You are here

Perennial planting, care and maintenance

Set perennial plants in their permanent places so their roots are completely covered with prepared soil, but avoid burying the stem or crown. Place container-grown plants the same depth that they were grown; place dormant plants at the depth at which they grew the previous season. To encourage side root growth, make a planting hole twice as wide as deep. With bare-root perennials, spread the roots outward as well as downward. For container-grown plants, loosen encircled roots and shake some of the potting soil into the planting hole. Remember to crumble away the top edges of a peat pot to prevent water loss through wicking. Do not let roots dry out, especially during transplanting.

Water the plants thoroughly to force out any air pockets and to settle the soil. Mark and label the plantings. Mulch the bed surface with pine straw or bark to keep soil from drying, crusting, and overheating in the summer, and to prevent many weed seeds from germinating.

Care and Maintenance

If you do not mulch your plants, use shallow cultivation in the spring and early summer to break and aerate compacted soils. This also aids in water penetration and makes it easier to incorporate fertilizer. Summer cultivation can damage shallow roots and is more difficult because the plants will be larger. Early in the season, stake tall plants with wire stands or bamboo canes. Use care to avoid root damage.

Apply fertilizers sparingly to plants early in their growing season, after new growth begins to show. If plants are growing well, no additional fertilizer may be needed; otherwise, a second light feeding will be helpful several weeks into the season.

In the fall, cut the old plant stalks to the ground after the leaves have fallen and mulch to protect crowns and roots from the harsh extremes of our mild weather followed by sudden cold spells. Remove any winter annual weeds that may have germinated before applying mulch. Fall is also a good time to divide many plants that may be encroaching on one another.

Printer Friendly and PDF

Publications

News

Saucer magnolias bloom before the leaves emerge, making their huge flowers the main attraction. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)
Filed Under: Flower Gardens February 19, 2018

I came to a conclusion after a series of events reminded me that spring is really close.

Small red berries and green leaves line a distylium branch.
Filed Under: Flower Gardens February 12, 2018

Distylium Vintage Jade is an exciting new plant that brings pizazz to the traditional role of foundation planting.

A arrangement of pink, orange and yellow zinnias sit on a stool against a black background.
Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens February 1, 2018

Individuals interested in floral design can attend a live demonstration to learn about new arrangement techniques using Mississippi products March 8.
Jim DelPrince, horticulture specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, will show attendees how to use materials from their landscapes to create arrangements in Mississippi-made pottery.

White flower pots containing green lemongrass are lined up on the ground.
Filed Under: Flower Gardens January 29, 2018

Last week, I focused on the 2018 Mississippi Medallion Winner fancy leaf kale. This week, let’s look at a second 2018 winner: lemongrass.

Grayish-purple kale plants are displayed, each with light purple centers.
Filed Under: Flower Gardens January 22, 2018

Garden catalogs start piling up by the front door at this time of year, and our two recent cold spells gave me time to look at them. I’ve had the best time flipping through these catalogs and dreaming about all the new plants I’m going to grow this year.

Watch

Wisteria
Southern Gardening

Wisteria

Sunday, February 18, 2018 - 7:00am
Indoor Plants
Southern Gardening

Indoor Plants

Sunday, February 11, 2018 - 7:00am
Gary the Godfather
Southern Gardening

Gary the Godfather

Sunday, February 4, 2018 - 7:00am
Winter Wonders
Southern Gardening

Winter Wonders

Sunday, January 28, 2018 - 7:00am
Crape Murder
Southern Gardening

Crape Murder

Sunday, January 21, 2018 - 7:15am

Listen

Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - 2:30am
Monday, February 19, 2018 - 2:30am
Friday, February 16, 2018 - 2:00am
Thursday, February 15, 2018 - 2:00am
Wednesday, February 14, 2018 - 2:00am

Contact Your County Office

Your Extension Experts

Extension/Research Professor
Ornamental Horticulture Host of Southern Gardening