garden:
Fruit Trees – A lot of fruit trees actually need a certain number of cold days in order to produce fruit. The following fruit trees can all be found in zone 5 hardy varieties:
Nut Trees – Walnutsand chestnutsboth grow well in zone 5.
Vines – Hardy kiwi is long vine that produces little versions of the fruit you find in the store. It comes in some extremely cold hardy varieties. Another extra hardy fruiting vine, grapes can produce for years and years. Different varieties are better for different uses, so know what you’re after (wine, jam, eating) before you buy.
Pansy – pansies, along with their violet cousins, are hardy little flowers that you can eat. Many types come back each year.
Daylilies – commonly planted perennial flowers, daylilies make tasty treats when battered and cooked.
Fruit Trees for Zone 5
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The U.S. Department of Agriculture divided the country into zones. The standard Plant Hardiness Zone map, first published in 1990, bases each zone on the average annual minimum temperatures recorded throughout North America. Zone 5 covers -20 degrees Fahrenheit to -10 degrees Fahrenheit. Cities like Des Moines, Iowa and Columbia Missouri fall into Zone 5. Note that the United States National Arboretum divides Zone 5 into A and B, with A covering -20 to -15 Fahrenheit and B spanning -15 to -10 Fahrenheit.
Apple trees, and most hardy tree types, depend on a certain amount of cold winter weather to end their dormant period and to bud new spring growth when warmer months arrive. Apple varieties like Bethel and Black Oxfords succeed well in -15 degree Fahrenheit weather. In autumn, Bethel trees blossom with crisp, firm, yellow apples. Black Oxfords produce very hard, dark red, round apples great for biting into, cooking and making cider. Because they are hard when picked, some growers suggest keeping them in storage for a few months before using.
Also considered a stone fruit type, plum trees thrive in Zone 5 temperatures. The Stanley, one of the most popular blue plums, produces fruit annually with plums maturing in early September. Other plum varieties that grow in zone 5 are the Superior, the Toka and the Waneta. Plum trees start out small and grow to 10 to 20 feet high bearing pink and purple flowers in Zone 5 in spring.
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Pear trees are surprisingly hardy, or able to withstand cold temperatures, given their soft, sugary fruit. Zone 5 varieties include the Bosc, Chanticleer, Orient and Bartletts. The Bartlett, which grows the most in California, can thrive as well in an Iowa winter as it can in sunny Southern or Central California.
For some fruit trees, the winter months are essential. Consider one of the stone fruits, cherries—along with plums—can lose cold hardiness due to extended midwinter warm periods, like losing their immune system strength. Planting a cherry tree in Zone 5 is safe and will yield delicious red cherries come early autumn. However, sweet cherry trees like Bing, Chinook and Emperor Francis are more sensitive to cold and will not grow in frigid weather. Before picking from a hardy cherry tree, wait until the small dark fruits turn fully red–the sugar content increases the last few days of ripening.
Would you like to plant your fruit and vegetable garden once, and then not have to plant anything in it again for a decade? That is, in fact, achievable, if you only plant perennial vegetables and fruits in your garden.
But first, you need to know which plants are perennials.
Today we’re going to walk you through a variety of fruits and vegetables which are considered perennials. Keep in mind; some perennials may have to be planted as annuals depending on which planting zone you live in.
Here are the perennial fruits and vegetables you should fill your garden with:
When someone tries to create a list of perennial vegetables asparagus always comes first because they’re popular and start with the letter A.
Funny story, when I first began gardening I didn’t realize asparagus was a perennial. I only started growing it when I learned that perennials could save me a great deal of work over the years.
Anyway, if you’re looking for a delicious vegetable which will return year after year, asparagus is the way to go.
Asparagus can be grown as perennials in zones 3-8.
Do you like vegetables that can clear your sinus? If so, horseradish will be right up your alley. Horseradish are commonly used to make a delicious sauce to spice up sandwiches or other meals.
Horseradish also has medicinal properties. It is said to cure urinary tract infections, gout, colic, nerve pain, painful joints, and many other health issues.
Horseradish can be grown as perennials in zones 4-7.
Watercress is another perennial plant which can be used in a variety of ways. Mainly sandwiches and salads.
It also has medicinal properties as well. Watercress may help easing symptoms of the flu and cough if you’re struggling with a cold or other respiratory illness.
Watercress can be grown as perennials in zones 6-9.
4. Goji Berries
Goji berries are native to East Asia but became popular in the west because of its health benefits. They can be used to make wine, dried and eaten as a snack, cooked with, or eaten raw.
Goji berries can be grown as perennials in zones 3-10.
Gooseberries tend to be sour, so they’re best enjoyed cooked down and mixed with sugar. From there, you can make a variety of jams and jellies. You can also make a delicious gooseberry pie with them.
