Gardening with Perennial Plants An Overview

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1 Gardening with Perennial Plants An Overview Men s Garden Club of Asheville Nelson Sobel Spring 2013

2 Definition Perennial: a plant that lives 3+ years. Woody plants: wood stem- trees, shrubs Herbaceous plants: soft stems that bloom in warmer weather, then die back in colder weather and rebloom in warmer weather. Both short and long lived plants. Common usage is that perennial means an herbaceous perennial.

3 Plant Names Scientific or Botanical name Genus, Species, Variety/ Cultivar Common Name (at times Scientific name used) Rudbeckia fulgida Black-eyed Susan Goldstrum

4 Why Grow Perennials Integral part of overall landscape plan Fragrant flowers Cut flowers Attracts birds, butterflies, bees, etc. Enjoy gardening with perennials

5 Integral Part of Landscape Plan Mixed plantings of trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, lawn and ornamental grass, etc. Perennials for Repeat patterns Color Interest Plant textures and shapes Reference: Well-Designed Mixed Garden, Disabato-Aust

6

7 Fragrant Flowers Bee Balm Grandview Scarlet Lily Stargazer Garden Phlox Blue Paradise Common Yarrow (leaves) Table in Perennial Garden, J & M Cox

8 Cut Flowers Examples (many more) Coneflower Black-eyed Susan Beebalm Coreopsis Consider sturdy stems, lasting flowers, bloom time, color. Cut flower garden bed vs plants from display beds. Best to cut plants during morning or evening. Ref: Univ Vt Ext Perennials for Cut Flowers

9 Attract Wildlife Finch on Black-eyed Susan Swallowtail on Coneflower

10 Enjoy Gardening with Perennials Activities Plant Selection hardiness zone, sunlight, size, color, texture, form, bloom time Plant Installation Bed preparation, planting Plant Maintenance Watering, pruning, dead heading, staking, fertilizing, propagating, weeding, control pests and disease Reference: The Well-Tended Perennial Garden, DiSabato- Aust Rodale s Successful Org Gardening- Perennials

11 Enjoy Gardening with Perennials Count on moving plants- it is part of the process. Have patience, leave room for plants to grow. Creep, Sleep, Leap Match gardening time with expectations. Start with a reasonable size bed and go from there.

12 Plant Selection plant hardiness, sunlight, size, color, texture, form, bloom time

13 Plant Hardiness USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map Average Annual Minimum Temperature Asheville area: Zone 7 lower elevations Zone 6 higher elevations

14 Sun/Shade Requirements Sun: greater than 6 hrs sun Shade: less than 3 hrs sun Part sun or part shade: 3-6 hrs sun Morning vs afternoon sun Dappled sun Full Shade: less than 1 hr sun

15 Plant Height Short- less than 2 ft Homestead Verbena, Sweet Woodruff, Coral Bells, Liriope, Creeping Phlox, Mid range height- 2-4 ft Black-eyed Susan, Cone Flowers, Bee Balm, Garden Phlox, Shasta Daisy, Tall- greater than 4 ft Joe-Pye Weed, Willow Leaf Sun Flower, Ox-eye,

16 Flower Color Color Wheel Reference: Well-Designed Mixed Garden, Disabto Aust Perennial Garden, Cox

17 Flower Color Reference Color Wheel Opposite colors are contrasting that causes eye to stop, a focal point. yellow and violet, red and green 2 or 3 adjacent colors is good combination for pleasing interest. pink, red, and maroon; orange, and yellow different leaf greens (consider nearby shrubs) Hardscapes for color

18 Hardscape

19 Texture Texture defined as how a plant looks. Relates to its openness and sense of feel. Best to have a mix of textures to achieve desired visual effect. Coarse- large leaves, large gaps between leaves. Hosta Iris

20 Texture Fine- narrow leaves, few gaps, feathery. Artemisia Coreopsis Medium- between coarse and fine. Most plants Ref: Well-Designed Mixed Garden, T. Disabato-Aust

21 Form Plant form and habit usually interchangeable Relates to shape of plant or flower Adjacent plants of opposite forms can be visually appealing. Can be worked with texture for visual interest. Vertical/ upright Liatris

22 Form Mounding- Hardy Geraniums Horizontal/ prostrate- Homestead Verbena Ref: Well-Designed Mixed Garden, T. Disabato-Aust

23 Flower Bloom Time Bloom times vary by plant, 2-8+ weeks. Some plants will bloom again by removing spent flower. Many sources of flower bloom times. Adjust information to your location. The Perennial Garden, Jeff and Marilyn Cox Bordine's Nursery Care Sheet Keep log for plants in your garden.

