With the right care Perennials can provide you with years of Color in your Garden
Many gardeners choose to plant perennials in their gardens because they will return year after year. Perennials provide years of pleasure to garden visitors and they help the gardener paint the garden canvas with color. Expert gardeners have mastered the proper care of perennials so they have beautiful plants year after year.
The simplest way to classify types of perennials is according to the size the plant achieves. The size is gauged by the height and spread of the foliage. Rock plants, and some types of sedums and mosses can flourish under one inch high, but may spread several feet across. Other perennials like the hosta, and osteospermum are considered to be small as well, even though they may reach twenty-four inches. The hosta can send its flower spikes up a foot over its foliage, and grow to five feet across quickly. In contrast, plants like delphiniums, Joe-Pye Weed and Elephants’ Ears can be six to seven feet tall. Mid-sized flowers like peonies, bleeding hearts, irises, astilbes, lupins, poppies, chrysanthemums, and geraniums are the most common types of perennials. Whether these plants are perennials or not, again, depends where you live.
Proper Care for your Perennials
If you want your perennials to stay healthy and beautiful for years, you need to give them proper care. Most perennials are not plants that you can plant and forget about. They need care and attention to grow and blossom at their full potential. If you give your plants the attention they need, you will be rewarded with perennials that get healthier and more beautiful every year.
One of the most important things for perennial care is the fall and spring clean up. In the fall it is important to cut back plants and remove dead and dying foliage. If you allow the rotting foliage to remain all winter, you are encouraging fungus growth. This will allow disease to breed and is very harmful to your plants. The only plants you will not do this with are evergreen perennials such as lavender and candy tuft. However, you will want to clean up any leaves and other garden debris from around them before winter.
Springtime in the Garden
In the spring, remove all dead foliage and leaves from your flower beds. Give the budding plants room to breathe and allow them to seek the warm sunlight. The suns warming rays will help dry out the ground and kill any moisture loving organisms that might harm your plants. This is the time to carefully cultivate or till around your perennials and aerate the soil. This will break up the compacted dirt and allow water and nutrients to penetrate. Add organic material such as compost or aged manure to the soil at this time as well. Later in the spring as the plants grow, you will want to add a two to three inch layer of mulch around them. This will help keep the weeds down and reduce watering.
Damage prevention on your Perennials
Throughout the growing season remove spent blossoms and dying foliage regularly. Not only will your plants look better, but you will be removing places for pests to nest. Garden pests can be a problem during the summer and you need to be constantly on the lookout for pest damage. If you do encounter insect damage, remove the damaged area of the plant. Then spray the plant and those around it with a mixture of water and mild dish soap. This simple, pesticide free spray is very effective on many garden pests such as aphids. If this doesn’t help, you may want to introduce beneficial insects to your garden such as ladybugs and praying mantis. Because pesticides can be harmful to the environment, it is best if you try organic and natural methods of pest control before turning to chemicals.
A perennial garden is rewarding to both the gardener and the garden visitor. By careful planning and care, your garden will give you years of enjoyment.