Perennials

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Gardeners with limited landscape time find perennials a particular blessing. After all, they have to be planted only once, and require considerably less care than annuals. Too, in general, perennials are more convenient and are more adaptable to local conditions than their annual pals. Even perennials that are damaged by frost will emerge the following season, often with larger and more abundant blossoms.

Not only do perennials offer a variety of appealing flowers, but their foliage can also be more interesting in shape, size, and color than annuals. To improve the overall appearance of your landscape and to ensure year-round color, you should include
an assortment of perennials in your annual beds.

Separate beds of perennials, however, can be breathtaking, permanent, “easy” spots in your garden. Here, hand weeding, watering, and insect and disease control will be much less taxing on your time than annual beds.

DRAINAGE TIPS
Just because perennial beds are easier to care for doesn’t mean they don’t have to be carefully planned. Perennials, as a rule, should be planted in well drained areas. If your landscape doesn’t offer optimum drainage conditions, it’s a good idea to plant your perennials in raised beds, which encourage drainage and delineate landscape areas.

SOIL ENRICHMENT
Soil enrichment is just as important for perennials as it is for annuals. In fact, it’s even more important, since a perennial bed, unlike an annual bed, won’t be reworked every season. You should give your perennials added nutrients before you plant them, especially if you’re planting them in your landscape’s existing soil.

WATERING TIPS
Watering, too, is crucial to your perennials’ continued good health. Most need a good, weekly watering; in fact, I’d advise giving these perennial beauties 1⁄2 inch of water twice a week to ensure that their thirst is quenched.

MULCHING
Perennials benefit greatly from mulching, which makes a flowerbed more attractive, discourages weeds, inhibits soil erosion, and helps conserve moisture in the soil. Cypress or pine wood chips, leaves, and grass clippings are excellent mulches. For perennials that are dormant in winter, mulching in late October and November is recommended. Some gardeners call this practice “putting the perennials to bed for the winter.

A list of perennials can be found here.


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