This watering guide gives a broad guideline for established plants – plants more than two years old. Be sure to observe your plants to make sure they can adapt to this watering schedule. If your plants are used to another watering schedule you cannot just change your watering habits immediately, to meet this new schedule. Your plants may require a two or three year adjustment period to meet this recommended watering schedule. If you see signs of stress, you should supplement this water schedule to meet your plant’s needs. Water according to the plants requirements, not according to your schedule. More ‘old’ plants die from too much water than die from the lack of water. However, during periods of hot, dry, summer weather even ‘old’ plants may need a little extra water to keep them healthy.
You must realize that not all plants have the same growing conditions, even in the same yard. Plants can have different soil types, drainage conditions, light and temperature variations, and even differing amounts of water and fertilizer – just two or three feet apart. Water may drain away quickly from one plant but may puddle and stay wet around another plant in the same row. One sprinkler may be closer to one plant than another, or, a sprinkler may not be emmitting the same amount of water as the next one (the sprinkler may have dirt in the nozzle or the nozzle might be a different size and emmits a different amount of water.) No matter what the reason, one plant may die from the lack of water while another plant dies from over-water, even though they are all being watered on the same schedule. Be sure to observe your plants on a regular schedule – every time you are out working in the yard!
Newly planted shrubs need to be observed more frequently and require a more frequent watering schedule than older, more established plants. As a rule of thumb – Newly plants shrubs and trees should be watered once a day for the first week or two. After the first week, water them once or twice a week with a hose – do not rely on sprinklers to water newly planted shrubs. Water newly planted shrubs regularly for the first summer.
Approximate Recommendations Only.
These recommendations will vary according to the temperature, plant location, soil conditions, wind conditions, and the amount of natural rainfall
Tall Trees (40’+)
No Additional Water
Tree Of Heaven
Water 2x per month
Ash, Autumn Purple,
Ginkgo, Autumn Gold,
Spruce, Black Hills,
Water 1x per month
Cedar, Western Red
Elm, American or Dutch
Kentucky Coffee Tree
Water 1x per week
Birch, European White
Cedar, Blue Atlas
Maple, Crimson King
Maple, Red Sunset
Maple, October Glory
Poplar, Quaken Aspen
Medium Trees (2×5′-40′)
No Additional Water
Water 2x per month
Lilac Tree, Japanese
Water 1x per month
Juniper, Rocky Mountain
Pine, Mugho Tall
Water 1x per week
Low Trees (2×5′-)
No Additional Water
Water 2x per month
Fruit Trees, Most Varieties
Hawthorn, Paul’s Scarlet
Golden Rain Tree
Pine, Columnar Scotch
Spruce, Baby Blue Eyes
Water 1x per month
Maple, Rocky Mountain
Water 1x per week
Golden Chain Tree
No Additional Water
Water 2x per month
Forsythia, Lynwood Gold
Honeysuckle, Arnold Red
Water 1x per month
Water 1x per week
Hibiscus, Rose of Sharon
Weigela, Red Prince
Weigela, Pink Princess
Weigela, Bristol Ruby
No Additional Water
Sumac, Dwarf Smooth
Water 2x per month
Barberry, Crimson Pygmy
Barberry, Japanese Redleaf
Barberry, William Penn
Caryopteris, Blue Mist
Fir, Dwarf Balsam
Grapes, All varieties
Lilac, Miss Kim
Oregon Grape, Compact
Potentilla, all varieties
Rose, Austrian Copper
Water 1x per month
Oregon Grape, Creeping
Pine, Mugho Dwarf
Western Sand Cherry
Water 1x per week
Boxwood, Common English
Boxwood, Common Dwarf
Check Your Sprinklers.
