Gulley Greenhouse is a premium perennial grower for the rocky mountain regions. We specialize in hard to find perennial plants as well as growing the widest selection of cold season plants. If you are looking for an specific perennial plant, please let us know, we custom grow!
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Perennials Basics & Care
There are many considerations when purchasing perennials: Sun requirements, Soil, Planting, Water requirements, Mulching, Fertilizing, Weeding, Pests, Diseases, Seasonal Bloom Time, Design, and Dividing and Transplanting are some of the major considerations.
At Gulley Greenhouse we are experts in growing perennials for Northern Colorado and Rocky Mountain Regions, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask us for help.
It is very important to match plants with their particular sun requirements. A perennial may grow well and flourish in certain areas of your yard, but if it does not get enough or gets too much sun it may burn, become floppy, or not bloom.
When you bring your plants home and don’t plan to put them into the ground for a couple of days, place them under a partially shaded area and water them well a few times a day. Plant as soon as possible because plants can dry out quickly in pots and cause damage to the roots.
When your planting site has been prepared begin planting on a cool day or evening so as not to shock the plant with the hot sun. Use Root Stimulator to help plants become more quickly established.
If a plant’s roots are tightly massed in its pot, slowly pull them apart and spread them out in the soil. Another way to deal with roots is to cut them into quarters with a sharp serrated knife (Dividing).
Don’t plant perennials too deep or their crowns will rot and harm or kill the plant.
Perennials that remain in pots or containers will probably not return the next year.
Give your soil the attention it needs before buying perennials.
Test out your pH levels, till in organic matter, and watch for material that may inhibit plant growth.
Create workable soil so water, air, and nutrients can filter down easily and roots have room to stretch.
Unless specific plants grow in sandy or rocky soil, try to remove this material from your ground. To rework soil dig up and remove unwanted material 18-24 inches deep and then add compost, topsoil, Soil Pep, and organic material. To break apart clay soils add a mixture of organic material with clay busters we recommend (Soil Pep).
After planting, water each plant thoroughly. 6pm to 9am is the best time period, but if you don’t have a timed sprinkler system water during a cool day. Water in the evening or early morning so moisture will not evaporate out of the ground, but don’t let moisture remain on the leaves or powdery mildew could develop.
Always water deeply, slowly, and for long periods of time, do not sprinkle your plants. It may look like moisture is getting into the ground, but many times its just running off in rivulets. When using a hose keep it on low so your plants aren’t harmed. Water at least 15 to 20 minutes if not for a half hour. This will save plants from the stress of dehydration.
Drip – ideal for perennial beds. Hoses don’t need to be moved around, they sit right where they’re needed, don’t waste water, and when mulched over the hose disappears into the landscape for a nice aesthetic look.
Soaker Hose – is a hose with pin-point holes all over it. It soaks an area 2-3 feet wide along the hose’s length. It can be left in the bed all summer covered with mulch, then removed and stored for the winter.
Mulch in fall. Leave a mulch-free ring 1 inch away from the stem of plants or crown.
Mulching conserves water, keeps soil evenly moist, and the soil stays moist longer, also requires less frequent watering. It keeps down weeds, keeps soil and nutrients from washing away during hard rains, and keeps soil temperatures more even (which protects plant roots). It also keeps dirt off of plant foliage so they stay clean and attractive. 2 to 3 inches of mulch is enough. Snow is a great natural insulator, don’t clear it away.
Bark Pieces, Shredded Bark, Cotton Boll Compost and Other Soils (which can be worked back into the soil in spring).
Don’t use Sawdust, it’s unattractive, splintery, hard to work through, and steals nitrogen from plants as it breaks down (causing poor plant growth). Peat Moss forms a hard, dry crust on the soil, making it hard for water and nutrients to get through. It’s also acidic which lowers the soil pH as it leaches.
Fertilizers provide nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) for your plants. This is the NPK ratio that you will see on bags or packages of fertilizers (ex: 2(N)-2(P)-1(K)). Make sure you know your plant’s needs before dumping just anything on them. Beware not to over-fertilize, which will harm your plants.
Plants also need other nutrients (calcium, magnesium and sulfur) along with trace elements (boron, chlorine, copper, iron, zinc, manganese, etc.). These can be found in many mixed fertilizers or by themselves.
A soil test is beneficial before planting to see if the ground is missing any essential elements so you can correct the problem early.
Ex: Fish Emulsion and Seaweed Extract – supplies essential plant nutrients for green foliage, vigorous root systems, and solid plant structure. For indoor and outdoor plants.
Cotton Boll Compost – course compost mix, acidic, use when soil is alkaline.
Cow/Animal Manure – use as a top dressing for established plants, raw manure is too hot for newly planted plants. Use bagged manure to ensure it’s been aged properly.
Peat Moss – combine with other soil amendments; use no more than ½ in a mix. It acidifies the Ph in soil and adds humic acid.
