Read these 94 Annuals,Perennials and Bulbs Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Garden tips and hundreds of other topics.
Create more bang for your buck in flower pots, planters and hanging baskets by remembering to add a "thriller" to the center of the container.
Typically the "thriller" plant has been a large grass or other type of foliage plant. Get more bang out of your "thriller" by choosing a tall plant that flowers such as Angelonia.
Some of the new varieties available from Proven Winners have larger flowers than older varieties.
Angelonia is not your only choice as a "thriller." Try Buddelia (butterfly bush) or other small flowering shrubs. If you have a large container, you could even plant a Hollyhock as a "thriller," or give Delphiniums a try.
What ever your choice is, remember to have fun. Mix colors. Choose hot colors for instant wow or pick cool colors that soothe.
Once your "thriller" plant is chosen, remember to choose a trailing plant and a filler plant for maximum effect.
The best time to plant iris is in August or early September. They shouldn't be moved or transplanted before this, because they are in a semi-dormant state for the six weeks following their blooming period. This semi-dormant time is when iris are preparing themselves to produce flowers for the next year.
Primroses are a wonderful cool weather perennial. These plants like spring sun and summer shade, so do well planted under trees or shrubs. They require a damp, acid soil. If the soil grows too dry, primroses will fall dormant until the next spring. They can be divided in the spring or fall.
Daffodils will last longer if you cut them above the white part of the stem at the base of the plant in the early morning hours. Immediately place them in very cold water in a cool place for an hour. You can add florist's preservative to the water in the vase, as well. Be sure to keep your bouquet away from sunny windows. The cooler a room is, the longer cut flowers last.
If you don't have good soil and think that you can't grow flowers, you may want to take a look at nasturtiums. These flowers actually do best in poor soil with low moisture and no fertilizer. Too much water or fertilizer causes the nasturtium to grow more leaves than flowers.
Autumn is the perfect time to plant perennials. They have the entire fall and winter season to establish themselves, so they are ready to really take off during the spring growing season. Here is a great selection of perennials for you to plant this fall: aster, blanket flower, cape fuschia, catmint, coreopsis, delphinium, gaura, lavender, nemesia, penstemon, scabiosa and salvia. Santa Barbara daisies, yarrow and verbena fill out the list. These hard working plants will fill your garden with color.
Shasta daisies spread very quickly. One way to minimize and control the spreading is by sinking a container(such as an ice cream pail) with the bottom removed into the soil and planting divisions inside. The roots will be surrounded by the pail, keeping them from spreading quickly.
Perennials are the most economical plants in your garden because they come back year after year. They may take up to three years to fully establish themselves, but the rewards are enormous! You can easily divide and take cuttings from perennials, to make more plants. In addition, their hardiness is quite amazing.
Overwintering geraniums is fairly straightforward. If they are in containers, you can simply move them indoors. Pinch back any stems that are extremely long and sprawling and remove any debris from the pots. Water your plants when they begin to dry out and place them in a location where they receive indirect light.
To overwinter geraniums that are planted directly in the garden, dig them up, shake off all excess soil and drop them into a paper grocery bag. Store the plants until early spring in a location that is not overly dry, but is not damp, either. In the spring, pot the plants up and begin watering them. Most of them should begin to grow and thrive.
There are many perennials that thrive in full sun. Some easy care perennials are echinacea, daylilies, tickseed, shasta daisies and artemesia.
To plant your perennial border, you should begin by preparing the garden bed. Since perennial borders aren't replanted every year, be sure to add plenty of compost.
To keep squirrels from digging up your bulbs, try sprinkling mustard powder on the soil. This irritates their nostrils and they will stay away. If mustard powder doesn't work, you can create a cage for your bulbs from wire mesh. Plant the entire cage in the ground and squirrels will be completely foiled.
For people with sensitive skin, Japanese anemones may cause skin irritation. The sap inside the plant stems has caused reactions, so it is wise to wear gloves when working with these anemones. Be sure to wash your hands and arms thoroughly when you are finished working with the plants.
