Gardening with Perennials

Perennials are a great part of the flower garden, so you want to make sure the colors match your décor.  They remain in the garden no matter what, unless you clear them, but they need annuals and biennials to keep blooms up through the entire season, as well as provide variety. Perennials blooming period can be very short for some species, so being familiar with the type you plant is important to be in control over the conditions. 

Some perennials have more color and beauty than others. Another factor of perennials is that some have long life cycles while others are very short.  Peonies, phlox, poppies, lilies of the valley, daylily, iris and others have a short life. The region and climate have a lot to do with it. Luckily, perennials can often be grown from seeds. 

Perennials need to be sown in the garden, in well prepared and loose soil. This needs to be done in spring or early summer. These plants will flower the following year. Come will be able to bloom the following year, if started early in a coldframe. Transplant your flowers into another spot, and make sure they have plenty of room to grow, and your plants will be equal to anything you could possibly by in a nursery. There are some plants that are best if not grown by seed, like peonies, daylily, iris, phlox, and chrysanthemum. 

These plants are increased through division that needs done every few years. An iris should be divided in July or as soon as it is done blooming. Peonies are divided in September, and chrysanthemums and phlox in the spring. The rumor that once perennials are planted they will give you bountiful flowers year after year is simply not the case. Control must be kept. Some perennial will take over the area, killing out any other growth you are trying to promote. 

The best plan is to create a greater spread over the entire season by incorporating bulbs, annuals, and perennials. Be sure to replace bulbs that fail to flower. Combination of these is also a good idea for areas were the perennials feature a short growing season. Other combinations are great for creating balanced displays. Annual seed should be sown at the top of the bulbs, with bulbs being planted eight inces deep instead of the typical six inches. 

Tulips and other like bulbs can be left in the ground and do not need to be dug up. Gladioli can be planted around the perennials. Dahlias add balance as well, but do not plant them directly over bulbs. Lilies can also be planted among peonies. Gladioli is perfect to set among early bloomers where the foliage is low growing so they can be seen all summer long.  They flower beautifully and the early short flowering perennials like daisy, leopardbane, and astilbe. 

The soil needs to be strong because perennials are strong feeders. Be sure to make sure there are organic matters liberally mixed into the soil. A good mixture included on part bonemeal mixed with five parts of dried cow manure. There should be seven pounds per hundred square feet , and it should be mixed in the soil in early spring. This should be well mixed in again when it is time to plant.