A perennial is defined as a plant that lives for three or more years.
For many gardeners one of the biggest pleasures of perennials is growing and caring for them. Another pleasure is sharing them thru division, which should never be done until the end of the second year. The reward is a garden that will come up year after year to offer a mass of color from April to November.
Prepare your perennial garden in the spring by removing dead leaves, cleaning the garden and soil of last year’s vegetation. As a rule you can cut back the perennials to the new growth.
Perennials do not like heavy compacted soils. Improve your soil by adding 5–10 cm of organic matter such as decayed manure, compost or peat moss. They also require air circulation which helps avoid plant diseases and for the most part abundant sunshine. Perennials are adaptable but the soil should be free of weeds, be well drained and contain adequate organic matter.
The PH of your soil can be the difference between success and failure of your Perennial garden. The soil should be around 6.5 (slightly acidic) if measured on a scale between 0-14. To raise your PH of an acidic soil add dolomite lime. To lower the PH of an alkaline soil add peat moss.
The challenge for most gardeners is that they have only a few hours a week for their plants and you want to obtain maximum results with minimum work. Pick perennials that do not spread quickly so you do not have to dig up and do root divisions annually.
Many perennials reach their peak only when they are three years old, so be patient as the long range objective is to have a pleasant array of color with blooms all of the growing season. Talk to the staff at Keene On Gardens for advice and tips on planting and maintaining your perennial garden.