Perennials - Knowledgebase Question

MATTOON, Il
Question by adowd1
June 20, 2010
I AM INTERESTED IN PLANTING PERENNIALS THAT IS EASY, FAST GROWING, SMELLS GOOD & IN THE SUN
THANK YOU FOR HELPING ME. ALSO IS IT TOO LATE TO PLANT NOW. I MAINLY WOULD LIKE FLOWERS THAT COME UP IN THE SPRING AND STAY UNTILL FALL.


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Answer from NGA
June 20, 2010

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Now is an excellent time to plant. Before planting, be sure to prepare the beds by mixing in some organic matter. Start by removing all vegetation from the area and spreading 4-5 inches of organic matter over the bed. You can use compost, aged manure, shredded leaves or whatever organic matter is readily available in your local area. Dig or till this organic matter into the soil - 8-10 inches deep. Plant your perennials and mulch over the bare soil between the plants with additional organic matter. A 2-3 inch layer will help suppress weeds and slow water evaporation. Once the soil is prepped, you can plant. Here are a few suggestions for long blooming perennials:


Centranthus (Red Valerian) Bloom Span: 3-4 Months; Centranthus prefers dry, lean soil, but it blooms longer in cooler climates. In intense heat it will bloom in spring and again as it feels up to it, throughout the summer. Centranthus rarely grows true from seed and is best propagated by cuttings. To be certain of what color you are getting, buy the plant while it is in flower.

Coreopsis (Tickseed) Bloom Span: 3+ Months; Coreopsis are undemanding plants, but short lived. Either allow them to self-seed or divide the plants every 2-3 years and replant the newer, outer sections. Flower buds form all along the stems, making deadheading a time consuming challenge. Once the initial buds have completed blooming, sheer the plants back by 1/3 to encourage new flower buds.

Echinacea purpurea (Coneflower) Bloom Span: 2-3 Months; Having a long bloom period is just on of Echinacea's many attributes. Coneflowers are extremely drought tolerant, attract birds and butterflies and the intense color adds punch to any garden. The tall stalks are self-supporting, unless they've received so much water they become floppy. They require good drainage and full sun. Deadheading will prolong the bloom period. Although Echinacea is slow to spread, division is the best way to get the cultivar you want. The seed heads can be left on through the winter and will provide a treat for neighborhood birds.

Gaillardia (Blanket Flower) Bloom Span: 3-4 Months; Gaillardia's yellow petals around a burgundy center are impossible to ignore in a garden. All they ask is full sun and they will keep on blooming all summer. Too mush shade and the stems begin to flop. In most cases, deadheading is not necessary for continual bloom, but it can make the plants look tidier.

Best wishes with your new garden!

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