Perennials make excellent additions to the home and garden and are loved by green thumbs worldwide for many reasons.
Not only are they easier to maintain than annuals and biennials, but they are also an economically sound choice, multiplying and regrowing year after year.
And if that didn’t convince you, one of the definite perks of perennial gardens is that they can be precisely planned and planted to ensure maximum bloom time throughout spring and fall.
The Best Time to Plant Perennials
Perennials thrive best when they are planted in fall and spring. Planting perennials in fall allows them to grow healthy and robust root systems before going dormant for the cold winter months. Conversely, planting perennials in spring means lots of daylight hours, warm soil, and moisture from rain.
Benefits of Planting Perennials in the Fall
When fall hits, plants are treated to a reprieve of cooler weather after the heat of summer.
These temperatures are ideal for many perennial flowers, shrubs, and bulbs, as the soil’s warm enough for root growth.
Additionally, pests start to diminish, and there is usually regular rainfall to keep up the moisture levels in the ground.
If you’re looking to have a spring garden full of flowers and don’t mind exerting a bit of patience, choose plants for this purpose. Many perennial plants and bulbs blossom in the spring and summer and are well worth the wait.
Some perennial bulbs need the cold winter months to set buds.
Generally speaking, fall-planted perennials will continue to grow strong roots until frosty winter kicks in, in preparation to show off their gorgeous flowers when spring arrives.
Planting in fall also allows you to pre-plan your spring flower crops in terms of color, height, and blooming times.
Benefits of Planting Perennials in the Spring
Many agree that spring is the best time to plant perennials in general. It is not too hot, but the sun’s shining, and the ground starts to warm up.
Additionally, there is usually good rain during this time.
Spring is also the best time to divide and replant your existing perennials to give them their best chance of becoming robust for the following seasons.
In the heat of summer, plants can become distressed by too much warmth and hot light. Moving or transplanting them adds to this stress and diminishes their overall health.
In winter, most perennials are dormant, and therefore do not have the energy needed to resettle and reroute in new spots in the ground.
Different types of plants and flowers can be planted in spring to ensure a display of blooms through to the end of summer.
How to Start Growing Perennials
Perennials can be purchased for planting in one of three forms, namely, in seed form, in containers, or as bare-root plants.
If you are planting from seed, you will be most successful if you grow your baby plants indoors first.
Seeds can also be sowed straight into your beds, but they are slow-growing, and you will likely only see growth late in the season.
Planting from containers is the easiest way to grow perennials. Container-grown perennials are usually purchased at nurseries or garden centers and have been raised in ideal conditions.
They can be placed straight into your garden beds either in fall or spring and then fed and watered.
Bare-root plants are tricky to grow but not impossible. Plant roots, which need to be pre-soaked, must be placed in composted ground and need to be monitored until such a time as new growth is visible.
How to Plant and Care for Perennials
When planning to plant perennials, start by preparing the soil with compost or beneficial organic matter. Perennials do best in well-draining, fertile soil.
Ensure that you water your perennials thoroughly before planting them.
If you are transplanting from containers, dig holes in your garden beds as deep and twice as wide as the perennial’s existing pots.
Gently remove them from their containers, shaking loose their roots and any clumping soil. Place them in your freshly-dug holes and fill around them with soil, firmly, but without compacting it.
Don’t bury the plant’s crown. This is the part of the perennial where the roots and stem meet.
Once planted, water your perennials thoroughly. You can also add a layer of mulch to keep them warm and retain moisture in the soil.
During their growing seasons, perennials should be watered frequently and deeply. Feeding them with fertilizer is advisable, as this can encourage thriving growth.
Flowering perennials should be deadheaded regularly, to encourage further blooming.
Frequently Asked Questions about The Best Time to Plant Perennials
How do I know if I need to divide my perennials?
Perennials indicate that they need to be separated when they start to show signs of smaller flowers and sparse foliage. Separating them will rejuvenate them, restoring their overall health and allowing room for regrowth.
How often should perennials be divided?
This depends on the perennial you are dealing with. Most require division after three to five years. However, some more rigorous species, like asters, may need separating within their second year.
What’s the recommended watering frequency for my perennials?
Generally, your perennials need an inch (2.5 centimeters) of watering weekly. If they are not receiving enough rain, you can supplement their water intake by employing hand-watering or an irrigation system.
Perennials are easy-going, much-loved plants to have in the garden, and their rewards are numerous.
Not only will many of them shower you with a gracious display of blooms, but they will also return year after year with proper care.
Whether you’re a seasoned or newbie landscaper, perennials are the way to go.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.