Do you count on perennials to serve as the backbone of your flower garden? Many gardeners do because they like the idea the plants coming back year after year with little maintenance required from them. If you plan on adding perennials to your garden this year, you may be surprised when the plants you order from a catalog or online arrive with bare roots.
Just because you count on the perennial plants coming back year after year to give your garden continuity doesn't mean that you have to leave them where you originally planted them. It doesn't mean that that can't be changed, either. One of the nice things about growing perennials in the garden is that most of the perennial plants can easily be dug up and moved to another location. That way, the gardener can concentrate on designing the perfect garden, even if tastes change.
With the availability of so many kinds of perennials, the gardener can easily change the look and design of the garden according to bloom color, height and width, and even design according to the color and shape of the leaves.
When perennials are divided and shared among friends, the roots are usually covered with a big enough clump of dirt and foliage to let them survive the short trip to their new home in your garden and be used as a planting guide as to the depth and width of the hole.
It's not as easy to figure out how to plant the bare root perennials.
As soon as the bare root perennials arrive, inspect the both the plant and the root to make sure that there is no rot or other damage.
If the bare root plant arrives at an inconvenient time and you can't plant it right away, keep it cool. Put it in the refrigerator until you have the time to plant it in your garden or container.
Make sure that the plant doesn't dry out. The bare root perennial is exposed to the drying conditions of the air around it, and if the roots dry out the plant may not recover.
When it's time to plant, dig the hole deep enough and wide enough so that there is enough room for the roots to spread out and grow.
Add organic matter to the soil around the plant and work it in well. Make a mound of the amended soil in the hole. The mound should almost reach the top of the hole.
Set the bare root perennial on the mound, but let the roots drape down into the soil. The crown of the plant, when set atop the mound should be just below the soil level of the garden.
Use the rest of the remaining amended soil to fill the hole.
As you thoroughly water the newly planted area, tamp down the soil so that any air pockets are filled in.
Fill in the hole with the remaining amended soil.
Whether you change the plants in your perennial garden by dividing and sharing existing plants with friends and neighbors or order an attractive specimen from a catalog, the ease of maintaining a perennial garden remains. Just take care of the roots.