Make sure they are
Forsythia, Arnold’s Dwarf
Spireae, dwarf varieties
Weigela, Java Red
Willow, Dwarf Artic Blue
(Annual & Perennial)
No Additional Water
Water 2x per month
Bachelor’s Button, perennial
Basket of Gold
Penstemon, Elfin Pink
Snow in Summer
Water 2x per week
Water 1x per month
Hens & Chicks
Pink Pussy Toes
Water 1x per week
Grass, Hard Fescue
Water 1x per month
Flax, many varieties
Grasses, most Ornamental
Hens & Chicks
Water 1x per week
Bachelors Buttons, Annual
No Additional Water
Water 2x per month
Basket of Gold
Grass, Turtle Turf
Snow In Summer
Water 2x per week
Grass, Kentucky Blue
Grass, Perennial Rye
Grass, Red Fescue
*** These recommendations will vary according to the temperature, plant location, soil conditions, wind conditions, and the amount of natural rainfall.
Hummingbirds are perhaps the most unique and fascinating birds to watch. There are more than 320 species of hummingbirds but only a handful of species are found in North America. Hummingbirds will migrate from Southern Alaska to Mexico, a distance of 2000 miles. Other hummingbirds will migrate from Canada to Mexico, crossing the Gulf of Mexico – a nonstop flight of 500 miles. Hummingbirds are approximately 3.5 inches long and weigh about 1/9 of an ounce. Hummingbirds got their name from the humming noise their wings make in flight. Each species of hummingbird makes a different humming sound, determined by the number of wing beats per second. They are truly fascinating creatures.
Hummingbirds eat two types of food: nectar from flowers; and tiny insects and spiders. A hummingbird’s diet includes a wide variety of insects, they really are not picky eaters. Hummingbirds are very effective in helping to reduce insect populations naturally. A hummingbird’s diet also includes a variety of nectars from many different plants. Many of the flowers that attract hummingbirds are trumpet shaped, or tube shaped, and are in the red and orange shades. However, hummingbirds love pink bee balm blossoms and yellow honeysuckle flowers.
The sugar water you fill your hummingbird feeders should only be a supplement to the hummingbird’s diet. Hummingbirds need to find and eat natural foods to obtain all the nutrients they need. When buying a commercial hummingbird nectar mix you do not have to buy one with a red dye. The red color is supposed to attract hummingbirds more readily, but hummingbirds are smart birds and they will find your feeder on their own. Clear hummingbird nectars are just not as easy to find.
DO NOT use honey in your feeder! Honey ferments rapidly and can kill hummingbirds. It also contains a bacteria that can cause a fatal disease in birds. Red food coloring is not needed to attract hummingbirds. The red food coloring may actually coat the hummingbird’s tongue and impede its ability to lap up nectar. Commercial nectars do not have a problem with the red dye.
Every time you re-fill your feeder, flush it with hot tap water. A bottle brush can be very useful to help keep your feeder clean. Do not use soap. Soap can remain in the feeder even after rinsing and it can make the hummingbird sick, or even kill it. Discard any unused sugar water left in the feeder and refill it with fresh sugar water. When temperatures are over 80 degrees, clean and refill the feeder every three or four days.
At least once a month, clean each feeder thoroughly with a solution of bleach and water. Soak the feeder in this solution for about one hour, then clean it with a bottle brush. Rinse with water, and let it air dry completely before refilling. Hummingbird feeders vary in size and shape but they should all provide the same thing. They should attract hummingbirds and provide a sugar-water solution for the hummingbird to drink.
Put your hummingbird feeders in a shady place, where you can see them easily. Take your hummingbird feeder down mid-September, so you don’t confuse hummingbirds into staying longer than they should. Hummingbirds need to migrate south for the winter. If they stay north too long they will not make it south soon enough and they may die. Ants may be attracted to your feeder. To help avoid this, buy a dripless feeder. If your ‘dripless’ feeder drips anyway, try boiling your feeder in plain water for one or two minutes.
