Amongst the many perennial varieties in our Altman Plants line, the following are 'perennial favorites'.
Lavenders are a favorite old perennial mainstay. All require full sun and regular to little water once established, and all have a varying degree of that familiar lavender fragrance in the flowers and the leaves. Though all are similar they are equally as different in appearance.
English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is the traditional lavender used for perfumes and sachets. It is one of the smaller types, 1' to 2' tall and wide with distinctive gray / white needle-like leaves. As with all lavenders the dark blue flowers are held proud on spikes above the foliage. French Lavenders, green and gray, (L.dentata, and L. dentata candicans) are slightly larger in size with a definite "toothed" pattern to their leaves. This is also a lavender of choice for perfumes and such.
Spanish Lavender (L. stoechas) is larger still and a much stockier plant with narrow gray / green leaves. Each flower spike is topped with 2-4 petal like purple bracts. Spanish Lavender makes a great border plant.
A monster of the family is the Fern Leaf Lavender (L. multifida) growing to 4' tall and wide with flower spikes up to 2' long. The leaves are gray / green with as the name suggests, fan shaped lacy fern-like construction. This is a great background or foundation plant for the perennial garden. The world of lavenders is constantly changing with the creation of special cultivars and select varieties. Some of these are: 'Otto Quast' (Spanish), 'Goodwin Creek' (French), 'Munstead' and 'Lavender Lady' (English). There are now even newer varieties with red, pink and white flowers!
Delphiniums can be found in a dwarf and a standard size. The dwarf type grows to approximately 15" tall with the variety 'Blue Butterfly' (Delphinium grandiflorum) being a consistent favorite for it's intense blue flowers. Standards up to 2 ½' tall such as 'Magic Fountains' (D. elatum) offer tall, sturdy spikes with deeply colored flowers in lilac pink, sky blue, white, blue with dark center and dark blue with white center. Both dwarf and standard do best in full sun to part shade with regular watering; they also tolerate temperature extremes. These are both excellent in containers as well as the garden and produce incredible, long lasting spikes making them great cut flowers. As a bonus, delphiniums are great hummingbird and butterfly attracters!
Campanula, known as Bellflowers are a great addition to the shadier parts of a perennial garden. The Dalmatian Bellflower (Campanula muralis) and the Serbian Bellflower (C. poscharskyana) are both very similar in habit being creeping, mounding plants between 6" and 8" high. The Dalmatian has 1" long, violet blue bell shaped flowers while the Serbian has 1 ½" wide lilac blue star shaped flowers. Both have pleasing heart shaped leaves, creeping stems, and are not invasive; they are a great foil to begonias, impatiens, and fuchsias. They both make excellent hanging baskets and small area groundcovers. For best performance they should have filtered sun to shade and regular watering.
Lantana, is an irreplaceable face in the western garden as well as other locations. Most of these woody upright or trailing shrubs are hybrids (Lantana camara x). This has created an enormous wealth of color choices and combinations such as the solid, vibrant colors of 'Dallas Red', 'Gold Mound' and 'Radiation', or festive mixed party colors like 'Confetti', 'Irene', and 'Christine'. The most commonly grown non-hybrid Lantana (L. montevidensis) is found as 'Trailing Purple' and 'Trailing White'. All are hardy to around 20° and prefer full sun and regular watering although they require little water once established. They have a multitude of uses: foundation plants, groundcover, hanging baskets, trained as standard patio trees, soil erosion protection on banks, trained on a trellis, espaliered, or kept as a low hedge. They also bring a flood of birds and butterflies to the area.
Salvias are some of the most reliable of the perennial garden backbone plants. All do best with full sun and regular watering, but require little water once established. The Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii) is an erect, bushy shrub to 3' tall with small, medium green leaves. It is covered with small flowers in lavender, lilac, rose, red, purple or salmon from late spring through fall; it will even bloom through winter in milder desert areas. It is a good background or foundation plant and is often trimmed into an informal hedge as well. 'Victoria Blue' and 'Victoria White' (S. farinacea) provide a completely different look with large oval leaves and very prominent flower spikes packed with small flowers in their respective colors. With an overall height of about 24"-30", these are wonderful in the foreground or lining walkways and borders. All salvias make excellent container plants as well, and are serious hummingbird and butterfly magnets!