Planting Your New Perennials
June 18, 2021
Last issue, we talked about choosing perennials. Once you have purchased them and get home, then what? Here's some things that may help.
Check your soil. Is it heavy clay or sandy? poor in nutrients or rich in organic material? well draining or soggy? Know what your plants prefer and amend according to their needs: add compost, manure or other materials as needed to loosen your soil and help it drain more easily.
Keep perennials well watered for the first couple of weeks after planting. Then water when the soil below the surface feels dry to the touch. Don’t keep the soil soggy, which can cause rotting. Make sure to do a long watering once a week as opposed to daily showers as more water will penetrate down and encourage deeper roots instead of just surface roots.
Deadhead, or cut off, faded blooms. You can shear low-growing perennials such as dianthus (also known as pinks), cranesbill geraniums and candytuft (Iberis), nepeta, etc. after bloom to tidy them up and encourage new busy growth.
Mulch your plants, if you’re in a cold winter region, to protect them. A blanket of snow will help insulate them. To be more eco-friendly, do not cut back your perennials before winter. This gives places for bees and other insects to cozy up for the winter, and seed heads will provide birds with some winter food. Wait until spring temperatures are above freezing for a couple of weeks (usually mid April) before cutting back and disposing of last year’s debris, so the insects have time to come out of their winter sleep.
Spring is usually best planting time for summer and fall-flowering perennials. For perennials that bloom from spring to early summer, plant in late summer or fall. Avoid planting on hot days or plant in the late afternoon/early evening when heat stress will be less.
After preparing soil, dig a hole deep enough to hold root ball.
Remove the pot, break up root ball if root-bound.
Place root in the hole, fill with water.
Refill with soil. Root ball should be slightly below soil surface.
Water a second time.