Gooseberries can be grown as perennials in zones 3-8.
6. Egyptian Walking Onions
Story time. In my early gardening days, my husband met a woman through his job who was a seasoned gardener. She sent him home one day with Egyptian walking onions, which I had never heard of.
These onions are perennials. They grow upward until they fall over and plant a new seed next to them. Once you plant one, you’ll end up with a whole bunch of onions which are delicious and interesting to see grow.
Egyptian walking onions can be grown as perennials in zones 3-9.
7. Wild Leeks (Ramps)
Wild leeks which also known as ramps can be foraged or grown in your garden.
If you forage for them, be sure to look in highly wooded areas. They’ll only sprout for approximately a month during the spring. You can pick enough during this time (usually) to enjoy them raw or to pickle them for later use.
Wild leeks can be grown as perennials in zones 3-9.
We have a raspberry patch at our home, and I love it. Raspberries are easy to grow and will return with more vengeance with each passing year.
Fun fact, don’t plant raspberries near black walnut trees. We didn’t know this at first, and wondered why our raspberries suffered. After we cut the tree down, the raspberries thrived. Also, be sure to plant them where they will get plenty of sunlight.
Raspberries can be grown as perennials in zones 6-9.
We also have a blueberry patch at our home. It’s a wonderful addition to our raspberry patch, and they are tasty too.
Blueberries come in around the first of June and finish up early to mid-July. Like the raspberries, every year they come back stronger and stronger, which is a beautiful sight to see.
Blueberries can be grown as perennials in zones 3-7. Some varieties can only grow in zones 4-5.
We also have some blackberries on our properties. They come in a little later than the blueberries.
The best thing about blackberries is that they produce large berries and require very little work. We prune our berry bushes around late winter/early spring, and they produce wonderfully year after year.
Blackberries can be grown as perennials in zones 5-10.
Strawberries are a delicious plant to grow as a perennial around your home. The original plant will birth baby plants which return year after year.
What makes strawberries an excellent addition to a perennial garden is they can be grown whereever they can sprawl out. You can grow them in containers (I’ve grown them in barrels with great success,) or you can grow them in raised beds.
Strawberries can be grown as perennials in zones 5-8.
The vineyard at our home is the best thing about our yard. We produce enough grapes to enjoy raw, can, make jelly from, and juice.
Like other berries, grapes require pruning but are relatively low maintenance. They come back bigger and better with each passing year.
Grapes can be grown as perennials in zones 4-10.
Lemon trees are only perennials in certain locations. If you live in an area where frost and freezing temperatures are common over winter, lemon trees won’t survive.
But you can still have them all year if you plant the tree in a container and willing to move it indoors or to the greenhouse over the winter for protection.
Lemons can be grown as true perennials in zones 9-11.
Like lemons, lime trees are also perennials in certain locations because they don’t stand up well to frost and freezing temperatures.
If you don’t live in a warmer climate, it’s a good idea to plant lime trees in a container to be able to move them to a sunnier location when needed.
Lime can be grown as perennials in zones 8-11.
We have some fig trees on our property in zone 7b, and so far they handle cooler temperatures well within reason, even though the recommended zone starts at 8.
In our planting zone, we have cold temperatures for irregular periods and snow on occasion. Be sure to check your planting zone to know if figs should be treated as a true perennial, an annual, or planted in a container to have growing success in your area.
Fig trees can be grown as perennials in zones 8-10.
Mulberries are awesome. Mulberries have many benefits such as supporting healthy blood sugar levels, supporting your immune system and providing antioxidants. You can eat them raw, dry them, or make a syrup for pancakes or ice cream.
Mulberries can be grown as perennials in zones 5-9.
I adore our peach trees. They produce all the peaches we need for our enjoyment every year. I also have enough to can for later use throughout the year.
If you’re looking for a perennial sweet treat to grow in your yard, peaches could be the way to go.
Peach trees can be grown as perennials in zones 6-8.
Nectarines are similar to peaches. They both grow on trees and produce for many years.
The main difference is in the fruit. Where peaches have fuzzy outer layers, nectarines don’t. They have a smooth skin which is great for eating raw, or you can preserve your harvest for later use.
Nectarines can be grown as perennials in zones 6-8.
Like most citrus, mandarins have a difficult time holding up to frost and freeze. You should plant them in a container if you don’t live in a planting zone where they can overwinter. I’ve personally done this in the past and had decent success with citrus trees.
Mandarin oranges can be grown as perennials in zones 8-11.
Rhubarb is a personal favorite of mine to grow. It takes a few years for it to begin producing, but it comes back larger and larger with each passing year.
