Let’s talk perennials! June is National Perennial Gardening Month.
Perennials are plants that grow and flower every year and only need to be planted once! They die back to the ground in the fall, but the roots remain alive and will produce new foliage in the spring.
A wide range of sizes, flower colors and blooming times are available to fit any size garden. Most perennials are considered low maintenance and just need some general care to keep them happy and healthy.
It is important to choose plants that are appropriate to your garden site. You need to know whether it is a sun or shade garden.
Remove any grass or weeds from the area you wish to plant.
Good drainage is essential for successful gardens.
Amend the soil with Missouri Botanical Garden Compost, also known as Black Gold, locally available. This will help improve drainage and aeration.
Prepare the bed to a depth of 18 inches to allow for maximum root development. Fertilizer can be mixed into the soil prior to planting.
Perennials should receive 1 to 2 inches of water each week to develop a deep root system. A soaker hose works well for this purpose and saves water usage.
Fertilize in early spring when new growth begins. During the growing season, fertilize once a month.
Mulch should be applied after planting to help hold in moisture and reduce weeds. Apply 2 inches over the soil, leaving 2 to 3 inches of space around the base of the plant. Additional mulch applied in winter is also recommended, especially for new plantings.
The art of deadheading is removing the faded, spent flowers on a plant. It will help lengthen the bloom season of many plants as well as improves the appearance of the plant.
Some perennials with attractive seedpods such as Rudbeckia, Sedum, and ornamental grasses can be left alone. Once the initial display of flowering has ended, cut back the entire plant by two-thirds. This will help promote additional blooms.
I hope this information gives you the desire to plant some perennial color and texture in your yard!
There has been a “Perennial of the Year” named by the Perennial Plant Association since 1991. These varieties are tried-and-true plants. You may check out the list at www.perennialplant.org.
Here is a list of other duties you can attend to this month:
• Watch for the outbreak of bagworms on garden plants, especially junipers. Then spray affected plants with Permethrin.
• Deadhead bulbs and spring perennials as blossoms fade.
• Repeat plantings of corn and beans to extend the harvest season.
• Fertilize Zoysia grass now while actively growing.
• Renovate strawberries after harvest. Mow the rows; thin out excess plants; remove weeds; fertilize and apply mulch for weed control.
• Plant tropical water lilies and lotus when water temps are above 70 degrees.
• Prune spring flowering trees and shrubs before month’s end.
• Spray roses with a fungicide to prevent black spot disease.
• Continue pinching back mums till July 4 to promote bushy growth and good fall color.
• Water turf as needed to prevent drought stress.
• Mow lawns frequently enough to remove no more than one-third the total height per mowing.
• Continue enjoying the antics of the wildlife in your yard and gardens by continuing to supply food and water sources for them.
• Change hummingbird nectar weekly to prevent fungus (one part sugar to four parts water — no food coloring please).