Spring is HERE and it’s time to start making your yard beautiful!  If you are a novice, or just need a quick reminder we thought perhaps we could offer some information on the difference between Annuals and Perennials plantings.

Annuals: Plants that flower and die in one season are annuals although some drop seeds that grow new plants in the spring. Annuals typically bloom all season until frost, so you get consistent color and showy blooms. These plants can go in the ground any time, even in midsummer, to refresh your beds.

Perennials: Perennials, come back for many seasons. While the top portion of a perennial dies back in winter, new growth appears the following spring from the same root system. Most perennials have less flashy flowers and bloom for a shorter period, usually two to six weeks. Perennials do best when planted in fall or spring, no later than six weeks before the ground freezes (about mid-November for most of the country).

Mix it up. A variety of plant types not only adds long-lasting beauty and bloom times, but also provides habitat for many different pollinators and other garden visitors.

Give them some help getting established. Water all plants deeply after planting, especially during dry spells. Mulch to preserve moisture and keep down weeds, which compete for water and nutrients. Feed with a slow-release general purpose fertilizer. Follow the label, and do not go overboard. Too much fertilizer can cause weak growth that is susceptible to pests and diseases.

Pick the right spot. Read the plant label before deciding where you are putting your new plants. In general, full sun is considered six to eight hours per day. Part shade means roughly three to six hours of sun. Full shade is about three to four hours a day. Do not try to cheat. While some plants tolerate less-than-ideal conditions, it does not make sense to set your plants up for failure.

Be patient. Most perennials are not going to “wow” you the first season. “Crawl, walk, run” often is the phrase you will hear about perennials. They seem to poke along the first year and then grow a little more convincingly the second, finally taking off in the third growing season.

Some perennials need to be divided every three to five years. If they get too big for the space, have a lackluster bloom, or stop flowering in the center of the clump, dig a chunk off the edge and replant elsewhere in your garden. Try to do it in early spring, but do not panic if you must divide them later in the season. Most perennials are tougher than you think.



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