Be sure to plant it where it won’t be disturbed over winter. You will have to mulch the rhubarb to protect the roots during the cold, but it’s worth the effort. Rhubarb makes excellent pies.
Rhubarb can be grown as perennials in zones 3-8.
In most planting zones, kale is grown as an annual. You can plant in early spring for your first harvest and plant it again in late summer for your second harvest.
However, if you live in the right planting zone, kale is a biennial or short-lived perennial. Meaning it will come back every other year and need to be replanted after it’s second year of harvest.
Kale can be grown as biennials or short-lived perennials in zones 8-10.
22. Globe Artichokes
Globe artichokes are a pretty perennial that taste delicious. The light green color and the round balls of artichoke make such a nice combination.
Artichokes are an excellent addition to your garden because you can use them in a variety of recipes or pair them with a spinach harvest and make a delicious dip.
Artichokes can be grown as perennials in zones 7-11.
Banana plants must be treated with care when grown in cooler planting zones or they won’t produce or last long.
For that reason, if you live in a colder area, it’s a good idea to place banana plants in a greenhouse to meet their needs and enjoy their fruit for years to come.
Some banana varieties can be grown as perennials in zones 5-10.
If you’re going to grow perennials in your garden, they might as well make the garden look good in the process. Currants are a gorgeous berry that’ll improve the look of your yard.
Currants are for more than looks, they taste delicious and can be used to make an incredible jam.
Currants can be grown as perennials in zones 3-8.
Unlike most berries, serviceberries are produced on a tree. Though, it’s a smaller tree, which means you could treat it as either a dwarf fruit tree or a larger bush.
Just like other berries, serviceberries can also be used in bread, pies, jams, and so much more.
Serviceberries can be grown as perennials in zones 4-9.
If you like honeysuckle, you’ll also love this plant because they are related to the honeysuckle plant. This plant produces berries with a great balance of both sweetness and a little sour. Honeyberries can be used in different desserts, jams, and even bread puddings.
Honeyberries can be grown as perennials in zones 2-9.
They look like a banana, but if you’ve ever eaten one, you know they taste different. But they are still close relatives.
Like bananas, plantains need the right growing environment to be raised as a true perennial. Even if you grow them in a greenhouse, you’ll be glad to have them around as they make a fantastic alternative to potato chips.
Plantains can be grown as perennials in zones 9-11.
Radicchio looks a great deal like red cabbage, but one bite into it and you’ll soon realize that it’s not a red cabbage at all. They belong in the chicory family.
Radicchio can be grown as perennials in zones 6-8.
Lovage is an early producer. Around the time dandelions begin to bloom in your yard, you should be on the lookout for lovage to start sprouting.
It’s loaded with vitamins C and B and can grow in both full sun and shade. Lovage is also versatile as it can be used as a salad green or in cooked dishes in the place of celery.
Lovage can be grown as perennials in zones 4-8.
Papayas are produced on a tree and can be grown as a perennial in certain planting zones. When grown outside of their planting zone, you need to protect them from freezing temperatures during the winter months.
They’re known as a short-lived perennial. Meaning they won’t live as long as other perennials. The average lifespan of papaya trees can be anywhere from two to ten years.
Papaya trees can be grown as perennials in zones 4-9, or 9-11 if grown outdoors.
31. Jerusalem Artichokes
Jerusalem artichokes, also known as sunchokes, are root vegetables with a starchy flavor, similar to a potato.
Jerusalem artichokes must be treated with care in both growing and eating. They can become invasive when growing if not handled correctly. They can also cause severe stomach pains if you eat too many of them.
Jerusalem artichokes can be grown as perennials in zones 3-8.
32. Chinese Artichokes
Chinese artichokes are small, squiggly tubes that can be harvested over the winter. They’re a great choice if you’re looking to improve your garden’s winter productivity.
These artichokes can be used in a variety of ways. One of the most popular ways is to include them in a winter stir-fry.
Chinese Artichokes can be grown as perennials in zones 5-9.
Capers are grown naturally in a Mediterranean climate and can be grown as a perennial in certain planting zones.
It grows in bush form. The capers are picked from the bush and pickled in a salty brine. It’s a distinct flavor, but many people enjoy them.
Capers can be grown as perennials in zones 8-10.
This vegetable is a close relative to the gourd. If you don’t consider gourds to be the most delicious plant on the planet, try chayote. They taste different, and many people love it.
Chayote is crammed full of vitamins such as vitamin B, C, iron, potassium, and many others. They are also low-calorie, flavorful, and a great addition to soups and casseroles.
Chayote can be grown as perennials in zones 8-11.
35. French Sorrel
Sorrel is considered an herb and belongs to the buckwheat family. I’ve personally grown this as a perennial and found it very delicious.
