During the winter dormant period it is usually possible to identify the buds/potential growing points of herbaceous perennials. These may be identified as follows:
Buds: These may develop to produce an inflorescence in the following growing season.
Axillary buds: These are growth buds; they are unlikely to produce inflorescences in the following growing season but will initiate the growth by which the clump increases in size.
Number of Buds
Figure 1: DORMANT HERBACEOUS PERENNIAL
SHOWING SHOOTS (Hosta sieboldiana 'Elegans')
The number of buds can be an indication of the potential growth of herbaceous plants, particularly in the first year. This may be significant in the specification of open ground herbaceous plants supplied as clumps (e.g. Hosta spp., Paeonia spp.)
For typical clumps which are supplied, 2, 3 or 4 buds might be expected.