Perennial are flowering herbaceous plants, meaning their stems are soft and fleshy, not woody as with trees and shrubs. These small flowering plants grow and bloom over the spring and summer, die back every autumn and winter, and then return in the spring from their root-stock.
Herbaceous perennials survive degrees of winter cold by virtue of roots that are stronger and more vigorous than those of annuals. With the onset of cold, the tops of perennials die down but the roots remain alive in a dormant state, sending forth new foliage and flowers each year when the weather warms. If growing conditions are right, this pattern may continue for many years,
Most perennials bloom for a short period of time, about two to four weeks. This is a much shorter duration than annuals which generally bloom throughout the season. Therefore, perennials will not replace the continuous color you receive from annuals. However, perennials do provide a perpetual framework around which annual plants may be placed. Also by selecting perennials with different flowering times or duration of blooms, you can extend the perennials color over longer periods of time.
Perennials require well drained soil with an adequate amount of organic matter and fertilizer. Prepare your soil with a mixture of 50% Back To Earth™ Composted Cotton Burrs and 50% existing soil. If you are planting in clay soil, add a 10% ratio of Soil Menders™ Expanded Shale to ensure better drainage
Dig the hole twice the width of the root ball or container. Plants should be planted with the top of their root system level or slightly higher than the surrounding soil. It is best to prepare the entire bed area before planting. Tamp the soil firmly around the root ball to eliminate air pockets.
Slowly water the plants immediately after planting until the soil is saturated. Later in the day, water a second time using Fertilome™ Root Stimulator to stimulate early root growth. Water as needed to keep the soil evenly damp but not wet. Do not rely on sprinkler systems alone to properly water new plantings. The best way to water is at the surface level, rather than by sprinkling. Set out a soaker hose, or bring a regular hose into the bed and let water soak the earth. Do this in the early morning to avoid excess evaporation. Establish a nice routine to check the soil for dampness and to water when the soil is dry when you poke a finger beneath the surface.
Dr. Earth™ Bud & Bloom Booster is an excellent organic fertilizer for your perennials. Follow label instructions, but generally you may feed every four weeks. Miracle-Gro™ fertilizer may also be used as a foliar spray for a quick feeding.
A 2 inch layer of mulch (TLC recommends Grade A Premium Cypress or Cedar) placed over the bed area will discourage grass and weed growth, conserve moisture, and keep perennials cooler, resulting in better growth. If necessary, you may pull the mulch back to inspect the soil moisture of the bed to determine watering needs.
Tips for success
Deadheading keeps blooms coming all season long. Simply remove spent blossoms before plants begin seed formation. With flowers removed, the plant must bloom again to provide for its reproductive process.
TLC Lucky 13 Easy to Grow Perennials
Coreopsis – mounded plant with bright yellow “daisy” blooms May through September. Grows in sun.
Daylily – strap-like leaves form 2-4 feet tall mound with 3-5 inch flowers in several colors. Grows in sun.
Dianthus – fragrant flowers covering grass-like foliage. Forms dense 6-8 inch mat with pink, red, or white flowers. Grows in sun.
Echinacea (Coneflower) – daisy-like flowers in many vivid bloom colors in mid to late summer. Birds love the seeds, butterflies love the flowers, and you will love the long lasting bouquets. Grows in sun.
Gaillardia (Blanket Flower) – forms up to 3 feet clumps. Flowers are red, bronze, or yellow with central eye of yellow, brown, or purple. Daisy-like 3 inch flowers from June to Sept. Grows in sun.
Heuchera (Coral Bells) – dazzling array of foliage color and texture with dainty tubular flowers held aloft on airy stems. Excellent for borders with nearly evergreen foliage in neat clumps. Grows in shade.
Hosta – easy to grow in shade. Large leaves can be white or green variegated, blue-gray, chartreuse, emerald-edged – the variations are virtually endless. White or purplish lavender flowers in summer.
Lantana – low-maintenance blooms all season long. Flowers come in several colors, including yellow, pink, orange, purple, and multi-colors. Very drought tolerant reaches 2-3 feet tall and wide.
Peony – glossy green foliage creates rounded shape 3 feet tall with large 3-6 inch wide flowers in several colors. Long flower stems are good for cut flowers. Grows in sun to part shade.
Rudbeckia (Black-Eyed Susan) – free flowering daisies in cheerful colors ranging from yellow to bronze to mahogany. Plants will self-seed readily. Grows in sun.
Salvia – several different salvias are easy to grow and reliable performer. Salvia greggi flowers in shades of red, coral, and pink. Marvel Salvia produce large spikes of purple flowers. Grows in sun.
Shasta Daisy – long-time favorite with white daisy flowers on sturdy stems for cutting. Grows in sun.
Verbena – spreading in habit with clusters of rich colored flowers throughout the entire summer. Excellent for ground cover, edging, or rock gardens. Attracts bees and butterflies. Grows in sun.
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