Even though it’s a herb, sorrel doesn’t have to be used as traditional herbs. I preferred to pick it and add it to a mixed green salad. Sorrel adds a nice peppery flavor. Here’s some more ways to use sorrel.
Sorrel can be grown as perennials in zones 5-11.
Most people grow garlic as an annual, we plant it in the fall or early spring and harvest later in the year.
Well, you don’t really have to do this because garlic is actually a perennial. Plant garlic once and harvest only the largest heads each year. The rest will continue to produce more for years to come.
Garlic can be grown reliably as perennials in zones 3-9.
Muscadines are another wonderful perennial you should consider. We have a large area in our garden for muscadines, and we enjoy them year after year.
They’re great for eating raw, preserving, or making wine from. If you enjoy muscadines, consider growing your own.
Muscadines can be grown as perennials in zones 7-10.
Apples are a classic fruit with many different varieties. They grow on a tree and some survive well in various climates.
If you enjoy a sweet fruit to eat raw, something you can bake with, or even a homegrown juicing option, you should grow apples.
Hardy apple varieties can be grown as perennials in zones 3-5, while long-season varieties can be grown as perennials in zones 5-8.
Pears are another perennial fruit which grows on trees. Pear trees are gorgeous when in bloom and they tend to do well in different climates.
If you’d enjoy pears to eat raw or to cook with, add them to your garden. They make a gorgeous and tasty addition.
Pear trees can be grown as perennials in zones 4-8.
Our final perennial fruit is cherries. Cherries are an excellent addition to any garden. The trees smell lovely and are gorgeous when blooming.
But the best part of cherry trees are the cherries. They taste wonderful, can be enjoyed raw, and make delicious desserts.
Cherry trees can be grown as perennials in zones 5-9.
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Perennial fruit and vegetables only need to be planted once
Perennial fruit and vegetables are a staple in every edible garden. They’re low-maintenance crops that only need to be planted once and are often the first crops of the year to produce. Instead of sowing seeds each year, they regrow of their own accord, providing you with the easiest harvest possible. This list includes seven perennials you can get started in your own garden, along with tips on how to grow and care them.
Strawberry plants will produce crops for at least three years
Once established, berry plants and bushes will provide you with fruit every single year. Some of the easiest to grow are strawberries, raspberries, red currants, and gooseberries. This list goes on though and I also grow blueberries and thorn-less blackberries.
Perennial fruit is always a winner in the garden. Though they take up a lot of space, the juicy rewards are worth the investment.
- Soft fruit is planted once and then will crop for at least three years, if not longer
- Strawberry plants need to be replaced after three years since older plants aren’t as productive
- Keep the area around your plants weeded and feed the plants each year with garden compost, composted manure, and other organic feeds
- Some raspberries benefit from being pruned right down to the ground every winter
Many garden herbs are evergreen or grow back every year
2. Garden Herbs
Many garden herbs are not only hardy, but will thrive year after year. When not much is growing in the garden you can still nip out and harvest a sprig of Rosemary, or a handful of Winter Savoury. Many perennial herbs also thrive in poor soils, making them ideal for areas of the garden where other plants won’t grow.
- Perennial herbs include: Rosemary, Thyme, Winter Savoury, Sage, Lovage, Peppermint, Marjoram, and Oregano
- Most prefer free-draining soil
- Many will grow in nutrient-poor soil
- Harvesting will often result in bushier and healthier looking plants
- Perennial herbs can be grown in pots and containers
- In very cold climates, herbs will need protection to survive the winter
3. Globe Artichokes
The hearts of these plump flower buds are a delicacy that you’ll be happy to have in your garden. Once established, an artichoke plant can flourish for years and can easily be re-established from a parent plant. In mild climates they won’t die back at all in the winter and can even produce heads year-round.
- They like fertile and well-drained soil and will benefit from a dressing of compost or manure in the spring
- Often will grow to over five feet in height
- If you don’t pick the buds, they’ll blossom into vibrant purple flowers
- Pick the heads when they’re about the size of a tennis ball
- It’s recommended to divide and replant artichoke plants every few years
In the spring you’ll pay a small fortune for tender, red, spring rhubarb. If you grow it yourself, you’ll have more than you can eat! Rhubarb thrives in neglect and is often found growing at the back of gardens and allotments right across the northern hemisphere. The stems can be pulled and cooked from spring until early summer and once established, they can produce for years (if not decades).
- Rhubarb is mainly grown from ‘Crowns’ — these are pieces of the parent plant that can be replanted to create a new plant
- The stems can be cooked and used in desserts and chutneys
- The leaves are poisonous and should be torn off and tossed on the compost pile
- Rhubarb loves rich soil. Give it a dressing of compost and manure in the spring and you’ll be astonished at how big it will grow
Welsh onions are like giant chives
5. Perennial Onions
The vegetables in this group are somewhere between a herb and a vegetable and include Chives, Welsh Onions, Egyptian Walking Onions, and Garlic Chives. Once you get a patch going, you can count on it to produce oniony greens, and sometimes bulbs, from early spring until autumn.
