Plant perennials in your garden for years of enjoyment
Perennials are living plants that continue to bloom and thrive year after year. Since they do not require replanting annually, they save you time, effort and money. Typically perennials have a shorter blooming season, ranging from two to three weeks depending on the type. By carefully planning your garden, you can arrange for your perennial flowers to peak at various times throughout the season for a continually changing garden with a fresh, new environment every few weeks. You can also group early, mid-season and late blooming perennials together to provide a continual backsplash of color. Before selecting the right perennials for your garden, consider the following questions:
Planting, Maintenance and Selection
If you want to take your gardening or landscaping pursuits to a new level, consider adding some perennials to the mix. These robust, hearty plants provide beauty and richness to any outdoor area. Whether you are the type of gardener who likes to spend a lot of time or only a little in the great outdoors, you're sure to find just what you need with the wide range of available types and varieties. Before you get started, take some time to think about your layout. You'll want to select specimens that match your climate, soil and growing season. You'll also need to consider light as some perennials will not bloom in shady locations. Because perennials are planted and left in the same spot for many years, location is important. Familiarize yourself with the types of plants that are best suited to your area. You may even want to observe the plants in your neighborhood, taking note of ones that appear to be growing well.
Planting Tips: Taking time to properly prepare your soil is one of the best things you can do to ensure your perennials continue to thrive over the years. Check for proper soil drainage and test pH levels to ensure that the growing environment is conducive to the plants. Most perennials are planted in the spring, though some bulbs and spring blooming perennials can be set out late in the summer or early fall. Avid gardeners and enthusiasts may want to consider starting perennials from seeds. This method is quite cost effective but requires a bit more effort. Follow the planting directions on the back of the seed packet for best results.
Maintenance and Care: Be sure to put frequent and thorough watering at the top of your maintenance checklist. An effective watering strategy hydrates plants and promotes good root development. You may want to add mulch to your garden for its water-retention capabilities. Mulch also provides protection during the harsh winter months and creates an attractive and orderly appearance in flower beds. After blooms have withered, remove dead flower heads and cut stems down to the ground. Fertilize perennials in March, then repeat every six weeks to carry the plants through the summer. Apply another treatment to late blooming plants at the end of summer. Always water plants after fertilizer has been applied to prevent burn. When perennials reach their growth threshold, use a sharp implement to divide the mature plant directly down the middle. Place the split sections in their new beds; and replace the soil around the "mother" plant. Rooting or transplant hormone can be added to minimize shock.
Selecting Perennials: When it comes to choosing the right perennials many elements come into play. You need to consider everything from the look and color of a plant to its peak blooming time and ideal soil conditions. Also, make sure that the plant is compatible with your region's climate. Location plays an equally important role. Check the height, size and growing preferences of each type, and locate plants to their best advantage. For example, gladiolas provide a tall, colorful backdrop to shorter plants, and hostas may be perfect for ringing a tree in a shady side yard. Most perennials are sold when they are in bloom, allowing you to select the colors you want. Choose plants that are compact and dark green before flowering. Avoid plants with thin, pale, yellow stems and leaves or visible signs of mold or mildew.
|Characteristics of Popular Perennials|
Live Plants: Live plants are usually grown in 1- or 5-gallon containers, although some plants are sold in smaller containers. These plants are already matured and are ready to be placed into your garden for immediate aesthetic enhancement.
Seeds: Seeds are less expensive than buying live plants but require more time and maintenance. For best results, follow the planting instructions included on the back of the seed packet.
Bulbs: Some perennials are sold as bulbs, such as daylilies. Follow the instructions included with your bulbs to ensure proper planting and maintenance. Many bulbs are planted in the fall and bloom the following spring and summer.
Long-lasting perennials require fertilizer to keep the soil rich. The Home Depot has a wide variety of fertilizers, plant foods and pest control products to help your garden thrive and grow from one season to the next.
If separating mature perennials, The Home Depot has rooting or transplant hormone to minimize shock to the plant.
To learn more about perennials and how to care for them, pick up a copy of The Home Depot's Flower Gardening 1-2-3 .