The miracle and beauty of perennials are that they live year round and tend to be hardy even when winter is severe. They do not mature in a single season nor do they bloom for prolonged periods of time. One year is usually required to reach maturity when they begin from seed and they tend to bloom for short periods. A perennial grows along with your garden, maturing as you yourself mature. With each passing season, your perennials bring something new and unexpected to your garden, as they grow and thrive.
The soil should be crumbly to support large plants yet be light enough that deep-rooting plants can extend downward with ease. Perennial roots need moisture in the summer, but it can't retain too much, as it will be lethal in the winter.
- The majority of perennials achieve the best growth if they start out as seedlings in late summer or early fall. Perennials will maximize root growth even in cold weather. When spring arrives, fall-planted seeds have quite an advantage over those planted in the spring. All perennials will benefit from protective mulch during the winter.
- To plant nursery plants, dig a hole larger than the rootball and sprinkle 6-12-12 into the hole.
- Place the rootball in the hole, but don't let the rootball dry out before you plant.
- Fill the hole with soil and tamp down. Water frequently and generously until the plant is established.
- Perennial borders can be accomplished by planting three rows deep and four times longer than wide - once they have bloomed, it will give a full effect.A background fence or hedge will help to block wind and show off the perennials.
- If you are a novice, try planting in stages - building up the garden gradually. Avoid overcrowding, plants need space to breathe and grow. Bare patches that result from slow growth or spacing can be disguised using mulches or decorative stones.
- Planting perennials in groups should be organized so that bloom schedule, colour and size are coordinated. Each group should consist of at least three plants of the same variety and colour to create visual impact. Select plants so that you continuing bloom throughout the growing season. Choose plants that will vary in height and colour.
- Sometimes perennials need help to maintain an orderly appearance. Bamboo or other long staking material should be used with tall-growing perennials. Insert stakes when plants are first planted so as they grow they can be secured to the stake. Smaller species can be propped up with Tomato cages or short stakes.
- Removing faded blooms or discoloured foliage, every few days, will encourage blossoming.
- Weeds should be rare if you maintain a thick mulch.
- Loosen the soil around perennials to prevent compaction, prod the soil gently.
- Mildew problems can be handled by altering the pH, adjusting watering procedures or increasing the plant space to improve air circulation. In the fall, cut dead or woody stalks and trim back foliage.