- Welsh onions are highly recommended and are in the photo below. They’re like giant chives, can be used like spring onions, and grow to 18″ tall.
- Chives can be grown in pots, are are useful when grown near the kitchen.
- Cutting the leaves of these plants encourage new leaves to grow. However, if you remove the bulb, that part of the plant won’t grow back.
- Perennial onions thrive in rich, moist, soil and need dressings of compost and/or manure every year
- Egyptian Walking Onions form clusters of tiny bulbs at the tops of tall stalks. You can eat them, the greens, and the main bulb. Although eating the main bulb means that plant won’t grow back the next year.
Asparagus can grow for decades
Asparagus is a valuable perennial to have in your garden as well — although they are an investment. Grown from ‘Crowns’, asparagus can only be harvested on and after their third year in the ground. The time and effort you put into creating an aspargus bed will be well worth it though!
- Asparagus spears are actually immature ferns. When left to grow, they become delicate and bushy and are used in flower arrangements
- They don’t take kindly to weeds and will drag their feet if they have competition
- Asparagus prefer moist, yet free-draining soil. Mulching with straw or seaweed (pictured below) will keep them productive
Jerusalem Artichokes are also called Sunchokes
Called ‘Jerusalem Artichokes’ in the United Kingdom, Sunchokes are a root vegetable that grow at the base of tall flower stalks. They come in a couple different varieties and have a rich and nutty flavor that goes well in soups or simply roasted on their own.
- Once established, Sunchokes will continue growing and spreading every year.
- Because they can be invasive, it’s best to grow them in large containers or in areas that they can’t spread from
- Dig up the tubers in autumn and replant some of the best in the spring
- It’s said that up to 50% of the population cannot fully digest Sunchokes. This is why they’re also known as Fart-a-chokes!
Although most vegetables are annual, did you know that many wonderful vegetable plants are perennial? Annual plants are those that only grow for one season die when the season is over. Perennial plants are those that will come back at the start of each new season again and again. Here are 28 fabulous perennial vegetables to add to your garden for annual, low-stress harvests.
Photo credit:Wikimedia Commons
Sorrel (Rumex acetosa) is a leafy green vegetable that originates from Europe. This perennial is closely related to dock (Rumex) varieties, and has long, round-edged, light green leaves. They have a lemon-lime, tart flavour that increases in bitterness as it matures. Therefore, they’re used in salads when the leaves are young, then in stews and soups once fully matured.
It’s high in vitamin C, which helps to strengthen your immune system. It must be noted, however, that due to its high oxalic acid levels, sorrel can’t be eaten by everyone. It can be harmful to livestock, and people who suffer from arthritis or kidney issues. When growing sorrel, it prefers full sun, and cold to moderate climates. Sorrel wilts quickly upon harvesting, and thus should be used immediately.
Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) is technically classified as a wild plant rather than a domesticated one. Regardless, it’s edible (and delicious) and can be cultivated easily. It’s a member of the succulent family—which includes aloe vera—and has small, thick, rounded leaves. These leaves grow on a vine that can reach about 10 cm in length.
If left to mature, purslane will grow small yellow flowers as well. It’s one of few perennial vegetables known to prefer poor soil conditions. In fact, you may have seen it growing in urban sidewalk cracks. Purslane is high in omega 3 acids, which can decrease stroke risk.
This Italian herb thrives well in the Mediterranean’s hot, moist conditions. With special care, however, you too can have this beautiful perennial in your garden. Agretti (Salsola soda) is also known as monk’s beard, opposite-leaved Russian thistle, land seaweed, and Barilla plant.
It’s also a member of the succulent family, and has long, dark green, thick blades with equally long, tawny roots. Agretti germinates at an alarming rate, so if you choose to plant it in your garden, make sure you’re ready for a huge harvest!
If you’re up for the challenge, then growing a crop of cardoons is for you. This Mediterranean vegetable is a member of the daisy family, which gives it long, green stems, with deep purple, spiny, thistle-like flowers. In fact, Cynara cardunculus is often referred to as the artichoke thistle, as it’s similar in flavor. Just spinier.
In order to grow cardoons, you’ll need to keep them blanched. This means that they must receive no sunlight at all in order to retain chewability. You can eat the stems after lightly boiling them as is, but the flowers must have all of their ridges removed, and only the hearts can be eaten.
Of course, you can always grow cardoons simply for aesthetic pleasure. Dairy fans can also boil their nectar to produce an enzyme that closely mimics rennet, and works well in cheese production.
