Get expert advice on how to properly care for perennials in your garden. Learn tips and tricks on soil preparation, planting, feeding, and more.

How to Care for Perennials in Your Garden

What are perennials?

Perennials are plants that live longer than two years and come back year after year. Unlike annuals that only last one season, perennials make great additions to your garden as they will reappear each spring with colorful blooms or foliage.

How do I choose the right perennials for my garden?

When selecting perennials for your garden, take into account the climate of your area and the amount of light and water that your garden will receive. Consider factors like flower color, foliage type, bloom time, size, and drought tolerance when deciding which perennials to add to your garden.

How do I prepare my soil for planting perennials?

In order to ensure healthy plants, it’s important to prepare the soil before planting perennials. Start by adding organic matter such as compost or rotted manure to enhance drainage and increase nutrient content in the soil. Additionally, adjust your soil pH according to the needs of the particular perennial plants you want to plant, using lime or sulfur as necessary.

What is the best way to plant perennial flowers?

Before planting perennial flowers, make sure to read the instructions on the plant’s label regarding planting depth, spacing, and other requirements. When you are ready to plant, dig a hole that is two times wider than the root ball and as deep as the roots are long. Place your perennial flower in the hole so that it is level with the soil surface, and fill it with an appropriate soil mixture. Finally, water thoroughly after planting.

How can I help my perennials get established?

In order for perennials to become established in your garden, they will need consistent moisture during their first growing season. It’s important to water deeply at least once per week throughout spring and summer, but be careful not to over-water, as this can lead to root rot. Additionally, applying a layer of mulch around established perennials can help retain moisture and reduce weeds.

What fertilizers should I use on my perennials?

When it comes to fertilizing your perennial plants, choose a high phosphorus fertilizer, like a 10-20-10 blend, for the best results. It’s important to read the label before using any fertilizer and apply only as instructed, as too much fertilizer can burn the plant’s roots. It’s also essential to water your plants after fertilizing to ensure proper nutrient absorption.

How do I prune and deadhead my perennials?

To keep your perennials looking their best, pruning and deadheading are necessary. Pruning should be done in the early spring before new growth appears and can help keep a plant looking neat and tidy. Deadheading is simply removing dead flowers from your plants to encourage more blooms. This should be done as soon as possible after flowering has finished for best results.

Do I need to divide my perennials?

Over time, many perennial plants will become overcrowded and stop blooming well as they used to. At this point, it’s a good idea to divide the clump into smaller pieces for healthier growth. This typically involves digging up the entire plant, dividing it into several sections with sharp pruners or a spade, then replanting each section in different areas of the garden.

What kind of pests and diseases do perennials attract?

Depending on the type of plant you are growing, perennials are susceptible to several pests and diseases. Some common pests include aphids, spider mites, slugs, and snails, while some common diseases include powdery mildew, leaf spot, rust, and root rot. To prevent or treat these issues, be sure to inspect your plants often for signs of any problems and take the necessary action as soon as possible.

How can I extend the blooming season of my perennials?

In order to extend the flowering period of your perennials, you should look for varieties that bloom at different times throughout the year, such as early-, mid, and late-blooming types. Deadheading spent blossoms regularly can help encourage more blooms while fertilizing with a high phosphorus fertilizer will also help promote flowering.

Can I start perennials from seed?

Yes, growing perennials from seed is possible, but it can be time-consuming and challenging for novice gardeners. You will need to make sure you buy seeds that are correctly labeled as perennial varieties and start them indoors several months before the last frost. You should also use a sterile starting mix and provide supplemental in order to get your seeds off to a good start.

Should I cut back my perennials in the fall?

If you live in an area with cold winters, it’s a good idea to cut back your perennials at the end of the season (late autumn or early winter). This will help prevent any damage caused by heavy snowfall or extreme cold. Make sure to cut the foliage down to an inch or two and remove any dead or decaying material to help reduce the risk of diseases in the spring.

Do I need to water my perennials during droughts?

Perennials are relatively drought tolerant, but during extended periods of dry weather, they will benefit from supplemental watering. Water deeply once a week and apply a layer of mulch around established plants for extra protection and moisture retention. Keep in mind that you should never let your perennials dry out completely, as this can cause them to go dormant or die.

