Planning the Perfect Perennial Garden

There are many tips for growing and maintaining an outstanding perennial garden. One of the best involves choosing the best plants for your conditions, creating the best "environment" for your plants, and most importantly, choosing quality plants for your garden.

First things first:

Know your site conditions

Sun or Shade? 

Sun - at least six hours of direct, intense sunlight any time between 10am & 6pm

Light (Bright) Shade - you can see your shadow. 

Semi-shade - two hours of direct sun or dappled all day sun; indirect sun resulting from heavy tree canopy. 

Remember - 

Warm morning sun and afternoon shade = Shade (choose shade plants) 

Morning shade and hot afternoon sun = Sun (choose sun plants)

Pay attention to microclimates 

Taking advantage of the different microclimates that exist on your property will allow you to expand and diversify your landscape plan. 

Read more about microclimates.

Prepare your soil just right

Most of the nutrients needed for the growth and development of plants are absorbed from the soil by the roots. Over the seasons, these soil nutrients become depleted and must be replenished or our garden plant health will decline.

Creating a new garden bed from scratch requires some extra preparation. Taking time to amend the soil at this point will go a long way toward the establishment of a superior perennial garden with beautiful blooms and luxurious foliage.

Follow Andre's recommendations for starting a new garden bed.

What about my established perennial bed?

If your garden soil was prepared correctly at the outset, a spring and fall application of Espoma Plant-tone (sun gardens) and Holly-tone (shady gardens) according to the rate recommended on the bag should normally be all you need.

Every 3-4 years supplement your bed with additional rock phosphate (or triple phosphate for shade gardens) and green sand at the rate recommended on the bag.

Adding new perennials to an existing bed

Get your new plants off to a good start by amending the planting hole with Plant-tone or Holly-tone, rock phosphate (or triple phosphate), and green sand. 

Watch Mark's video tip on amending the planting hole for your new perennials.

Choose the very best quality plants

Starting off with healthy plants will make your garden shine!

Learn how to choose the very best plants! Plants that are full and have a good root system will thrive in the good garden soil you have created.

Always purchase your plants from a reputable garden center. These stores have more invested in their plants and will spend more time caring for them and watering them. 

Watch Mark's video tip on choosing good plants.