The boiling water will sometimes stop the capillary action of the water; it will make it stop dripping. You can also make an ant repellent by using vegetable oil. Soak a pipe cleaner in vegetable oil and then wrap it around the wire attached to your feeder, or you can cover the entire wire in petroleum jelly. Ants do not like to cross oily or wet surfaces. Bees, wasps, and yellow jackets are also attracted to hummingbird feeders. Try using a hummingbird feeder with a bee guard.
It is best to get a feeder with a perch, so that the hummingbird can rest while eating. It requires a lot more energy for hummingbirds to hover than it does for them to fly. Also, it is fun to watch the hummingbirds sit still. Feeders that can accommodate several birds at one time are best, even though hummingbirds can, at times, be very territorial. You may notice that one bird takes over the control of a feeder and chases all the other hummingbirds away.
That hummingbird may spend all his time defending the hummingbird feeder and never take time to drink from it. If that is the case in your yard, you may want to hang up another hummingbird feeder several feet away. One hummingbird cannot control two feeders at once, so, all the hummingbirds can eat freely without any one of them taking control. Hummingbirds migrate in response to hormonal changes, which are triggered by decreasing length of daylight; nothing you can do will make them stay too long, so it’s not necessary to stop feeding them to force them to go south.
On the contrary: they will need to fatten up to nearly double normal body weight to survive the journey, and thus appreciate your feeder more than ever up until literally the last minute before they depart. You can maintain a feeder for a week or two after seeing your last hummingbird of the season. Sometimes an individual bird can’t migrate on schedule, due to illness or injury: these late migrants in particular will appreciate having a reliable source of food at a time when few natural flowers are still in bloom. If you want to learn more about hummingbirds, you may want to buy a book and a hummingbird feeder, you’ll be amazed by these little birds.
Use one part ordinary White Sugar to four parts water. Boil the water for several minutes. Boiling kills and deters many pathogens from growing in the feeder. Measure the water after boiling. If you measure first, before you boil, some of the water will boil away. The proportions may not be correct. Stir in the sugar while the water is still hot. Let the water cool before filling the feeder.
Store unused nectar in the refrigerator. This mixture closely matches the sucrose content (about 21%) of the flowers Hummingbirds are attracted to.
There are more than 325 hummingbird species in the world.
Hummingbirds cannot walk or hop, though their feet can be used to scoot sideways while they are perched
The average ruby-throated hummingbird weighs 3 grams. In comparison, a nickel weighs 4.5 grams.
A hummingbird’s maximum forward flight speed is 30 miles per hour. These birds can reach up to 60 miles per hour in a dive.
Hummingbirds can fly sideways, backwards, up and down and even hover in midair.
Hummingbirds lay the smallest eggs of all birds. They measure less than 1/2 inch long but may represent as much as 10 percent of the mother’s weight at the time the eggs are laid. A hummingbird egg is smaller than a jelly bean.
A hummingbird must consume approximately 1/2 of its weight in sugar daily, and the average hummingbird feeds 5-8 times per hour. In addition to nectar, these birds also eat many small insects and spiders, and may also sip tree sap or juice from broken fruits.
A hummingbird’s wings beat between 50 and 200 flaps per second depending on the direction of flight and air conditions.
An average hummingbird’s heart rate is more than 1,200 beats per minute.
At rest, a hummingbird takes an average of 250 breaths per minute. Their breathing pace will increase when they are in flight.
Most hummingbirds die in the first year of their life. The average lifespan of a wild hummingbird is 3-12 years.
Hummingbirds have no sense of smell but have very keen eyesight.
Despite their small size, hummingbirds are one of the most aggressive bird species. They will regularly attack jays, crows and hawks that infringe on their territory.
Hummingbirds must eat constantly to fuel their active bodies. Hummingbirds can eat almost twice their body weight in one day! That’s like eating around 400 hamburgers each day.
When hummingbirds migrate to the United States in the springtime, they cover 500 miles across the Gulf of Mexico, flying for 20 hours without stopping.