Since onions and garlic have similar traits, some people try to plant them together. However, there are several good reasons not to do this. They are:
1. Onions and garlic have different watering needs.
2. Growing these two plants close together could mean that you aren't giving the garlic enough room for the bulbs to fully develop.
3. Some people say their onions taste a bit like garlic when the two plants are grown together.
You can begin planting your gladioli corms in February or March. It takes about 65 to 100 days for them to bloom. Staggered plantings are advisable so that you have continuous blooming throughout the summer. Staking each stem helps prevent them from toppling over when they begin blooming. In colder climates, lift the corms in the fall and store them in a cool, frost free location until spring.
There are so many wonderful bulbs that need to be planted during the fall. To successfully plant these spring blooming bulbs, you will need to: * Dig a hole that is three times as deep as your flower bulbs are tall. * Add some rich compost or bone meal to the planting hole. * Place the bulbs in the hole so that they are right side up. (The skinniest part of the bulb is usually the top.) * Cover the bulbs with soil and pack it down firmly.
Perennials can be grown from seed the same way annuals can, but some can be difficult to germinate if you don't know the right requirements. For beginners, some of the easiest perennials to grow from seed include columbine, dianthus, coneflower, coral bells, foxgloves, coreopsis, and primrose.
Columbines are such beautiful, graceful flowers. The columbine originated as an English wildflower. To plant columbines, you need a rich, slightly acidic soil, enriched with plenty of humus. In cooler climates, these plants prefer full sun or part shade, but in warmer climates, they do best in shady spots.
If you have an unattractive corner or plot of garden where nothing else seems to grow, consider planting the resiliant daylily.
After all, if they'll grow wild along roadsides, they will surely be happy in your back yard. Try a few and surprise yourself with the speed in which they can fill in a formerly barren area.
The best time to plant peony tubers is in late September and October, as the plants grow dormant. Planting peonies in the spring is not the best idea, but you can do so if they haven't begun to grow yet. These plants do best in a sunny spot, with some shade. Plant your peonies approximately two inches deep in well drained soil. Be sure that the root eyes are facing up. You should topdress your peonies with bone meal each spring to keep them blooming strongly.
If you have ordered your plants through the mail, you should unpack your bare-root plants as soon as they are delivered. You should plant them quickly to keep the roots moist.
When you lift the plants from their containers, inspect each one carefully and trim any dangling or damaged roots. Place the plant in your garden so the soil line it is planted in matches where it was in the container. Be sure to spread out the plant's roots. This will encourage root growth. Fill in the hole with soil and then place a shoebox or a paper cone over the plant for at least one day.
The best bulbs for naturalizing are those that don't mind a little competition from grasses and other plants. They should also be vigorous growers that do well in your area. Typical candidates are narcissus, daffodils, daylilies, anemone, glory-of-the-snow, grape hyacinths, bulbous iris, and snowdrops.
Stonecrop sedum is a variety of sedum that grows to be about 18 inches tall and has large, flat clusters of small pink flowers that bloom in late summer and turn a reddish color in early fall. Sedum autumn joy is one of the most popular cultivars, prized for its deep pink color and sturdy stems. Sedum is a wonderful addition to the butterfly garden, attracting bees and butterflies.
While most people who think of daffodils picture cheery yellow blossoms, you can find these bulbs in other colors. Pink daffodils can be a pretty sight in the spring garden. Paired with grape hyacinth, scarlet tulips and white freesia, they make a spectacular show. Orange or pure white daffodils are also available.
Garlic, a member of the allium family, is very easy to plant. Before planting, break apart the mother bulb into individual cloves. Plant the cloves with the pointed end up, about four inches apart, and cover them with one to two inches of soil in mild winter areas. Cover them three to four inches in areas where the ground freezes in winter.
Bugleweed, also known as ajuga, is a creeping perennial which graces our gardens with spikes of brilliant blue flowers from early to late spring. It prefers the rich damp loam of forests over sunny meadows. There are several cultivars produced for landscape purposes. This is a good shade plant.