Are there deer-resistant perennials I can plant?

Yes, there are several varieties of perennials that deer tend to avoid, such as lamium, hellebores, and astilbes. If you are in a particularly deer-prone area, it’s also a good idea to use some form of repellant or fencing to keep them away from your garden.

How often should I fertilize my perennials?

Perennials typically need less frequent applications of fertilizer than annuals but should still be fertilized regularly to promote healthy growth. Aim for once every three months during the growing season, and use a balanced fertilizer that includes nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. It’s important not to overfertilize as this can burn the plant’s roots. It’s also essential to water your plants after fertilizing to help the nutrients reach their roots.

Can I divide my perennials?

Yes, dividing perennials is usually a good idea when the plants start to look crowded or aren’t blooming as well as they used to. At this point, it’s a good idea to divide the clump into smaller pieces for healthier growth. This typically involves digging up the entire plant, dividing it into several sections with sharp pruners or a spade, then replanting each section in different areas of the garden.

What type of soil is best for perennials?

Perennials generally prefer soils that are well-drained, nutrient-rich, and slightly acidic. If your soil has a lot of clay or sand in it, you may want to amend it with compost or other organic matter to make it more suitable for growing perennials. Additionally, be sure to add plenty of mulch around the plants to help retain moisture and keep weeds at bay.

What are the best blooming perennials for shady areas?

There are several types of perennials that can thrive in shady spots, such as ferns, violets, hostas, and Solomon’s seal. These plants will add color and texture to your garden without requiring full sun. Additionally, it’s a good idea to choose varieties that do well in partial shade, such as astilbes or hellebores.

Can I grow perennials in containers?

Yes, many perennial plants can be grown quite successfully in pots or other containers as long as they have enough room to spread out their roots. When choosing a container sure it has at least 8 inches of soil depth and is made of a material that will retain moisture. Additionally, opt for self-watering containers if possible, and be sure to water regularly during dry periods.

What is the best way to start perennials from seed?

Starting perennials from seed is a great way to expand your garden without breaking the bank. It’s important to choose seeds that are right for your climate and planting zone, as well as follow the directions carefully. As a general rule of thumb, it’s best to sow perennial seeds indoors in late winter or early spring in moist potting soil and place them somewhere warm and sunny until they germinate. Once they have sprouted, you can transplant them outdoors once the last frost has passed.

Are perennials affected by climate change?

Unfortunately, climate change is having a significant impact on many types of perennials. As temperatures rise and the frequency of extreme weather events increases, it can be more difficult to predict when certain plants will flower or how well they will do in different climates. Therefore, it’s important to choose hardy varieties that are adapted to local conditions. Additionally, regular watering and mulching can help protect your plants from the effects of climate change.

Can I grow perennials indoors?

Yes, some varieties of perennials, such as African violets and Christmas cacti, can be grown indoors all year round as long as you provide them with plenty of light and water. Additionally, it’s important to choose potting soil that is well-draining and provides adequate humidity for your plants so they don’t dry out.

What are the benefits of growing perennials?

Perennials offer several advantages over annuals, such as being more hardy in extreme weather conditions and requiring less maintenance than their annual counterparts. Additionally, since many perennials return year after year, you won’t have to worry about replanting them each season. Finally, perennials can add visual interest and texture to your garden with their beautiful blooms and foliage.

What are some tips for growing healthy perennials?

When planting perennials, it’s important to choose a location that gets enough light and is away from strong wind or direct sun. Additionally, make sure the soil you use is well-draining and rich in organic matter. Finally, be sure to water your plants regularly during dry periods and apply fertilizer once a month during the growing season.

Do I need to prune my perennials?

Yes, regular pruning can help keep your perennials looking their best by removing dead or diseased branches as well as encouraging new growth. For most varieties of perennials, it’s best to do this in late spring or early summer when the plant is actively growing. Additionally, it’s important to use sharp pruning shears and avoid cutting into old wood, as this can damage the plant.

What are some of the most common pests that affect perennials?

