Garden Planning - Knowledgebase Question

Southfield, MI
Question by DAG1619
January 17, 1998
To ensure good growth first season should I plant perennials that are at least two years old? Can I order smaller plants (1.5) inch pot or start plants from seed and expect good results?


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Answer from NGA
January 17, 1998

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Different plants grow in different ways but in my opinion with perennials, you will almost always get results (bloom) faster by starting with plants rather than seed. (I am an impatient gardener though). They need not be 2 years old, the smaller pots you describe (such as those that are sold in "4 packs" or "6 packs" which many nurseries use work just fine. I installed hundred of perennials last spring in those small little 4 packs and between 80-90% bloomed the same season. Burpee offers a wide selection of Sure-Start plants that perform very well. You can check these out in the 1998 catalog. If you don't have one, contact Burpee at 1-800-888-1447 or request one through the website.

Some perennials started from seed will bloom the first season, but I believe it is the minority. Perennials need a bit longer to establish roots before they really put on a show. Most are in their glory the second or even third season. Obviously, the more mature perennials you purchase are more likely to flower well...they are also considerably more costly. It all depends on how long you're willing to wait until bloom!

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