24 Plant Installation Soil Requirements, planting

25 Soils Requirements Many perennials prefer soil characteristics ph Good drainage; 8 deep hole, fill 2x, drains less than 4 hrs Moderate fertility. Soil test by NC Dept of Agriculture & Consumer Services Local soil likely high clay; high in nutrients, poor drainage. Typically adding organic amendments will help. Winter poor soil drainage likely to shorten plant life.

26 Planting Potted plants can be planted anytime soil can be worked. Better in cooler weather, spring or fall. Separate roots as needed Hole: depth of root ball, width 2-3 times container diameter. Amend soil as needed. Set plant crown at ground level or a little above. Backfill hole, water, lightly tamp, add soil as needed. Water, mulch

27 Plant Maintenance watering, pruning, staking, fertilizing, propagating, weeding, control pests and disease Reference: The Well Tended Perennial Garden, DiSabato-Aust Rodale s Successful Organic Gardening- Perennials, McClure, Burrell

28 Watering Establish new plants, deep water, often. Check plant culture for water requirements. Not all plants have the same water needs. Best to water in morning. Plants can die from overwatering and poor drainage. Easiest if like watering requirements are planted in same bed area.

29 Pruning Deadheading Cutting, Pinching Can encourage second bloom Reduce self seeding Tidy up plant Cutting back Control growth and shape - Cleanup

30 Staking Install stakes early before plants start to flop Plant among supporting plants- example use daylilies, ornamental grasses to support plants that otherwise would need staking.

31 Fertilizing Many perennials benefit by light fertilization in March. Without soil analysis, common to use a garden fertilizer such as (% Nitrogen, % Phosphorus, % Potassium). Slow release fertilizers with similar composition are also good. General guideline is to apply at a rate of 2#/100 sq ft. Some plants become leggy with over fertilization.

32 Weeding Mulch can help to reduce weeds Mechanical weed near plants Care using herbicides

33 Disease Control Healthy plants less susceptible to disease. Select disease resistant cultivars. Air circulation for plants susceptible to fungal disease. Poor drainage can cause root disease. Use fungicide as needed.

34 Propagating Using seed from plants. Some plants are prolific seeders, ex. Goldenrod. Stem cuttings- another presentation. Dividing plants is the most common method.

35 Dividing Plants Divide when plant looks good for propagation and to control spread. Can also be done to rejuvenate poor looking plant. Dig up plant and divide- common method. Some robust plant can divide while in ground. Use vigorous sections for replanting. Plant at depth of original plant. There are a few exceptions.

36 Dividing Plants Generally, divide in cool weather- spring or fall. Extra care required in warmer weather. Extra care when plant is in bloom. Water plants upon planting. Water for several weeks to establish.

37 References The Well-Tended Perennial Garden, T. DiSabato-Aust The Perennial Garden, Jeff and Marilyn Cox Ortho s Complete Guide to Successful Gardening Well Designed Mixed Garden, T. DiSabato-Aust Native Perennials for the Southeast, Peter Loewer Rodale s Successful Organic Gardening, Susan McClure, C. Coltson Burrell

38 References Web Sites NC State Urban Horticulture Bordine's Nursery Care Sheet Monrovia Plant Catalog Univ Vt Ext Perennials for Cut Flowers Mountain Gardener, Buncombe County s Extension Newsletter, Buncombe County Center, 94 Coxe Avenue, Asheville, NC ( ) Botanical Gardens of Asheville has extensive gardening and nature books.

39 Happy Gardening

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