Start planning your spring perennial garden in the fall

Perennials have the advantage of annual plants in that they will survive winter weather and add ease to the flowerbeds and garden areas. I tend to mix perennials and annuals in my gardens. Perennials fill out a garden and if chosen properly add color or texture all season, while annuals need to be replaced every year. But annuals fill in garden holes and add those bright spots of color and change to gardens.

As most gardens are in full bloom and will be ending their gardening season soon it’s time to think about moving and dividing your perennial plants.

This year I have older perennials to divide and new plants to add. I will be setting up two gardens for perennial storage (a home until the new beds are ready) and re-creating the front garden area. All told I have over 400 plants to relocate.

In my Zone 5 the time to work with most perennial plants is now. Here are a few helpful perennial tips

  • Prepare the new plant beds before moving or dividing the plants. That way you have a place to put the plants as soon as they have been dug up. This helps to prevent plant shock and the plants roots will not dry out. I also make sure the soil is full of nutrients by mixing in new compost.
  • Don’t divide fall blooming perennials in the fall, do it in the summer. Your local greenhouse or nursery will be able to help provide information for dividing your perennials in the right season.
  • If you trim off some of the broken roots after dividing the perennial, it can often help speed the plant’s re-growth. It will definitely improve the plants health.
  • Divide your plants 4 to 6 weeks before the ground freezes. Otherwise they might not survive the first frost. If you et a frost before you thought you would, cover the plants or place straw over top of them to protect the new roots.
  • Make sure to keep the roots wet while you are dividing the perennial. Never let the plant dry out! This will slow the plants growth or even kill the plant.
  • Butterfly weed, columbines, Japanese anemones and oriental poppies shouldn’t be divided.

By moving you plants in the fall your gardens will be pretty and ready to bloom in the spring. While other are digging in the soil you can be enjoying your yard.

Tags: perennial flower tips, moving perennial plants

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