You are here

Site Selection and soil preparation for perennials

Consider the site before selecting your plants. Although many perennials, such as ferns, tolerate heavy shade, most perennial plants require abundant sunshine. Air circulation is important for avoiding diseases; stagnant, warm, and humid air creates ideal conditions for diseases. Perennial plants also require properly prepared soil, and a few have specific drainage and fertility requirements.

Soil preparation for perennials is similar to soil preparation for annuals. However, you should devote some special attention to perennial bed preparation, because plants may occupy the site for several years with little opportunity to correct any problems. When possible, add sand and organic matter such as bark, peat, or compost to soils well ahead of planting time.

A layer of organic matter 3 or 4 inches deep, worked into the soil a shovel's depth, is usually adequate. Since different types of organic matter work and decompose at different rates in the soil, it is best to use a little of two or three kinds of organic matter than a lot of just one.

Soil testing provides specific recommendations for fertilizer and lime needs. Since lime lasts for several years depending on the type used, never add lime without a soil test. Many fertilizers, such as phosphorus, are best applied and mixed into soils before planting. Perennials need a balance of several nutrients, including nitrogen, phosphorous, and potash; most garden supply stores carry a wide variety of fertilizer mixes. Keep in mind that phosphorus, including that found in bone meal, lasts for several years and need not be applied regularly.

Printer Friendly and PDF

Publications

News

Pink coneflowers which are native to Mississippi.
Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Landscape Architecture, Trees May 18, 2018

Native plants are excellent choices for any landscape. They are adapted to the climate, which makes them low-maintenance. Planting native varieties of flowers, plants and shrubs provides food and shelter for native wildlife. (Photo by Tim Allison)

A short papyrus plant grows in a metal cauldron.
Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Landscape and Garden Design May 14, 2018

With all of the bright, colorful summer annuals we’re planting this month, I find myself looking for more out-of-the-ordinary plants for my landscape. One that always creates a bit of a stir and generates questions is an old plant called papyrus.

Papyrus, similar to the plant grown and used by the ancient Egyptians to make paper, is easy to grow and has few pests. If you’re intrigued by this plant, you will be happy to learn there are three selections suitable for use in our Mississippi landscapes.

Magnolia leaves star in a small floral arrangement with white flowers.
Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens May 10, 2018

Magnolias are synonymous with Mississippi, and the leaves and flowers are popular materials for all kinds of floral arrangements – wreaths, swags, table runners and other seasonal arrangements. (Photo by Zac Ashmore)

Filed Under: Agriculture, Agricultural Economics, Flower Gardens, Herb Gardens, Vegetable Gardens May 7, 2018

GULFPORT, Miss. -- Mississippi producers and gardeners who want to learn more efficient planting methods are invited to a May 18 field day.

The Alliance of Sustainable Farms will host “A Garden Tour and Square Foot Gardening/Intensive Planting Demonstration” at the 34th Street Wholistic Gardens and Education Center. The event will focus on the square-foot gardening method, which is designed to save time, work, space and water.

White flowers with deep purple centers  lie above green leaves.
Filed Under: Flower Gardens May 7, 2018

If you’re still looking for a favorite plant for our hot summer landscapes, consider Superbells. I love their funnel-shaped flowers and great growth potential. Their variety of colors can even rival petunias.

Superbells are tough plants with good summer heat tolerance. One of their attributes that I like best is, after a rainstorm, these plants recover and perk up faster than many other summer-flowering annuals, even my vaunted petunias.

These plants look great in containers, hanging baskets and mass plantings in landscape beds.

Watch

Hanging Baskets
Southern Gardening

Hanging Baskets

Sunday, May 20, 2018 - 7:00am
Combination Containers
Southern Gardening

Combination Containers

Sunday, May 13, 2018 - 10:30am
Hanging Ferns
Southern Gardening

Hanging Ferns

Sunday, May 6, 2018 - 7:00am
Zonal Geraniums
Southern Gardening

Zonal Geraniums

Sunday, April 29, 2018 - 2:00am
Salvia
Southern Gardening

Salvia

Sunday, April 22, 2018 - 2:00am

Listen

Friday, May 18, 2018 - 2:00am
Thursday, May 17, 2018 - 2:00am
Wednesday, May 16, 2018 - 2:00am
Tuesday, May 15, 2018 - 2:00am
Monday, May 14, 2018 - 2:00am

Contact Your County Office

Your Extension Experts

Extension/Research Professor
Ornamental Horticulture Host of Southern Gardening