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How to grow your perennial plants

Burpee's vigorous, field-grown perennials will bloom for many years to come.
Each is a single plant with a well-developed root system. These healthy plants are shipped to you ready to plant and grow.

GENERAL PERENNIAL PLANTING INSTRUCTIONS

1. Plant perennials as soon as possible after your shipment arrives. Choose a location where water drains quickly after a rainfall. Prepare your planting bed by loosening and turning under the soil to a depth of 8 in. Level the soil with a rake to remove large clumps of grass and large stones.

2. Amend your soil - add peat moss or compost and work in. Test your soil for specific needs.(Electronic Soil Tester)

3. Dig the hole for each plant a little larger than the root ball. Set each plant with crown even with or slightly below the level of the surrounding soil. Fill in around roots with fine soil and firm lightly, leaving a slight depression or "saucer" around the plant to catch and hold water.

4. Water your perennials. Gently add about a quart of water to the "saucer" around each plant. Water again; let soak in. Fill in loose, fine soil around clump. Water again as needed.

5. Mulch in cold climates. After soil freezes solid in late fall, apply a mulch around perennial clumps. Use salt hay, loose straw or evergreen branches that will not pack down tightly. Remove winter mulch in spring before growth begins.


BASIC SEASONAL CARE FOR PERENNIALS

1. Spring mulching. After perennial clumps begin growth in spring, add mulch to soil around plants. Do not cover crowns. Use grass clippings, shredded leaves, compost, wood chips, etc. Mulch keeps soil moist, roots cool; prevents weed growth and adds a layer of humus which will aid future growth.

2. Stake taller perennials to prevent damage by wind. Tie plants up as they grow.

3. Pruning. When perennials have finished blooming, remove dead flower heads and stalks, to prevent the plants from setting seed and to preserve their strength. Apply a slow-release fertilizer to keep foliage growing. This will assure healthy growth and good bloom the following year.

4. Fall trimming. Some perennial plants die back to the roots in fall; cut stems back to 3-4 in. above crowns. The clump will send up new growth in early spring.

5. Dividing and Multiplying. Most perennials may be divided after 2 or 3 years to provide a continual source of new plants. To keep plants healthy, they should be divided before they become over-crowded. After 3 or 4 years of growth, dig up the root masses in early fall (spring in far north). Cut the crown of each perennial into several sections with a sharp knife, with each piece retaining its own root system. If the center portion of the old plant shows heavy, woody growth, discard it and replant only the younger outer portions of the clump. Mulch perennials heavily to provide winter protection.

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Gardening Tip of the Day

  • Potting healthy plants in dirty containers invites disease pathogens. Scrub used pots inside and outside with a soft brush using a solution of mild dish washing detergent and warm water. Place small plastic pots on the top shelf of the dishwasher for an even more thorough cleaning. Remove the crusty residues from fertilizer salts by wetting them with vinegar and scrubbing with a stiff brush.

    To clean stained and moldy terra-cotta pots simply soak them in a solution of 1 part household bleach to 9 parts water for a few minutes. Air-dry and rinse in clean water.
    To clean pots containing plants, cover the plant with a paper or plastic bag. Spray the bleach solution on outer pot surfaces rather than dipping it. Allow to dry and then rinse. Scrub stubborn spots gently with a vegetable brush while rinsing.