Perennial Plants


In order to establish a successful permaculture garden, you will need to incorporate perennial plants which, even though they take longer to grow and produce and tend to be more expensive than annuals and other plants, will last longer and give you greater yields in the long term. In addition, designing your garden around plant guilds will ensure maximum production and the creation of self sustaining ecosystems which need minimal inputs and time expenditure in order to thrive.

Design-revisedTypical plant guilds are layered around a central large canopy tree surrounded by smaller trees, shrubs, flowers, herbs and ground cover species. Placing plants which complement each other together in the same yield will help you have a constant supply of food, fuel and other useful plant products to meet your needs year round. The following are some plant types you should always use in your plant guild to ensure a highly productive and well functioning system;

  • Mushrooms 

While not strictly considered a plant, mushrooms have a lot to contribute to your plant guild especially by enhancing the decomposition rates of dead leaves, twigs and other plant matter. Increased decomposition ensures that matter is broken down into easily digestible form for better absorption into the soil, and ultimately increases the nutrients in the soil and boosts the productivity of your guild.


  • Nitrogen fixers  

Plants that fix nitrogen in the soil like red clover are extremely beneficial because they break this element down into ammonia and make it available for other plants in the guild to use and thrive. In addition, red clover attracts pollinators which help to fertilize the other plants and set the life cycle in motion. Red clover is also highly palatable and a great option to use in salads and other vegetable dishes.

  • Pest controlling plants  

growing-herbs-in-pots-02Plants like chives have a strong sulphur like smell that repels pests that prey on plants in your guild. They are good for human consumption as well and are rich in antioxidants which help the body with detoxification. Chives also provide aesthetic value with their rich foliage and lavender colored flowers.

  • Climbers 

Vertical layers enable the plants in your guild to soak up maximum sun by providing them with surfaces to climb up on. Climbers like wild yam also supply nutrient dense tubers which are good for human consumption.

  • Weed controlling plants 

One of the best plants to use to deter weeds around your central plant is comfrey. Comfrey is also a fertilizer whose large bell shaped leaves can be trimmed and used as mulch in the guild especially during dry weather. It has medicinal properties and is used to manage sore muscles and to heal sprains.

Using plants whose effectiveness has been tried and proven will go a long way in ensuring that your permaculture guild is performing at optimal levels. In addition, many of the most effective plants perform multiple functions including serving as food and medicine for humans. To learn more about the best plants to include in your guild, visit the Open Permaculture School and Regenerative Leadership Institute website for more information.

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