How to Plant Perennials

Learn how to grow perennials in your garden with this step-by-step planting guide.

Perennial Garden Provides Summer Flowering Display

Perennial Garden Provides Summer Flowering Display

A well designed perennial garden and careful selection of plant materials can result in a full season of color. Perennial gardens may serve as borders along a fence or property line, and are visually pleasing located next to a fence, wall, or shrubs.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Materials Needed

  • perennial plants
  • shovel
  • fork
  • watering can or garden hose
  • controlled-release granular fertilizer
  • organic mulch of compost or well-rotted manure
  • gravel

Step 1: Prepare the Ground

Dig up the soil to aerate it, reduce compaction and remove any weeds. Then dig in some organic matter, such as well-rotted manure or compost. If your soil is particularly heavy, you may also need to add some horticultural grit to prevent water-logging.

Step 2: Place the Plant in the Hole

Plant Perennials in Hole Twice as Wide as Pot

Plant Perennials in Hole Twice as Wide as Pot

Plant perennials in a hole twice as wide as the pot that contains the plant and as deep as the container itself.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Dig a hole twice as wide as the plant pot and a little deeper. Set the plant in the hole, and check that it will be at about the same depth when planted as it was in its original pot.

Step 3: Prepare the Plant

Loosen Plant from Pot and Tease Out Roots

Loosen Plant from Pot and Tease Out Roots

Remove the container before planting. If the soil ball is entangled with masses of roots around the outer edge, carefully make shallow cuts in several places along the outside of the root ball to encourage roots to grow out into the surrounding soil.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Fork the bottom of the hole to loosen any compacted soil. Water the plant well, then slip it out of its pot. Gently tease out any circling roots from the rootball. Place the plant back into the hole.

Step 4: Apply Granular Fertilizer

Firm in Soil Around Planted Perennial

Firm in Soil Around Planted Perennial

Place perennials at the same soil level as they were in the container. Avoid deep planting because plant roots often suffocate when planted too deeply. Once plants have been placed in the hole, backfill around the soil ball and firm in.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Follow the package instructions for adding some controlled-release granular fertilizer to the excavated soil. Fill in around the root ball with it, firming it down with your fingers.

Step 5: Apply Mulch or Manure

Water and Apply Organic Mulch Around Perennials

Water and Apply Organic Mulch Around Perennials

Water newly planted perennials well, watching for soil settling. Fill spaces as needed after initial watering. Mulching is one way to reduce weed growth and conserve water.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Water the plant well, and apply an organic mulch of compost or well-rotted manure. Lay gravel around plants that like their stems kept dry, such as achilleas, stachys, and sedums.

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