5. Miner’s Lettuce
Although it’s sometimes called “winter purslane”, miner’s lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata) has a very sweet taste, unlike true purslane’s tart flavor. Miner’s lettuce is native to California, so it needs full sun, warm weather, and moist soil conditions.
This perennial leafy green has long stems with one large, circular, green leaf that curls on the edges and folds itself around the stem. You can harvest each stem about 3 times per season. Just make sure you never cut more than 5 cm from the base of the leaf. Another note is that you should always pick miner’s lettuce leaves in their immature stage—before they sprout flowers.
6. Egyptian Onions
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
This perennial onion can survive temperatures as low as -29 degrees Fahrenheit. For this reason, the Egyptian onion (Allium proliferum) can also be known as the “winter onion”. This vegetable has its edible parts on top of a long, slender, dark green reed instead of in the ground like other onion varieties.
The Egyptian onion can create anywhere from 2 to 50 onion bulbs per harvest. They grow on parallel sides of the reed, but can only be harvested once a year. This perennial vegetable must be planted in at least 2 inches of soil, and spaced 2 feet apart from other plants.
If you have an urge to put on some romantic music and eat this vegetable at a fancy candlelight dinner, nobody will blame you. The ancient Romans believed that asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) was an aphrodisiac that could inspire love and passion.
Asparagus is usually one of the first vegetable crops to be harvested in early spring. It’s one of the perennial vegetables that’s a bit tricky to grow, but well worth the effort. Plant your trenches 6-8 inches deep (deeper in sandy soil), and about 12 inches wide. Mix in aged compost before planting anything.
Don’t try to grow this from seeds. Instead, soak 1-year-old asparagus crowns in compost tea for 15-20 minutes before you plant them. Make sure they’re at least 2 feet apart, then cover with 3 inches of soil. Since asparagus plants are monoecious, they’re either male or female. Male plants are more productive (since they don’t have to make seeds), so they’re better for high yields.
8. Good King Henry
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
Although it’s called Good King Henry, Blitum bonus-henricus can be quite difficult to grow. This perennial plant can be slow to germinate, and is picky about where it grows. It prefers partial shade, warm temperatures, and moist soil through constant watering.
Good King Henry has a thin, green stem, with many large, triangular, green leaves. Its flavor has been compared to spinach, and was popular throughout the Medieval and Tudor eras. If you’re patient, it’s well worth the effort!
Amaranth (Amaranthus spp.) has been getting a lot of attention recently. People who suffer from celiac disease and gluten sensitivity can eat this pseudo-grain in lieu of wheat or rice. Like quinoa, it can be used as a grain substitute in puffed cereal, rice, flour and more.
Its leaves are also edible as young shoots and can be added to salads, while mature leaves can be cooked. They’re popular in the Caribbean, where a dish made of cooked leaves is known as callaloo. Depending on the variety, high temperatures may deconstruct the amaranth’s leaf structure, rendering the leaf inedible.
Amaranth requires well-drained soil so it can mature into long, green stalks with dark purple, elongated flowers.
If you’ve ever travelled down through the southern USA, you likely saw okra’s pepper-shaped pods in markets or prepared dishes. Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) isn’t the most popular vegetable, as it’s pretty much inedible when raw. It has an abundance of sap (making it really slimy), and is very firm in texture.
These pods have a flavorful kick, making them ideal in Cajun and Creole dishes like jambalaya and gumbo. They need hot climates to germinate, or you can sow them indoors before transplanting the seedlings outside in late summer. Be careful, however, as some okra varieties are only annual—not perennial.
In my opinion, arugula (Eruca vesicaria ssp. sativa) tops the list of under-appreciated leafy greens. Like kale and Swiss chard, its tender little green give a huge power boost to your salad. They’re spicy and delicious, and great wilted on pizza or bruschetta.
This perennial plant helps to oxygenate your muscles, which lowers blood pressure and improves athletic ability. Arugula is also high in vitamin K, which reduces the risk of cancer and osteoporosis. This leafy green edible white flowers, and prefers moist, well-drained soil and full sun.
12. Chinese Yams
This perennial climbing vegetable originates from China. Chinese yams (Dioscorea polystachya or Dioscorea batatas) are also known as Shen Yao. They’re long tubers, up to 1 meter in length, with cream-colored flesh covered by a thin brown skin. They’re commonly used in Chinese baking, with a sweet flavor that’s delicious in cakes and dumplings.
They also have medicinal properties, such as detoxifying the liver, spleen and kidneys. In terms of spiritual properties , they’re said to balance the Yi, or soul. These yams can also be dried and ground into a powder to add to smoothies and soups.
