It’s a great time to plant perennials! Perennials are plants that come back year after year, often multiplying and spreading. Perennials usually have a shorter bloom period, anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months, but they reward you by not having to be re-planted each year.
Remember, a garden is always a work in progress, so adding and changing is normal. Perennials can be planted any time from March to November. Be sure to water well in the warmer months if you are planting then.
Here are 5 questions to ask:
- Is this plant native to my area?
- How long does this plant bloom?
- Is this a sun-lover or shade-lover?
- How much does this plant spread?
- Does this plant have any special watering or feeding requirements?
1 Native in your area means this plant is tough! These are often labelled “Native Perennials.” NPs have the distinction of being hard to kill, drought-resistant, deer-resistant, and pest-resistant, as well as attractive to butterflies and other pollinators. All great qualities that helped these plants survive to show us how great they are. If you are nervous about your ability to care for plants, Native Perennials are excellent.
2 Knowing how long the bloom period is helps you plan out your garden so that you can have different plants blooming at different times. Just because something has a short bloom period—peonies, for instance—does not mean you should not include them in the garden. Remember, you can tuck in some annuals—which typically bloom all season—to fill out with color while your perennials settle in.
3 Sun or shade or in-between? Knowing where the sun falls in your garden is important, so that you can get the right plants for the right space. Many plants can handle full to half-sun, meaning 6-12 hours of direct sunlight. Shade loving plants can handle full shade—no direct sun at all!—or just a few hours of sun.
Your sunlight will change over the season as the angle of the sun changes. Your sunlight will change over the years as trees grow up around your garden area. It’s a good idea to go check what areas are sunny at 9 am, noon, and 3 pm.
4 If your perennial is a multiplier, allow space for that. This gives your plants room to grow. You can fill in with some annual flowers if you think the space is a bit empty. Some perennials do not spread, but grow a little taller and wider each year.
All plants need space for their roots to grow and for their leaves to spread out. Crowding your plants can lead to poor plant health. Air flow is one of the best things you can do to keep your plants happy.
5 Any special requirements? Native perennials are pretty adaptable, which is why they are great. But if you have a plant that likes it very dry—a sedum, for example—you do not want to plant it by the stream! Most perennials need a little care in the first few weeks of getting planted. After that, they do well in general. If you add compost to your soil, that is usually all the fertilizer needed to keep your plants growing.
HOWEVER—if we get a prolonged dry spell, give the babies a drink! If we get a prolonged rainy spell—hope your drainage is good. We can put water on, but we cannot take it off.
5 favorite sun-loving perennials: Shasta daisies, Monarda, Black eyed Susans, Echinacea, Sedum
5 favorite shade-loving perennials: Heuchera, Tiarella, Dicentra, Astilbe, Ferns
Any more questions, let me know! Stop by and see all the great plants and imagine what might happen in your garden.
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Growing beyond expectations since 1832!