The most common pests that affect perennials include aphids, thrips, spider mites, and whiteflies. These insects can quickly take over a garden if left unchecked, so it’s important to inspect your plants regularly for signs of infestation and take steps to eliminate them promptly. This includes using insecticides or neem oil sprays as well as removing any infected parts of the plant.

Can I grow perennials in window boxes?

Yes, many types of perennials can be grown in window boxes if you provide them with the right growing conditions. These include soil that is well-draining and rich in organic matter, adequate drainage, sufficient sunlight, and regular watering. Additionally, it’s important to ensure your window box has enough space for the plants to spread out so they don’t become overcrowded.

Do I need to fertilize my perennials?

Yes, providing your perennials with fertilizer is an essential part of keeping them healthy and ensuring they produce beautiful blooms each year. It’s best to use a balanced fertilizer at least once a month during the growing season. However, make sure to follow the directions on the package carefully to avoid over-fertilizing, which can damage your plants.

Should I mulch my perennials?

Yes, adding a layer of mulch around your plants can help protect them from extreme temperatures as well as moisture loss. Additionally, it can help suppress weeds and conserve soil moisture so you don’t have to water your perennials as often. However, make sure not to add too much mulch, or it could suffocate the plants.

What is the best time of year to plant perennials?

The ideal time for planting perennials depends on where you live and what type of perennial you are planting. Generally speaking, spring is usually the best time of year as this allows the plants to become established before the onset of hot weather. However, if you live in an area with mild winters, fall can also be a good time to plant perennials.

What are some common mistakes when planting perennials?

One of the most common mistakes when planting perennials is not providing them with enough space to spread out. This can cause overcrowding, which can inhibit their growth and blooming potential. Additionally, it’s important to make sure your soil is well-draining and rich in organic matter, as this will help ensure your plants have access to all the nutrients they need for optimal growth and health. Finally, be sure to water your plants regularly during dry periods and fertilize them at least once a month during the growing season.

What type of soil do perennials need?

Perennials need soil with good drainage and a rich content of organic matter in order to thrive. Additionally, it’s important to ensure your soil has a balanced pH level and isn’t too acidic or alkaline, as this can inhibit the plant’s growth. If you aren’t sure what kind of soil to use, it’s best to consult an expert or conduct a soil test before planting your perennials.

Do I need to deadhead my perennials?

Deadheading is the process of removing spent blooms from your plants to encourage new ones. Generally speaking, most perennial flowers should be deadheaded to keep them looking their best and prevent too much seed production. However, some varieties do not need deadheading, such as coneflowers, daisies, and black-eyed Susan’s, so it’s important to check your plants’ specific requirements before going through this process.

Do perennials require special care?

Yes, perennials do require some special care in order to thrive. This includes providing them with nutrient-rich soil and adequate drainage and ensuring they get enough sunlight and water during the growing season. Additionally, it’s important to fertilize at least once a month during the growing season and mulch around the base of the plants to protect them from extreme temperatures and moisture loss.

When should I divide my perennials?

It’s best to divide your perennials when they become overcrowded or start to decline in vigor, typically every two to three years. The best time for dividing is usually during early spring or late fall, which gives the plants enough time to become established before hot weather sets in. Additionally, when dividing, it’s important to take special care not to damage the roots, as this can inhibit their growth.

Are there any tips for managing pests on my perennial plants?

Yes, there are a few simple steps you can take to help manage pests on your perennial plants. First and foremost, it’s important to inspect your plants regularly for signs of disease or insect damage. Additionally, hand-picking pests off your plants can be effective in keeping the population under control. Finally, using insecticidal soap or neem oil can help prevent pest infestations.

Do perennials need to be pruned?

Yes, most perennials benefit from being pruned each year as this helps promote healthy growth and blooming potential. Generally speaking, the best time for pruning is usually in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. Additionally, it’s important to only remove dead and damaged stems rather than healthy ones in order to ensure vigorous growth.

What type of fertilizer should I use on my perennials?

When fertilizing your perennial plants, it’s important to use a fertilizer that is specifically formulated for them. Generally speaking, slow-release fertilizers are best as they will provide your plants with a steady supply of nutrients over an extended period of time. Additionally, be sure to follow the directions on the package when applying the fertilizer in order to ensure proper application and dosage.