KEEP YOUR PLANTS HEALTHY UNTIL PLANTED
Remove any plastic wrapping when you arrive home. If not planting immediately, place plant in a shaded area. Water daily until planting, but take rainfall into account to prevent overwatering.
A GOOD SIZED HOLE WITH DRAINAGE IS IMPORTANT
The hole for perennials should be the same depth and twice the width of the pot it is in. Loosen the soil to aid in root penetration when the plant is established.
Most perennials prefer well drained soil, rich in organic content and available plant food. Use the soil that exists in the planting area and amend with compost & topsoil if necessary.
SETTING IN PLACE
The soil line of your new perennial when set in place should be at ground level and at the same depth as it was in the pot. If the perennial is in a fibre pot, you may leave the fibre pot in the hole if you make at least 5 cuts down the sides and fold the flaps down to lay flat in the bottom of the hole. The sides must be away from the root ball to ensure moisture movement and root penetration into the soil.
FINISHING THE HOLE
Once the perennial is in place, refill the hole with your soil mixture to the original ground level. Water in with the fertilizer solution; once the soil settles top it up if required and water again. Mulch the area around the perennial - a 3 to 4 inch layer is recommended to aid in moisture retention, weed control and root temperature regulation.
AFTER PLANTING CARE
SECURING THE PERENNIAL
Most perennials can support themselves once established. Tall varieties, such as hardy asters and peonies, require a wire cage to provide support from wind and during heavy bloom periods.
WATERING AND FEEDING
Freshly planted perennials need water all summer long since their roots are not fully established. For the first 3 initial weeks after planting and during any dry summer spells, watering will be required at least twice a week. Always take into consideration natural rainfall amounts when watering. If planted in the spring, a second feeding of water/fertilizer solution is suggested 4 weeks after planting but no later than July 15th. If planted after June 20th, the second feeding is not required. If planting after September 15th, do not fertilize now; wait until the spring.
Most perennials die back each winter down to the dormant root systems. Deadheading should occur throughout the growing season and when all growing ceases in the fall, the top foliage can be removed (with pruners) down to about 2 inches off the ground. The top foliage can be left if spring clean-up is your preference. It aids as a mulch for root systems. If you do clean up in the fall, boughs or mulch covering aids in successful over-wintering.
DIVIDING ESTABLISHED PERENNIALS
Perennials which flower in spring are best divided in fall and late bloomers are best tended in spring. Most others can be divided in spring or fall, whichever is most convenient. Division in spring should occur when growth is between 2-4 inches in height. If the perennial is old and the center has dieback, such as established Iris clumps, remove the entire plant being careful to limit root tearing and divide by using a sharp knife or carefully pulling away new growth. Gently pry away new clumps and ensure each has 2-5 sprigs of new growth and a healthy root mass. If the established perennial is healthy with no center dieback, such as Echinacea or Daylilies, division can be made by slicing clumps directly out of the ground on the sides of the perennial. Watering the area first helps division and limits root stress. Replant immediately and water with a fertilizer solution unless division is in the fall, in which case just use water and fertilize in the spring.