An advantage of perennials is that they do not have to be planted every year. Many perennials only flower for a few weeks each year, however, with careful planning you can have some perennials in bloom most of the season. Some consideration should be given to how a plant looks when it is not in bloom. Perennials with colorful or interesting foliage can provide interest even when they are not in bloom. Annuals can be combined with perennials to produce a continuous colorful show.
Select a site that does not have a severe weed problem. This is especially true for hard-to-control weeds such as bermudagrass and nutsedge. A site that has been cultivated for several years often has fewer weeds. You may decide to use a nonselective herbicide or to cover the site with clear plastic the summer before planting to reduce weed problems (referred to as soil solarization).
Many perennials need a well-drained soil. While plants will tolerate a wet site for a short period of time, most will be killed by extended periods of "wet feet". Avoid locating the perennial border in low lying areas that are subject to standing water. Incorporate a 3- to 4-inch layer of organic matter, such as pine bark mulch or compost, before planting.
Soil pH requirements vary
among perennials but most prefer a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. Lime can be
applied individually to those that need a higher pH. Fertilize according
to a soil test or incorporate 5 pounds of 5-10-10 per 100 square feet
Prepared by: Erv Evans, Consumer Horticulturist, NC State University
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