Otherwise known as the sprinkles on top of your baked potato cupcake with sour cream icing. Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) are perennial vegetables (or herbs) that look like green shoots the size of wild grass. Their flavor isn’t particularly distinctive, basically tastes like a young green onion shoot.
If left to over mature, chives will develop small purple flowers. They’re alliums, which makes them cousins to onions, shallots, and leeks. In medieval Europe, they were believed to ward off evil spirits, heal sore throats, and decrease sunburn pain.
14. Gai Lan
Photo credit © : Specialty Produce
Gai Lan, also known as “Chinese broccoli”, is a member of the Brassica family. This perennial leafy green has a thick, white stalk that separates into smaller branches halfway up the shoot. It also has upside down, teardrop-shaped, glossy, dark green leaves.
As it matures, Gai Lan (Brassica oleracea var. alboglabra) becomes slightly bitter. Use young leaves in stir-fries, and save larger leaves for soups. Other names for this popular Chinese cuisine staple include “flowering broccoli” and “Chinese lettuce”. It’s high in vitamin C and iron, making it an excellent natural remedy for common colds.
Every year since before I can remember, I would celebrate the start of summer by picking a bouquet of wildflowers. If only I knew that these violet, multi-petaled flowers with thick, green stems in my bouquet were so useful! Chicory is high in inulin, which can aid in digestive operations and has been proven to lower high cholesterol.
Due to their weed-like behaviour, chicory can grow in a variety of conditions from hot to cold, damp to dry, and in many types of soil varieties. Dig up the roots in autumn, roast them, and grind them into powder. You now have a coffee substitute that tastes like toasted caramel.
What goes great with sweet strawberries in a crispy pie crust? Rhubarb! This perennial vegetable (Rheum rhabarbarum) consists of a semi-thick stalk that’s deep red at the base and shifts to light green at the top. Basically, the stalks look like reddish-green celery. It also has large, inedible, yellow-green leaves that resemble loose romaine lettuce.
If you decide to grow rhubarb outdoors, you’ll need full sunlight and well-drained soil. Their flavor is quite tart, so some farmers grow their rhubarb in blanched conditions. This allows the plant to develop a mild, sweet taste instead. You should only harvest a few stalks from each bundle at a time, and stop harvesting completely by early July. Then cover the plantwith a thick layer of moist compost to ensure its perennial ability.
Watercress (Nasturtium officinale) was a huge staple in the ancient Roman world, and is still a popular green today. This small, circular, leafy vegetable is full of calcium (for strengthening bones), manganese (to lessen stomach pains), and phosphorus (to repair damaged body tissues ). It has a spicy flavor, and you can garnish any meal with cress to make it look very fancy. Even sandwiches.
This plant is easy to grow too. Toss seeds 6 inches deep in well-drained, acidic soil, and keep the seeds heavily watered. They require minimum sunlight.
18. Sea Kale
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
Sea kale received its name thanks to the fact that it grows along coastlines across most of Europe. As it’s packed with vitamin C, sailors would stock up on this leafy green before heading out to sea. It, along with citrus fruits, could prevent scurvy on long voyages. This perennial plant’s large, green, leaves are edible, as are its roots.
This plant (Crambe maritima) prefers to grow in cold climates, in rocky or sandy soil. It sprouts very early in the spring, but that only happens about 2 years after its initial planting. It’ll also produce white, broccoli-like flowers if left to fully mature. This isn’t recommended, however, as it can stunt leaf production.
19. Ostrich Ferns
Also known as fiddleheads, ostrich ferns (Matteuccia struthiopteris) create small, light green, tightly packed shoots. These develop in springtime blossom at the ends of long, fronded leaves. They’re often used as decorative plants, since their edible parts are on the leaves’ tips. You can grow this perennial vegetable indoors or outdoors, as they require minimal sunlight.
When planting your first ostrich fern, use shallow soil to improve root growth and watch environmental conditions as dormancy periods are common. With the proper care, these ferns can grow to a height of 6 feet.
Although wild ramps have gained in popularity recently, they aren’t among the perennial vegetables that people normally grow in their gardens. This wild onion (Allium tricoccum) resembles its cultivated sister, the green onion, almost to the tip. it’s just a touch larger and if left to full maturity, will develop purple flower bulbs on top of its hollow, green blades.
Ramps taste like a cross between garlic and onion. They prefer moist, partially nutritious soil, and full to partial sunlight.
21. Jerusalem Artichokes
These beautiful yellow flowers, which resemble their sunflower cousins, have more going for them than just their beauty. Jerusalem artichokes (Helianthus tuberosus), also known as “sunchokes”, have large, delicious, edible roots. They look like creamy white tubers, and can be eaten raw or cooked. This perennial root vegetable prefers neutral soil prepared with a generous layer of compost, and full sun.