Weeding your perennial beds can be challenging, many times you have to select weather to keep a plant or not depending on how much weeds you have grown around them. We have a few tips and solutions that can help you get the job done faster:
Remove weeds before planting with hoeing and weed controlling products.
Mulch helps to keep weeds down as well.
Make sure to remove the whole weed the 1st time. Don’t let weeds go to seed.
A year-round weeding program saves time and labor in the long run.
When using an herbicide, cover the desired plants.
TYPES OF WEEDS – Grass weeds are some of the worst.
Annual weeds – live one season but produce 1,000s of seeds.
Biennial – form a rosette of leaves the 1st season, next they flower, set seed, and die.
Perennial – live for years, set seed, have deep persistent root systems, and often have creeping stems.
At Gulley Greenhouse we recommend the use of corn gluten for an organic way to get rid of your weeds.
Careful site selection, soil preparation, adequate and proper irrigation and mulching are some ways to help plants resist pests.
Some insect examples are:
Aphids – many colors, pear shaped, winged, wingless. Leaves, stems and buds are distorted and sticky, also all females born pregnant.
Beetle, Asiatic – long, brown, velvety. Leaves have irregular holes in edges.
Beetle, Japanese – long metallic blue or green with coppery wing covers. Leaves and flowers have holes and may be skeletonized.
Borers – moths or beetles. Stems exude sawdust-like material and break, leaves wilt. Iris borers cause irregular tunnels in leaves as well as damaged or rotted rhizomes.
Tree Bug – usually shield-shaped, brown, black, green or brilliantly colored and patterned. Buds and leaves become deformed or dwarfed.
Cutworms – gray or brownish moths. Seedlings or young plants are cut off at soil level.
Leafminers – long, wasp-like with yellow-striped black bodies and clear wings. Leaves have tan or brown blotches or serpentine tunnels.
Scales – long, with grayish, brownish orange, reddish brown, or cottony white shells. Males have wings and females do not.
Slugs & Snails – long, gray, tan, green, black, yellow or spotted, eyes at the tips of small tentacles. Snails have a single spiral shell. Slugs are shell-less. Leaves – large, ragged holes. Product: Slug/Snail specific.
Spider Mites – long, reddish brown or pale spider-like mites with 8 legs, wingless. Leaves become stippled, reddish to yellow, and have fine webbing.
Thrips – long, with yellow, brown, or blackish bodies and 2 pairs of fringed wings. Flower buds die, petals become distorted and growth is stunted.
Whiteflies – long, white, moth-like insects. Leaves turn yellow, and plant is weakened.
To control most pests in the garden you can use: Eight, Nolo Bait, Spinosad, Diatomaceous Earth, Neem Oil.
Perennials are more likely to be disease-free then annuals or vegetables because they contain a mixture of plants. A specific disease will usually attack a specific plant. Also, diseases will appear if practices such as adding compost, organic matter, mulching, and cleaning up plant debris in fall have not been done.
Types of diseases are Bacterial, Fungal and Viral.
Some examples are:
Bacterial Blight – small, dark, water soaked spots on foliage that enlarge, then brown and dry. Dried areas may drop out, leaving holes. Spots may be ringed with yellow or light-green.
Bacterial Leaf Spot – small brown or purple spots on leaf surface. Entire leaves may yellow, wither and drop.
Downy Mildew – pale-green or yellow areas on tops of leaves, bottom of leaves have light-gray, purplish, or white fungi. Leaves wilt, turn brown, and die.
Powdery Mildew – on tops of leaves as white or gray patches. Leaves become distorted and may drop.
Rust – underside of leaves have pinhead-size powdery orange or yellow spots. Upper side has pale-yellow or white patches. Deforms leaves and stems and causes early leaf drop.
Viruses – leaves and flowers are greenish yellow, distorted, leaves mottled or streaked, new growth is spindly and plants are stunted.
Wilt – infected leaves and stems wilt. Leaf margins may yellow and curl upward, followed by leaf drop.
Chlorosis – Iron deficiency, and lack of Chlorophyll on the roots and trunk of the damaged plant, yellow leaves, brown crispy in the summer. Use Ironite or for longer treatment use Ross Root Feeder and iron tablets.
To control most of the Diseases on plants you can use: Fung-Away, Fung-onil, Liquid Fungicide, Liquid Systemic Fungicide, Halt, Liquid Sulfur, Dusting Sulfur.
Drought Tolerant Plants or Xeriscaping describes landscaping or gardening with low to almost non water, this is an important practice very easy to implement in your own garden setting.
At Gulley Greenhouse we are expert growers in drought tolerant or xeriscape plants, our region is so dry that requires speciality plants that will survive our environment and we carry a wide selection of plant that enjoys our weather.
Gulley Greenhouse is a grower and supplier of Plant Select, a registered brand based in the rocky mountains that specializes in drought tolerant plants. Learn more about Plant Select Here
Download a list of drought and hardy plants for the rocky mountain states and cold regions by clicking the image.