Perennial flowers add texture, color and beauty to any garden, especially when the plants receive the attention they need to survive and grow again in the spring. With so many varieties of perennials to choose from, gardeners must find out what the needs of the plants are before selecting the final choices. Then it's time to plant, maintain and enjoy the beautiful results.
To thrive, some perennials require shade while others require full sun. Other perennials need a mix of sun and shade. In mid- to late-summer, the sun's position is higher, providing more light than in other seasons. Perennials should be planted in areas that receive a mix of sun and shade year-round.
Once the danger of frost passes, perennial seeds are ready to be planted in the ground in well-drained soil. A wide variety of perennials are also available for transplanting from containers. The directions on the seed packages or containers offer good advice on whether the plants require sun or shade. Adding a layer of mulch to transplanted plants helps preserve moisture and eliminate weeds. This is also the time when green shoots from bulbs planted in the fall should start appearing. In places where spring rains are sparse, a good watering works wonders at helping this new growth thrive.
Once spring bulb flowers bloom, their leaves die back, allowing the bulb to go dormant so the plant can prepare to bloom again the following spring. In the late summer, perennial plants require dividing, especially plants that have been growing a few years, such as bulbs. Planting divided plants immediately means they have time to go dormant in the winter and can start growing again in the spring.
Perennial flower bulbs that bloom in the spring require planting in the fall before the first hard frost occurs. The directions on the bulb packages offer information on how deeply to bury bulbs. Marking the areas where bulbs were planted helps gardeners avoid planting over them in the spring before their shoots start to appear.
After plants die back in the late fall, their roots need to be protected from harsh winter conditions. Adding a thick layer of mulch on top usually does the trick. Once the mulch is removed in the early spring, the plants start to grow again.