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Biennials live for 2 years, whereas perennials live for longer. As a general rule, biennial and perennial seeds should be sown in spring, but some can be sown in autumn as well. Many varieties will self-seed after flowering, giving you even more plants!
Helianthus maximiliani, Maximilian Sunflower
Often known as the Maximilian Sunflower, this attractive species produces masses of golden yellow, 7cm (3") wide blooms all the way up the tall stems, which have a sweet chocolate fragrance. Perennial sunflower Helianthus maximiliani makes a stunning addition to the back of borders and a good late summer food source for both birds and butterflies. Height: 250cm (98"). Spread: 100cm (39").
Companion planting: Try growing sunflowers with chives to deter aphids.
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Giant Lily, Lilium giganteum
This astonishing hardy perennial makes a fascinating talking point. The tall stems of the Giant Himalayan Lily tower to 2.5m (98") or more in an awe-inspiring display. With maturity Cardicrinum giganteum is topped with a crown of white Lily-like blooms from June the July. The trumpet shaped flowers have a powerful fragrance, attracting plenty of pollinating insects, before they are replaced by interesting oblong seedpods in late summer. The Giant Himalayan Lily may take 3 or more years to flower but is well worth the wait.
This fascinating plant is monocarpic, meaning that it dies after flowering - but don't be put off, it leaves behind offsets that will flower in 3 to 5 years time. Cardiocrinum giganteum is a most unusual plant that will add a real focal point to lightly shaded exotic gardens and woodland borders. Height: 250 cm (98"). Spread: 45cm (18").More info
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