Planting Your Perennial Garden

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This article will get you started in planning and planting perennial plants in the landscape and the garden.
by Brett · All Zones · Perennial Plants · 0 Comments · February 05, 2011 · 9,954 views

Planting Perennials

There are different methods for planting perennials in the garden. Some folks say its best to till up the entire garden area, however, we've found that doing so can bring lots of buried weeds seeds to the surface, and also promote invasiveness of certain types of perennials. Of course, you can till the entire area if you like. We prefer not to disturb all the soil in the garden. Instead we do the following:

  • Plot the perimeter of the garden out with marker paint, baking flour or a garden hose.

  • Then spray existing weeds or weed grasses with a solution of a glyphosate-based weed killer, such as Killzall or Roundup. Make sure to spray the weeds thoroughly. Allow chemical to dry on weeds for at least two hours before planting. BGut I recommend waiting a week or so to plant so you can make sure all the weeds and grasses are eliminated, especially stubborn grasses such as Bermuda. Respray if necessary. While waiting the week or so for the weeds to die use this time to develop a plan. Do some research to find perennials you will want to use in your garden. When you find a perennial you like and want to plant in your garden, note its height, width, color, etc..

  • Once all the weeds are dead in the garden area, use a lawn mower or weed eater to cut down and remove dead growth. If you plan to till the soil, use a shovel or roto tiller to turn the dead weeds under. Apply a 1- to 3-inch layer of organic matter or compost and till to a depth of at least 6 inches. Now you are ready to begin planting.

  • Before planting, arrange the perennials you have purchased in the garden according to how you laid them out in your sketch. If you don't have a sketch, and are just "winging it," just set the plants where you want them to go.

  • NOTE: When setting the plants out in the bed make sure to space them properly. If a perennial grows 18 inches wide mark out a circle on the ground with an 18" diameter (Orange marker paint works great for marking.) Set the plant in the center of the circle. After placing all of the plants in your garden step back to take a look.

  • When you are satisfied that everything is in place, remove one plant at a time from its container and plant it. For planting, dig holes three times or more as wide and a few inches deeper than the height of the root ball. Mix in a good composted soil ammendment or organic compost at a 50/50 ratio with the native soil you removed from the hole.

  • Set your plant in the planting hole with the top edge of the root ball or the base of the plant at ground level. If necessary, add soil to the bottom of the hole to achieve proper planting height.

  • Give your newly planted perennials a good soaking when you have finished planting.

  • Mulch the garden with pinestraw or wood mulch. I prefer wood mulch at about 1.5 inches deep or so. Mulch will help to prevent weed growth and also helps to hold moisture in the soil while your perennials are becoming established.

  • Most perennials "root in" rather quickly, however, make sure you check soil moisture every day for a period of two weeks to see if plants need water. Too, plants will often tell you when they need water. If you see wilting grwth this is a good indicator your plants could use a drink. It's best to deep soak less frequently than to just splash a little water on plants every day.

The base of your perennial garden is now complete. The first year, you might want to plant some annual bedding plants here and there in the garden for extra-added season-long color.


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