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Perennials: Basic 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.

Sun

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.

Planting

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.

Soil

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).

Water

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.

Irrigation System

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

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.

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