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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.

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Blue-purple flowers on slender, upright stems stand above a mass of green foliage.
Filed Under: Flower Gardens November 12, 2018

This past weekend, I started planting cool-season color in my 25-gallon citrus containers.

I like underplanting in these containers for a couple of reasons. First, I can maintain a color pop through the year. And second, these annuals act as a colorful ground cover carpet that helps keep weeds at bay. I really do hate weeding, and even plants grown in containers need help with weed control.

Fingers steady an upside-down flower pot as a drill bit pierces the bottom to make drainage holes.
Filed Under: Cut Flowers and Houseplants, Flower Gardens, Herb Gardens, Vegetable Gardens, Youth Gardening November 6, 2018

You’ve got a lovely container, and you want to put a plant in it. But if that container doesn’t have drainage holes, you’ll end up with a dead plant. (Photo by Jonathan Parrish/Cindy Callahan)

A cluster of ruffled pink flowers with vivid red centers is pictured on green stems.
Filed Under: Flower Gardens November 5, 2018

I love the annual color we can grow all winter in most of our Mississippi gardens and landscapes, so I'm going to spend a few weeks concentrating on cool-season color. Dianthus is my first choice for fall color.

A wooden and wire basket full of yellow and orange fruit sits indoors with a Christmas tree in the background.
Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens October 29, 2018

The fall and winter seasons mean it’s time for colorful pansy, viola and dianthus. But the changing seasons also mean that home gardeners who grow citrus will soon harvest delicious fruit -- satsuma, kumquat, Meyer lemon, oh my!

Small, vivid purple flowers bloom from dark spikes against a green background.
Filed Under: Flower Gardens October 22, 2018

Those of you who keep up with Southern Gardening know that I’m a real fan of salvias.

One reason I like them is there are so many different types to choose from. I particularly like salvia farinacea, commonly called mealy cup sage or blue sage, for its landscape performance. These are tough plants, perfect for our Mississippi landscapes.

Watch

Fall Salvia
Southern Gardening

Fall Salvia

Sunday, November 11, 2018 - 7:00am
Pansy and Viola
Southern Gardening

Pansy and Viola

Sunday, October 28, 2018 - 2:30am
Late Season Color
Southern Gardening

Late Season Color

Sunday, October 21, 2018 - 2:30am
Crape Myrtle Bark
Southern Gardening

Crape Myrtle Bark

Sunday, October 14, 2018 - 2:15am
Carve, Cook, And Look
Southern Gardening

Carve, Cook, and Look

Sunday, October 7, 2018 - 2:15am

Listen

Monday, November 12, 2018 - 9:45am
Friday, November 9, 2018 - 3:15am
Thursday, November 8, 2018 - 3:15am
Wednesday, November 7, 2018 - 3:15am
Tuesday, November 6, 2018 - 3:15am

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