Do you continuously enjoy the perennials in your garden year after year? Herbaceous perennials are plants with tops that die each fall, leaving crowns and root systems alive (although dormant) during winter, re-growing when conditions are right the following spring. Perennials typically do not flower in the first season if grown from seed, rather channeling energy into the root system. Established perennial plants grown in containers at a nursery often bloom the first season you plant them in your garden. Other types of herbaceous perennials are spring-flowering bulbs, and ornamental grasses and ferns which require special treatment to grow. Well-designed and carefully installed perennial gardens are enjoyed for years!
Widely popular due to the fact that perennials return annually, they are also admired because they divide up into multiple plants for replanting in other areas after a few years. Additionally, they change with each season, enabling homeowners to have a variety of bloom schedules in the garden. While they do require a larger initial investment if purchased as established plants, they are a great value in the garden year after year.
Residents in southeastern Pennsylvania communities such as Malvern, Radnor, Tredyffrin, Easttown, East Whiteland and Willistown Townships enjoy watching perennial plants grow annually in their landscaped gardens as a result of well-executed landscape design and installation plans. While many perennials are hardy by nature, they do require careful maintenance. The following are annual care tips for perennial plants and flowers that will help your plants grow vigorously and stay beautiful.
- Replant container-grown and bare-root perennials: When replanting container-grown perennials, prepare a hole that is approximately the same depth as the original pot and slightly wider. Loosen the roots and firm in the soil before dousing with an abundance of water. For the slightly less expensive bare root perennial sold in the spring, the roots must be soaked before planting. Add mulch to a depth of 2-3 inches around the well-watered new plant to keep the soil moist and prevent weed growth.
- Stake for stability: Stake taller perennials such as delphiniums, hollyhocks, and peonies for support and anchor single stems by inserting a sturdy stick into the ground and tying the stem.
- Let water needs determine location: Do your research on the individual perennials you’ve selected and group them according to their water needs to prevent over or under watering. Water perennials in the morning or early afternoon with a soaker hose to prevent powdery mildew and other fungal diseases.
- Deadhead for health and beauty: Regularly deadhead your herbaceous perennials by cutting the faded flowers off the plant for a better appearance. This may encourage some plants to put out more blooms.
- Divide to prevent crowding: Approximately every three years, divide your perennials to enable them to perform well and prevent crowding by digging them up and separating them into smaller chunks. Early spring or fall are the best times of year to divide most (but not all) perennials.
- Fertilizing: If you have rich soil you may not need to add a fertilizer, but a general-purpose garden fertilizer applied precisely according to directions may be useful.
Finally, perennial varieties selected according to regional southeastern Pennsylvania weather characteristics should fare well during cold weather, but a layer of mulch over the plants after the soil freezes can help prevent damage. If you are an animal lover, consider leaving the dead stems standing all winter as food for the birds. Follow these annual care tips for perennial plants and flowers for a beautiful garden that will expand and transform over time.
Aardweg Landscaping is a recipient of the coveted Best of Houzz 2014 Award for Customer Satisfaction in Landscape Design and Architecture. You will find a plethora of gorgeous perennial garden images at the Aardweg Landscaping Houzz page.
Main Line landscape design, installation and maintenance company, Aardweg Landscaping of Newtown Square, has been creating breathtaking Main Line gardens for more than 35 years. If you are interested in learning more about landscape designs for a new perennial garden at your home, contact us today by telephone at 610.355.0703.