When purchasing perennials, make sure the plants aren't root bound. Beware of any plants that look too big for the pot they're in. To be sure a plant isn't root bound, slide the plant out of the pot and examine the roots. If they are all twisted around one another in one mass, the plant is root bound and you shouldn't buy it, as it may not take after transplanting.
Chrysanthemums are beautiful additions to a flower arrangement. To prolong the life of your cut flowers, remove the lower leaves. Leaves that are below the vase's water level will rot and pollute the water. You may also want to split the ends of chrysanthemum stems before putting them in the vase so that they can draw water into the stems more easily. Put your arrangement in a cool place at night to extend the life of your chrysanthemum blossoms.
Plant your snapdragons in early spring after all danger of frost has passed. Place them about six inches apart in a rich, well drained soil in full sun. Water the plants to be sure that you remove any air pockets and be sure that you continue to water them throughout the growing season, keeping the soil moist but not soggy. In zones nine and ten, snapdragon seeds can be sown in the fall for winter flowers.
Bergamot, or bee balm, should be planted in a humus rich soil that does not dry out. This prevents the plant from losing its lower leaves and becoming stunted. Bee balm is quite prone to mildew, so give your plants plenty of room to grow in a sunny location. Be sure there is room for air to circulate around the plants.
Buy chrysanthemums in late summer as soon as they become available. Make sure to choose plants that have buds only or are just starting to form buds, rather than plants that are already in full bloom. This will give you a longer blooming time. Short, compact plants are better than long, leggy ones.
Echinacea, commonly known as coneflower, is a native prairie plant that is easy to grow. Coneflowers seed naturally and require little care. They don't need fertilizing; this can actually stop coneflowers from blooming, and causes weak spindly growth. These are one of the rare plants that can handle heavy clay soil, but coneflowers will also grow happily in normal garden soil, as well.
Many tulips are unreliable perennial bloomers. The most common reason for a lack of blossoms after the first year is that the bulbs are planted too shallowly. Always plant tulips at least four times as deep as their height and be sure to fertilize them well each fall.
To be sure your tulips continue to bloom each year, look for proven naturalizers, such as Darwin hybrids and Kaufmanniana tulips.
Don't use decorative pebbles or stones as a mulch around most young perennials. These materials really absorb and retain heat from the sun. This means that stone mulch can overheat the plants' roots and cause too much stress on them. Stone mulch works well for plants that are drought tolerant, such as yucca and cacti.
Dividing plants like iris, hosta or daylily is easy if you follow a few simple steps. To divide these plants:
1. Make certain you have a new bed ready for your divisions ahead of time.
2. Take a very sharp shovel and drive it down the center of the clump.
3. Dig up one half of the clump, leaving as much soil intact as possible.
4. Plant the division in the new bed.
5. Smooth the soil around the remaining half.
6. Give both halves of the plant a dose of compost tea.
7. Mulch heavily for winter protection.
If you garden in a hot area, you should look for annuals that can hold up to the heat. Some good choices are geraniums and cockscombs. No matter which annuals you choose, you should try to do your planting in the evening when it is cooler. Planting in the heat of the midday sun can wilt your plants.
Since Japanese anemones don't transplant readily, you should be sure that you find a permanent spot in the garden for these plants. They do best in full sun to partial shade. Amend your planting bed with plenty of good organic material and make sure the site is well drained and not soggy. Your anemones should thrive there for years to come.
The rosa moschata hybrid Champneys Pink Cluster is a cross between the original musk rose and a China repeat blooming rose. It typically has two inch double blossoms and can grow to 15 feet tall. It is a late bloomer, blossoming well into the fall. Since this rose has very long branches, it can be trained as a climber, but you can also keep it pruned so that it is a large shrub. Champneys Pink Cluster is a highly fragrant rose.
