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Gardening with Perennials
Garden with perennials for dependable variety year after year.
Choose perennials that are easy to grow, brightly colored, pastel, short, or tall. Bleeding Hearts, Chrysanthemums, and Delphiniums are great perennial choices. Bleeding Hearts are heart-shaped, pink-to-rose flowers needing moist soil and partially shaded location. Chrysanthemums are single, semi-double, and double flowers in all colors but blue needing moist, well-drained soil and full-sun location. Delphiniums are very tall flowers of many colors, though, mostly blue needing moist, well-drained soil and full sun location. Geraniums, Hosta, and Lupine are also great perennial choices. Geraniums are easy-to-grow flowers of many colors needing mostly any soil type and full sun or partial shade location. Hosta are showy flowers with bright foliage from 4” to 3’ needing moist, well-drained soil and partial to deep shade location. Lupine are large spiked 3-4’ tall flowers of many colors needing a cool location. Phlox and Rudbeckia are additional perennials of great choice. Phlox are soft pastel flowers, some with a contrasting center, ranging from low lying to tall flowers needing moist soil and full sun or partial shade location. Rudbeckia are yellow, daisy-like flowers with contrasting centers needing any soil type and full sun location.
Begin perennials indoors to allow slow growing flowers extra needed time for germination. Moisten the germinating mix you will be using with warm water. Fill small containers with the moistened germinating mix. Lightly pack the mix into the containers almost to the top. Label each container with the seed you will be planting. Determine the planting depth of each of the seeds. Insert seeds, as determined, into the soil. Add a light layer of mix to cover the seeds. Water the newly planted seeds using a fine spray, and cover all containers with clear plastic until the seeds germinate. Seeds and seedlings should never be allowed to dry out, yet, too much water can harm and even kill seedlings, and over watering can make soil temperatures too cold. Consistently warm temperatures, about 70-75 degrees, are important for germination to take place. Electric mats can provide bottom heat. Proper lighting is also important for germination to take place. Use white lighting above containers and adjust intensity as needed by raising or lowering lights. Once germination takes place, new seedlings will need natural or fluorescent light to grow.
Replant perennials before their roots grow too big for their containers. Begin this process by watering the seedlings in their containers and watering the ground where they will be planted. Work some compost or manure into the ground then rake the bed smooth. Decide where you will be placing your seedlings, keeping taller growing plants to the back, and determine how far apart each seedling should be. Measure and mark the spot each seedling will go by poking finger-deep holes into the ground. Take one seedling out of a container by holding the stem gently and pushing up a little from the bottom of the container. Set the seedling into the first planting hole. Hold it so that the soil around the seedling is even with the garden soil. Pull soil around the roots of the seedling, and pack gently. Continue with each of the seedlings until all are planted. Water each new plant. Let the water soak in, and water again.
Arrange perennials that bloom in spring, summer, and fall together for color from season to season.
About the Author: Learn more about perennial gardening, pots and planters, backyard ponds and fountains, and more, at www.yardiac.com.