Newly planted perennial gardens shouldn’t need fertilization until the second year. For most perennials, a simple application of 5-10-5 in the spring is sufficient. Apply the fertilizer evenly throughout the planting beds at a rate of 2 to 3 pounds of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. You should take care not to allow the fertilizer to fall onto the lawn areas. Be sure to water the fertilizer into the soil after application.
Most perennials need one inch of water per week. This applies to newly installed gardens and mature gardens, too. Avoid over-watering. Over-watering can lead to fungus, such as mildew, wilt, and rust. Mulching yearly to maintain a depth of 3 inches in your planting beds will help to retain moisture, but be sure to leave the plant base open (do not allow mulch to touch the plant stems).
Most perennials will benefit from periodic dividing. This will improve the appearance and blooming. It will also help control spreading. Early spring and fall are the best times to divide plants. Some plants are best if left alone and should not be divided. They include: Baptisas, Hellebores, and Peonies.
Removing spent blooms (referred to as deadheading) on most perennials will improve appearance and prevent possible seeding. Some perennials will re-bloom: Achillea, Nepeta, and Purple Salvia.
Consult our office for information on specific varieties. Remember to always follow the instructions on the label when applying any fertilizers and chemicals.