The clematis prefers a good organic fertilizer that is humus based and contains beneficial microbes and soil conditioners. Apply the fertilizer according to the manufacturer's instructions. Don't allow the fertilizer to touch the tender leaves and foliage of your clematis. It can burn or discolor them.
The amaranthus is a useful annual for extra hot and dry areas. This plant is often referred to as Joseph´s coat. The amaranthus provides long lasting blooms in blazing colors. One of the most popular varieties is "Love Lies Bleeding" which produces long drooping velvety tassels. The flowers can be dried and used for wreaths. Many varieties have both edible seeds and leaves. Before eating any plant or part of a plant find out the botanical name and research it. The amaranth seeds are used as a grain in many countries.
It's time to divide your perennials when they start taking over other plants, when the center of a plant looks weak, or when blooms are smaller than they have been in previous years. Ideally, you should divide your plants while they are still dormant. Spring blooming perennials are best divided in the fall. Mid-summer or fall blooming perennials should be divided the next spring.
When growing poppies, keep in mind that they are an ephemeral lot. By midsummer there is usually no trace of their blossoms or foliage, which leaves a gap in your garden. Think ahead and plant other perennials to fill in those gaps. Baby's breath, showy stonecrop, heleniums, late blooming daylilies, and even some taller yarrows are great for the job.
African daisy seeds can be started indoors five to six weeks before your last frost date. Sow the seeds about 1/8 inch deep. Germination takes one to two weeks at a soil temperature of 55 to 60 degrees. You can direct seed African daisies outside after all danger of frost has passed.
Ageratum can tolerate full sun or partial shade, but in areas where the summers are hot and long, it is best to plant them in light shade.
These plants will grow just fine in a soil of average fertility, but they do best if there is a lot of organic matter in the soil. The organic mater helps improve drainage and ageratums don't like being too damp. For these plants, a pH of between five and six is ideal.
Gold and silver chrysanthemum, also known as chrysanthemum pacificum, is a low growing, rounded plants, which makes it the perfect groundcover or edging plant. This plant has clusters of tiny, rounded golden yellow flowers and grayish green foliage with silver edges.
Transplant your asters into the garden after all danger of frost has passed. Space them approximately a foot apart. Asters thrive in dry, sunny locations. Don't worry about enriching the soil. These plants actually produce more brilliant color when grown in rather poor soil.
Seeds that are collected from the wild need very specific growing conditions for germination. Most wild seeds need stratification, which is the process of chilling and thawing which occurs naturally throughout the seasons. Other seeds need certain ph, moisture, temperature, or light conditions. With all of the natural habitat destruction that has been occuring recently, it is no surprise that there are over 300 wild plant species on the federal threatened and endangered lists. Because there are already so many problems, it is unwise to collect wild plant seeds to grow in your garden, unless you are sure that you have the identical growing conditions. In fact, it may even be illegal to collect seeds.
The best way to enjoy wild plants is in their own natural environment. However, if you still want to grow native flowers, you can buy seeds and plants from specialized nurseries.
Peonies are remarkably undemanding plants. Though they grow well anywhere, they really perform best in areas where temperatures drop below freezing in the winter. They are hardy to zone three and can do well as far as zone eight. You do need to be sure to have the plants well established before the first hard frost.
Hollyhocks, or alcea, include both biennials and short lived perennials, but some varieties will bloom the first year if started from seed indoors. Sow the seeds indoors six to eight weeks before your last frost date. At a temperature of 70 to 85 degrees, the seeds take one to two weeks to germinate. For quicker germination, soak the seeds in water overnight.
For flowers the second year, direct seed your hollyhocks outdoors two weeks after your last frost date.
To divide dahlias, keep in mind that they hold together in a fan shape. All of the growth "eyes" will be clustered tightly together in the middle of the fan. Use a sharp knife to cut them apart. Make sure you have at least one eye per division. Allow the cuttings to dry out in the air for about 30 minutes prior to replanting them. This will allow the wounds time to seal up and it will cut down on infection and rot.
