As the summer season starts to transition into cooler temperatures, now is the time to start thinking about whether or not you want to add some perennials to your garden. The best time to plant your new perennials is when the temperatures start cooling and
they consistently don't rise above 80℉(26℃).
What are Perennials?
An easy way to define a perennial plant is one that comes back every year and lives for at least 3 or more years. The life span of perennials is varied depending on your climate, soil conditions, and if your plant is affected by insects and disease.
Why Choose Perennials?
I really like perennials because they can live for a long time, sometimes even decades. Once you plant them and they start growing well, you don't have to keep planting new ones every year. They stay beautiful without needing to be replanted again and again.
Once perennials are established, it is super easy to care and attend to them. A majority of perennials are very resilient which in turn reduces the need to replant them.
At first, buying a perennial plant might be more expensive than buying annuals. However, since you don't need to buy them every year, you end up saving money over time.
Naturalize and Spread
Perennials are plants that spread and grow on their own (aka “naturalize” ) in the garden. By doing this, they create a self-sustaining, beautiful, and low maintenance garden.
Biodiversity and Habitat
Perennials often attract a wide range of beneficial insects, birds, and other wildlife, contributing to a healthier and more diverse ecosystem in your garden.
Well established perennials can prevent soil erosion, improve soil structure, and contribute to better water absorption in the garden because they have a deeper and more extensive root system because they are an established plant.
How to Choose Perennials
When buying perennials, look for healthy-looking plants that appear to be vigorous and ready to grow. Avoid overgrown, floppy or leggy-looking, or small and struggling to stay alive plants. Daisy type perennials are a vigorous variety that you will find to often be root-bound; they will usually overcome this quickly once they are planted in your garden.
Prepping the Soil
The key to having a healthy and successful perennial garden is to properly prepare the soil!
Check the plant tags for type of soil: most often they grow best in deep, rich well-drained soil.
Improve dry and sandy soils: Add organic matter (such as compost/moistened peat moss/composted manure) and dig the area down to 8” or more with a garden fork or spade.
Improve heavy clay soils by adding a 4-6” layer of compost in addition to perlite and a coarse sand (not playground sand).
If you have wet, poorly drained soil, look for perennials that do well in waterlogged conditions or build a raised bed or install tile drainage.
Watering your plants immediately after planting and once a week or so for the first few weeks is recommended. If the weather is rainy, then you can adjust your watering. If the weather is hot, your plants may require more frequent watering.
If you have fertile soil and prepared it for your perennials, no additional fertilizer should be necessary for the first year. I usually fertilize my established perennials once a year with a slow-release fertilizer or compost in the springtime.
Popular Perennial Varieties
Now that we have all the basics down, let’s look at some perennial plants that will add
a whole lot of beauty to your garden!
Shasta daisies, scientifically known as Leucanthemum × superbum, are popular flowering perennial plants that belong to the Asteraceae family. We all know them by their bright white petals and yellow centers.
The name "Shasta" is derived from Mount Shasta, a volcanic peak in California, where Burbank, an American Horticulturist who crossed daisy varieties to create the “Shasta Daisy”, conducted much of his work.
Shasta Daisies can grow 2-3 feet tall and 1-2 foot wide depending on the variety. They typically bloom from late spring to early fall and require at least 6 hours of sunshine.
Every spring fertilize with an all-purpose fertilizer, deadhead the blooms (remove dead blooms) to encourage prolonged blooming and divide them every few years.
Shasta daisies are generally resilient plants, but they can be susceptible to aphids, slugs, and powdery mildew. Regular inspections and proper care can help prevent and address these issues.
Mulch around plants to retain moisture and keep the weeds down!!!
Cone Flower: Echinacea
Echinacea Is a popular perennial plant known for its striking daisy-like flowers with a distinctive cone-shaped center. These plants are popular due to their hardiness and vibrant colors that range from shades of pink to purple, white and orange. Echinacea are easy to care for and they attract pollinators like crazy!
Echinacea prefers full sun (6+ hours or more), well-drained soil, and once they are established, they are drought tolerant. These plants grow from 18 to 24 inches in height, and they will need to be divided every few years due to their vigorous growing habits.
If you are interested in exploring herbal application, Echinacea purpurea has a history of being used for its possible medicinal qualities, making it an interesting option.
DON'T FORGET: Deadhead the spent flowers on your flowering plants to encourage more flower production!!!
Sage is botanically known as "Salvia Officinalis" which is a perennial that belongs to the mint family! This perennial is from the Mediterranean region and can grow up to about 2 to 3 feet in height. The flowers range from all kinds of purples to pinks, and they also attract bees, butterflies, and occasionally a hummingbird.
Sage has been used as a culinary herb to flavor many dishes involving poultry, stuffing, sausages, and roasted vegetables. Throughout history it has been used in traditional herbal medicine to treat various ailments such as digestive issues, sore throats, and excessive sweating.
Sage is very adaptable to various climates, thrives in sunny and warm conditions, and needs well-draining soil. Pruning this full sun plant can encourage healthy growth.
Pruning helps promote healthier growth and shape of a plant.
Rudbeckia/Black-Eyed Susan Goldsturm Variety
Rudbeckia is commonly known as Black-Eyed Susan and is a part of the Aster family. The Goldsturm variety is very popular because of its eye-catching flower that has a daisy-like appearance. Goldsturm was created by crossing a German hybrid with a traditional American Black-Eyed Susan plant.
Rudbeckia thrives in full sunlight, well-drained soil, and it can grow in a variety of climates. It can grow in zones 3-9 and once established, it can tolerate drought as well as a range of soil types.
By deadheading this perennial, you will have an entire season of flowers. It not only is attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds, it looks fantastic in the garden as well as in an arrangement!
Deadheading: Deadheading is the process of removing faded or spent flowers from plants to encourage new growth and more blooms.
Astilbe is a shade loving perennial that is known for its feathery plumes. It’s native to Asia and North America and grows 1 to 3 feet tall dependent on the variety. The astilbe comes in a variety of colors that include white, pink, lavender, and red. This perennial can tolerate a few hours of the morning sun but is extremely delicate to full sun.
Astilbe prefers soil rich in organic matter that is consistently moist and well draining. It’s best to regularly water and keep mulch around the base to hold in the moisture and prevent weeds.
Flower spikes will appear in late spring to early summer and can rise anywhere from 6 inches to 2 feet depending on the variety.
This plant grows vigorously and should be separated every 3 to 4 years. It can be harmed by slugs, snails, and fungal diseases if it becomes too crowded and doesn't have enough air circulation.
Everyone knows about Hostas, right? They do have flowers, but what they are really famous
for are their leaves. People love Hostas because they come in all sorts of shapes, colors,
Hostas belong to the same family as asparagus. They go away during winter, but when it gets warmer in spring, they pop up and start growing new leaves again.
Hostas thrive in partial to full shade with a few varieties that can tolerate more sun if they are watered well. These plants are generally hardy in zones 3 to 9, depending on the specific variety.
Hostas can stay healthy by keeping the soil moist, watering regularly, using mulch around the plant’s base, and dividing them every few years in early spring or after flowering. Protect your hostas from slugs and snails by using traps or natural repellents.
Thank you for joining me today! Until next time, have a fantastic gardening day!!!