More Information About Woody Perennials
These perennial plants look like shrubs to me! (Buddleia - Butterfly Bush, Anisicanthus- Hummingbird flower, etc.) - Some perennial plants are hard to categorize and fall into groups known as subshrubs. Others, may be woody shrubs in a warm climate, but become perennials when growing north of their normal range. A few of our listings here (especially the dwarf conifers) are truly shrubs, but since we are a perennial plant nursery, we list them here as woody perennials.
If you can put it into a perennial garden bed and it looks like it belongs, then it is a perennial plant in our book! Technically, a perennial is any plant (including woody plants such as trees and shrubs) that lives for more than 2 years. The term "perennial" designates longer-lived plants while the term "annual" is used for plants that live for 1 year and "biennial" is used for plants that live for 2 years.
The technical definition of a shrub is a woody plant less than 13' tall with many branches or stems arising at or near the base that do not exceed 3" in diameter. Shrubs under 6' in height are sometimes referred to as sub-shrubs. Some of the perennial plants below are not shrubs because they do not make "real" wood (e.g., palms, and bananas) or their wood is not very rigid. Some are not shrubs because although they are woody, the branches remain wiry or very thin. And others are not shrubs because although they are woody, they die back to the ground each winter and re-emerge from the soil like an herbaceous perennial does.
Plants do not always fit easily into our man-made categories, but instead exist along a continuum that goes from woodiness to non-woodiness. But we like 'em all no matter where they are along the continuum and include them in our online plant catalog of the best garden perennials despite any woody-leanings. Most of our woody perennials are either hard to find plants in nurseries, or new plants that have excited us. When you're ready to buy some new exotic plants for your garden that fall into the woody perennials bucket, we hope you'll check out our list of woody plants.