You Don’t Have to Prop Up Those Perennials

There are many, many chores to be done in the spring as the perennial plants start to emerge but staking them is one chore you can avoid if you follow some general principles.  But first let’s review the definition of a perennial, these are the plants which die back in the fall with first frost and then reemerge again in the spring.  They will become larger over time giving your garden beds a more impressive appearance.

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Some chores around the garden can be enjoyable, but having to stake perennials is not something that is eagerly anticipated.  So employing some good gardening strategies can really help your garden stay healthy and help you avoid extra work.

Crucial to the healthy growth of perennials and all other plants is the condition of the soil, perennials in general prefer good drainage and a good mix of soil with lots of nutrients from organic matter.  If your soil is poor then the plants are going to struggle which means the growth will be weak and floppy.  You could do a soil test but generally adding compost which has lots of organic matter will always be helpful. In addition, don’t over fertilize as this sometimes will promote really leggy growth with few flowers, having rich soil with lots of organic matter is much more beneficial.

If you are planting a new perennial bed or reviewing an older one, you want to be sure the plants are not too close together.  If they are this causes the plants to reach upward for light and air causing growth that is too leggy.  So make sure they have plenty of space around them for mature growth, consult the tags that come on the plants for mature plant size.  If you would like help with your garden beds those of us here at Nature’s Friends Landscaping are more than happy to assist you with design and planting.

Watering deeply and not too often is another way to promote healthy root growth which will create a strong and upstanding plant.  Also dividing mature perennials when they get too big with no growth in the middle will help keep plants strong.  Snipping back early growth in the spring on some plants (sedums, asters and boltonias) encourages bushier growth and stronger flower stems.  Deadheading faded flowers will also help perennials grow more robustly and stay healthy.


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