If your azalea leaves are yellowing, you may have them in an area with too much sun. These plants can live in full sun, but will often be weaker than azaleas grown in part shade. You should also check your soil's pH. Azaleas need acidic soil. Apply a dose of sulfur to alkaline soil.
To stop thieving critters from burgling your bulbs, you can try one of these solutions:
1. Sprinkle human or dog hair around the bulb beds. Human odor has been known to repel many wild pests.
2. Puree garlic and spread it around the beds.
3. Cover your bulb beds with chicken wire and then add a layer of sharp gravel. Be sure to remove the gravel before the green shoots appear.
4. Stop using bone meal or blood meal in the garden. These products attract animal pests.
When relocating perennials, be careful not to lose too much of the root ball. Dig around the entire plant and then slide the root ball onto a tarp. Fold the sides of the tarp around the roots and lift the tarp up to move the plant to its new location. This helps you keep the root mass intact and minimizes shock, which ensures successful transplanting.
Snapdragons can be planted in full sun or partial shade. These colorful little plants prefer a light, well drained soil that contains plenty of organic matter. You should be sure to keep the soil evenly moist. Snapdragons do not perform well in heavy, slow draining soils.
Brachycome, also known as Swan River daisy, can be started indoors five to six weeks before your last frost date. Cover the seeds lightly with soil. Germination takes 10 to 18 days at a temperature of about 70 degrees.
For direct seeding outdoors, wait until all danger of frost for your area has passed.
There are three varieties of clematis and each needs to be pruned at different times.
* Don't prune the early spring cultivars until the first bloom is finished. You should only trim these clematis to shape them.
* Cut back mid-season bloomers to just a single pair of buds in early spring.
* Late blooming clematis flower on new growth. They should be pruned in early spring to no more than 12-18 inches tall.
Snapdragons are very prone to fungal diseases, especially rust. To help prevent these diseases, try not to wet the leaves when you are watering your plants. Instead of watering them from above, water these plants at ground level. You may want to shop for disease resistant snapdragon seeds or plant varieties.
Plant bulbs of the magic lily in late August or early September. They will produce foliage in the spring, but no blossoms. This foliage dies down by late summer. Then, in August, each bulb will shoot up a single three foot tall stalk, which will produce a cluster of pink flowers. When magic lily bulbs are happy with their location, they will multiply to form a large clump of flowers.
To make sappy stemmed flowers, such as poppies, peonies, milkweed and balloon flowers, last longer, you can sear the ends of the stems. You can do this by holding the cut ends over a candle until they are sealed or by dipping the cut ends briefly in boiling water. This keeps the milky fluid, which is an essential element to providing nutrients to the flower, in the stem where it belongs.
The amaranthus prefers a sandy soil and full sun. This plant thrives in extra dry areas. You should space the plants 12 to to 24 inches apart. After the plants are established, do not overwater them; it may cause the roots to rot. They really do prefer a dry soil.
Calendula can be sown indoors for earlier bloom. Start seeds between March and April for blossoms in July. Germination takes five to 10 days in darkness at a soil temperature of about 70 degrees. Sow the seeds 1/4 inch deep and cover them with a light dusting of topsoil. For outdoor seeding, sow seeds in late May to mid-June.
Love lies bleeding, also known as red amaranth or red cockscomb, is native to tropical countries, but was introduced to other areas as a garden cultivar. This plant prefers cultivated fields, so it will be happy in almost any garden bed. The hardy amaranth is a good beginner plant. It produces deep red spikes in late summer, but has beautiful foliage throughout the growing season.
You should transplant ageratum after your area's last frost date. These plants do better when the soil has warmed up. Space the dwarf varieties six to nine inches apart. Taller varieties should be placed about a foot apart. A sunny location is best, but in very hot areas you should plant your ageratums in light shade.
All alliums like rich, well drained soil. They need a steady supply of water to ensure proper growth. In the spring, give all your alliums a good dose of a complete fertilizer, followed by regular feedings of fish emulsion throughout the growing season. Interplant alliums with rose bushes for pest control.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|