The term ‘perennial’ encompasses dozens of species, so many gardeners can feel perplexed when deciding how to care for the differing plants in their garden. Within this post, we will detail the best way to care for your perennials, covering their planting, maintenance, and advice on mitigating common problems once they have become established. Please note, a section on alpine care will be published within the coming days.
A perennial can be defined as a plant that will live in the ground for beyond two years. It will retreat into the ground during Autumn, and subsequently reemerge in Spring. As such, the planting and nurturing of perennials in your garden can be a satisfying activity, where you will be rewarded with a beautiful flowering display amongst your flower beds and borders.
Nevertheless, it is important that you do not make any errors in terms of their planting and care, as their requirements are less versatile than an alpine’s (which are inherently accustomed to growing on more unusual surfaces, such as rockery and gravel).
The most appropriate method to plant your perennials will depend on whether they are container-grown or bare-rooted.
Planting Container-Grown Perennials
These consist of a small-sized perennial that has been placed into a container of soil. To plant your perennial, dig a hole in your garden that is slightly larger than the container itself. The hole should be greater in terms of its width, as opposed to its depth. This will ensure that the perennial’s roots are well-buried, yet their shoots and stems will be bordering ground-level (where most moisture and nutrients is present).
To remove perennials from their container, gently tease their roots out from the soil (if you discover any spiralised roots, ensure that they have been adequately freed up from the soil). Once finished, place your perennial into their hole, and lightly pat-down the surrounding soil.
After your perennial has been planted into the ground, provide it with a nourishing drink. This should be given even if the soil is presently moist, because it will mitigate against future dryness and help settle the soil.
Planting Bare-Rooted Perennials
Upon receiving your bare-rooted perennial, it is best to firstly assess their size. If they are over 75 millimeters in length, they can be planted into your garden immediately.
If your perennial is of a smaller size, we advise you to initially place them into a pot to be ‘hardened off’ under a sheltered area. This will contribute to a more established perennial that will flourish beautifully within the impending months.
Caring for your Perennials
Once planted into the ground, we encourage you to water your perennials generously; with such efforts most integral during their initial growing season. Deadheading is also recommended, as this will prevent your perennials from wasting valuable energy on spent flowers. Nonetheless, you can allow the nearby leaves on the plant to remain, as they can leverage more energy into their roots for enhanced flowering.
How to Deadhead your Perennials
Deadheading your beloved perennials is a brilliantly-straightforward undertaking, with the only equipment required being a pair of scissors or secateurs. To deadhead, identify any flowers on your perennial that appear spent, and carefully rescind them from below their base.
Dividing your Perennials
As part of ensuring unrivaled flowering, once every few years, it is beneficial to divide your garden’s largest-appearing perennials. If your perennials are exhibiting the following signs, they are most likely ready to be divided;
- They have outgrown their assigned space.
- They are producing a lesser amount of flowers.
- The inside of the perennial appears to be in worse health.
If you wish to relieve yourself from the duty of dividing your perennials, why not purchase one of our enchanting Begonias. Due to their blooms naturally dropping off when their lifespan has completed, a Begonias’s care will not necessitate any dividing, making them a lower-maintenance option for your outdoor space.
It is most sensible to divide your perennials on a drizzly day. If the soil appears dry, soak the soil that encircles the perennials you will be relocating. It is also important that the perennials themselves are thoroughly watered; this will provide ease in their removal from the ground.
Taking good care, loosen the soil around each perennial, and gently pick them up in their clumps. To help assess precisely where they should be divided, using a hose or a watering can that produces a gentle stream, wash off the soil to expose the roots. With a garden fork, slowly separate the roots, and prune away any damaged areas. Once this step has concluded, you can then re-plant each segment into a hole (with their depth matching what they were previously accustomed to). Finish off the job with a generous watering, and await your perennials’ greatest return yet.