Perennial shrubs and flowers come back each spring to provide renewed growth in the landscape. Choosing flowers, shrubs and bushes involves a commitment to maintaining a plant through every season. Proper care produces lasting flowers and foliage to beautify your landscape. Learning how to care for these plants involves providing the proper growing environment. Standard care also involves learning how to prune based on the individual plant's needs.
Pair each plant with the proper growing environment. Select plants based on sunlight, watering requirements, soil preferences and hardiness in the local landscape. Placing the correct plant in the correct location helps limit the need for future maintenance.
Make sure each plant has enough room to accommodate mature growth size. Transplanting an overgrown shrub, flower or bush stresses the plant and often results in the loss of the cultivar. Make wise choices for placement and always follow growing instructions on plant labels exactly.
Apply water regularly to the plant roots. Most landscape plants require about 1 inch of water each week during the active growing season. Keep track of rainfall and supplement with additional water. Avoid sprinklers and sprayers that don't penetrate deeply into the soil. Trickle hoses or soaker hoses allow targeted water application.
Prune dead flowers regularly. This prevents the plant from producing seeds and expending energy to dead portions of the plant.
Prune dead, diseased or dying limbs, branches and stems as needed. Make cuts with sharp clippers or loppers where the damaged branch meets a main limb. Use 45-degree angle cuts that abut to a nearby branch. Avoid leaving stubs that invite disease or parasites into the plant.
Thin shrubs and bushes each year in the spring by removing old branches. Thinning reduces the density of a shrub to allow light to enter the plant interior to produce new growth. Select evenly spaced branches and make 45-degree cuts where each limb adjoins the main trunk or another branch. Pruning shears work best on branches up to 1/2 inch in diameter. Use pruning loppers for branches up to 2 inches thick.
Mulch the garden area around each flower, shrub or bush. Plants benefit from retained moisture in the soil. Mulch serves as a protective layer to hold water in the garden bed. Mulch also provides insulation to limit temperature fluctuations in the soil.
Monitor the condition of each plant in every season. Look for incidences of crowding with plant maturity. Check sunlight conditions over longer periods of time to ensure that nearby trees and shrubs haven't changed the growing conditions by adding shade or consuming essential nutrients in the soil.