Plant each sunchoke about 12 cm deep and harvest early for milder tasting roots. Less is more with this perennial flower as the flowers can reach a height of 3 meters tall and each individual Jerusalem artichoke can produce hundreds of root tubes.
Horseradish’s spicy flavor could leave even the most devoted heat-seeking foodies a little… “hoarse”. This perennial root vegetable is a popular ingredient in both Eastern European and Western Asia cuisines, used in both sauerkraut and wasabi. Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana) has a thick, white root that requires a cold winter dormancy period.
This allows it to develops a chemical called isothiocyanate, which gives it its spicy flavour, and also helps to clear congested sinuses.
This perennial herb is useful from the tip of its leaves to the base of its roots. Lovage (Levisticum officinale) has a mild, celery-like flavor and can be a great substitute if you’re low on that vegetable. They attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies if allowed to flower, and herbivores such as deer avoid it.
Lovage was a popular herb in ancient Greece and Rome, and was brought to England by Roman invaders. It was then brought to America by New England colonists. This plant grows well beside all types of vegetables, as it neither releases nor soaks up too many minerals into the soil around them. Care for it well, with lots of compost and full-to-partial sun exposure, and it can grow several feet tall.
24. Stinging Nettles
Experienced campers are likely all too familiar with stinging nettles (Urtica dioica). These perennial plants have finely prickled leaves, which can cause a rash if touched by bare skin. Therefore, as a safety precaution, you should always wear gloves when handling them. That said, this wild plant has many medicinal properties, such as decreasing prostate pain as well as restoring vitamins and minerals to damaged hair.
Due to their wild nature, stinging nettles grow at a quick pace. Make sure that there’s enough separation between them and other crops that you might have in your garden so you don’t hurt yourself accidentally. If you choose to cultivate these, it’s a good idea to keep them in a fenced area to protect small children and outdoor pets.
25. Lamb’s Quarters
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Also known as “White Goosefoot” and “Fat Hen”, lamb’s quarters have been eaten in Europe and North America for centuries. This perennial vegetable has a long, green stem and green leaves that are silvery white underneath. Considered a weed by many, it’s extremely easy to grow as they can tolerate cool to hot conditions, little, to excessive moisture, as well as poor to rich soil types.
Lamb’s quarters are high in riboflavin (which improves circulation), as well as niacin (which improves stomach functions). Its oxalic acid content can be neutralized by cooking it. Try sautéing or braising the leaves with a bit of garlic, olive oil, and salt.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
Although peanuts are commonly referred to as “groundnuts”, these aren’t the plants we’re talking about here. Nope, in this case we’re referring to Apios americana: the common American Groundnut. Also known as potato beans, it was an important food source for Native Americans and early European settlers for centuries.
When cooked, the tubers taste like a nuttier potato, but with three times the nutritional value of regular potatoes! High in calcium and iron, they also protect against certain types of cancer. This plant takes 2-3 years to offer up a plentiful yield, but be patient. Like all perennials, they need time to establish themselves. They will come back, promise.
27. Black Salsify (Scorzonera hispanica)
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Scorzonera hispanica goes by many names including “serpent’s root”, “viper plant”, and “viper root”, among others. This perennial root vegetable is white in color with a black, thick skin. It apparently tastes similar to oysters—a flavor which will deepen in sweetness after every year.
Black salsify can grow to over 3 feet long! As they’re originally from Spain, these roots must be initially planted in warm weather. Plant each seed 1.5 inch deep in rows that are 30cm apart. Once seedlings emerge, thin them so that each plant has 15 cm of space around them.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
This perennial plant has thin, light green stalks topped by small, sparsely spaced, cream-coloured flowers. It tastes like a cross between celery and parsley, but is much stronger. Alexanders (Smyrnium_olusatrum) were a favorite vegetable in the Medieval era, but have since been ousted by celery. That said, they can still be found in old monastery and gardens, planted by monks a thousand years ago, or more.
The roots are edible and are commonly used for making soup broth, while its black seeds can be a pepper substitute, and the stalks can be eaten like celery. Alexanders produce a sweet-smelling fragrance through its flowers too. They prefer to grow in moist, damp conditions, in sandy soils.
At this point, I would usually ask you, the reader and gardener, if you’re ready to start planting. Considering the topic of this article, however, I think it would be more appropriate to ask if you’re ready to sit back and watch last year’s vegetables regrow. Please remember, though, the saying: “sleep, creep, leap”. This motto applies to perennial vegetables as they tend to follow a pattern of being dormant for their first year, slowly emerging during their second year, and then springing up to meet their third year. Y
our patience will pay off eventually and soon enough you will be able to enjoy your “plant it and let it be” garden!