Planting Perennials

Planting Perennials - perennial flowers and flower planting tips.

Planting Perennials

Learn all the secrets of planting these prized, low care incredible plants

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Bookmark and Share Subscribe Planting Perennials - What is a Perennial?

A perennial is a plant that does not die after only one year of growth. Each fall the plant dies and comes back up the next spring or growing season.

Typically perennials get larger and more robust with each growing season until they reach about their 4th or 5th year. At that point, most varieties should be split so they will continue to grow and thrive.

The most notable and most recognizable perennials include Daylillies, Hosta, Iris, Chrysanthemums, Coneflowers and Peonies.

This, of course, is only the beginning. There is a huge variety of perennials available. Not only are there many species, but there are many varieties within each species.

Sustainable Earth

Planting Perennials - We Love Them!

Why We Love Planting Perennials:

First, we view perennials, and flowers in general as a great way to go green. Plants produce oxygen, so Green Living Made Easy is all for planting.

We like planting perennials because they come back year after year, which means they save money and time.

We love that by planting perennials, they easily add a wide variety of texture, flower size, flower color, and bloom time to any garden. We have a shady yard that promotes the growth of Hosta. Because there are many sub-species, we can fill entire beds with only Hosta, while still enjoying a wide range of leaf color, size, bloom time, and flower color.

We also like that perennials can be planted very small. Because they come back year after year, you can purchase them small (or even grow them from seed), which helps to make your garden more affordable..

Sustainable Earth

Planting Perennials- Consider Bare Root Plants

Also many perennials can be split or raised from seed so you can buy a limited amount and gradually expand your garden to whatever limits you desire.

You may find the gardener's treasure - volunteer shoots that self-start from seed for adjacent perennials. It's like finding a small pot of gold. We love that perennials can be shared with others.

Tell almost any gardener that you love one of their perennials, and they'll send you home with some that you can plant in your own garden.

Because they come back year after year and can often be split, many gardeners with established gardens are eager to share with others - and that's a great eco friendly way to grow your own garden or to help someone else with theirs!

Sustainable Earth

Planting Perennials Short in Front, Tall in the Back

What Maintenance is Involved With Perennials? One misconception that many people have when planting perennials is that they can plant them and forget them. This may be true with a few varieties, buy not so with most perennials.

Here are some of the tasks involved with maintaining a healthy mixed perennial bed:

They should be fed with fertilizer 2 to 3 times/year.
Dead growth should be cut back in the fall and spent blooms and stalks should be removed during the year. This will increase plant vigor.
Most perennials need to be split every 2 or 3 years to give vitality to the original clump. A bonus for this is you wind up with about 4 times as many plants.
Green Living

Planting Perennials Attract Butterflies

Planting Perennials - Flowering:

Another misconception is that perennials flower all year. There are certainly varies that have long bloom periods but few that flower all year.

One exception to this may be some of the Daylillies, such as the stella d-ora, which flowers profusely the first part of the summer and continues throughout the summer with a lot less blooms.

The thrill of a perennial garden is the constant variety of bloom that you get as it changes from month to month. Most varieties bloom for 2 or 3 weeks and some less.

There are a few that can bloom for up to 6 weeks, but these are rare. There are also some varieties that will bloom for a second time during the growing season, but this will not happen unless you are proactive in removing spent blossoms during the flowering seasons.

Your work will pay-off with a second bloom, and it is very rewarding. Perennial Gardening is somewhat of a trial-and-error method of gardening.

All your best made plans will be altered by finding out that several varieties do not like your yard for some small reason or another and you will see them slowly shrink away until they do not appear at all.

This is because they were not "happy" for any number of reasons from wrong about of sun, not enough or too much moisture, improper PH of the soil or maybe they don't like their neighboring plants. With these species, write them off not to use in your yard and move on to another variety.

Learn To Eat Green

Planting Perennials in Drifts of Color

How to Have a Successful Perennial Garden:

Do your homework on plant size, flower color and bloom time.

Test your soil PH and compare it to the favored PH of the perennials you are considering.
Consider bloom times when choosing plants, and plat so bloom times are coordinated. This will give you a gorgeous garden all season long.
In most cases plant shorter perennials in front and gradually gain height as you reach the back of the border.
Plant in drifts so that everything flows.
Rarely use just one plant except if it is a real specimen plant.
Plant in odd numbers (3's 5's 7's) and stagger your planting.
Consider bringing in some evergreen varieties for color and interest.
Incorporate texture perennials to bring interest into your bed, such as hosta and daylillies.

Learn To Eat Green

Planting Perennials in the Shade

Study How Much Sun Is Required

Most perennials tolerate a range of lighting conditions, but few tolerate for full sun to full shade. If listed as a full sun light requirements, it's not likely the plant will do very well with part shade and similarly if listed as full shade, it will not tolerate any sun.

Don't forget about mulching: Provide 3-4 inches of good clean mulch when planting perennials. This will retain moisture, keep down weeds and give much need aeration and humus to the garden.

See our section on Mulching for tips on installing and maintaining a mulch layer in your landscape and garden areas.

Here's Some Great Sources For Perennial Plants:

Springhill Nursery


Michigan Bulb

Henry Field's Seed & Nursery

Gurney's Seed & Nursery

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