In preparation for migration, a hummingbird will store half its body weight worth of fat.
Hummingbirds migrate alone and not in flocks. Very commonly the males migrate first followed by the females.
Only female hummingbirds build nests. Female hummingbirds lay only two eggs. The male hummingbird is not involved in raising young, and will often find another mate after the young are hatched. Hummingbirds tend to return to the area where they were hatched. After hatching, baby hummingbirds will stay in the nest for approximately three weeks.
For centuries, it was common practice to plant two, or more, crops in the same area, to help increase the yield of one, or more of the crops. American Indians used to plant corn, beans, and squash together. Squash leaves would shade the soil and reduce weed growth. Their prickly stems would make raccoons think twice about entering the corn patch. The corn provided shade for the squash in the heat of the summer. The squash vines climbed up the corn stalks. Beans were a nitrogen fixing plant, so they provided the corn and the squash with extra nutrients. Companion planting is a mixture of both folklore and scientific fact. Many of us may have been told that marigolds help keep insects out of the vegetable garden; that garlic keeps aphids out of rose gardens, and that nothing will grow near a black walnut tree.
Some suggestions have been documented; others have just been passed from one gardener to another. While some claims hold true, others do not. You should experiment to find out what works best for you. Even those who have used companion planting for years, do not always know why some companion planting combinations work, while others do not. In modern times, single crop cultivation has become the most popular way of gardening because it is easier to plan, simpler to take care of, and a more efficient way to garden. However, time-tested garden wisdom tells us that certain plants grown close together become helpmates to each other. Learning from the past always has advantages, and many hidden benefits.
Companion planting simply means growing different plants together that like, enhance, or benefit each other. In nature, where plants grow without cultivation, there is always a mixture of plant types growing in an area. With few exceptions, the plants that grow together in the wild are mutually beneficial, in that they allow for maximum utilization of light, moisture and soil. Plants that need less light live in the shade of those which must have full light. The roots of some plants live close to the surface, and others send their roots far down into the subsoil. Your companion plantings should maximize the use of sun, soil, moisture, and nutrients, so you can grow several crops in one area. You can try to discourage harmful pests, without losing the beneficial ones.
Not all crops respond to companion planting in the same way. In fact, some plants may do worse when combined with other crops than if they are grown by themselves. In many cases, however, the positive effects of companion planting outweigh any negative results.
Some plants have a beneficial effect on the garden just because of the odor they emit. Many of these aromatic plants are herbs. You can mix and match herbs with most other plants as long as you are careful to meet the growth requirements of all the plants involved.
Be sure to choose plants that have the same requirements for water, sunlight, temperature and soil conditions. Make sure the companion herbs do not attract the same problems, or pests, as the plants you are using them with. Avoid using invasive herbs, such as horseradish or mint as companion plants, unless you are diligent in keeping them in bounds. Try planting invasive herbs in pots and just set the pots in the garden. You can move them around as desired.
Herbs that repel. Try planting garlic with bush beans to repel aphids. Plant catnip with eggplant to repel flea beetles. A ring of chives under an apple tree is said to discourage apple scab. Other herbs used to repel pests include anise, borage, calendula, cilantro, dill, scented geranium, mint, rosemary, sage, and tansy.
Herbs that help. Some herbs seem to enhance the growth of other plants. Plant borage with strawberries, chervil with radishes, sage with cabbage-family crops, and summer or winter savory with onions. Try basil or thyme around tomatoes. Tarragon is said to enhance the growth of most garden vegetables.
Herbs that Hinder. Dill seems to slow the growth of tomatoes, and sage hinders the growth of onions. Garlic harms neighboring beans and peas. Marigold, sunflower, and wormwood may also hinder the growth of many plants, if they are too close. Fennel is often too aggressive and should be kept by itself.
Herbs as trap crops. You can use herbs as traps that lure pests away from your crops. Dill and lovage have been used to lure hornworms away from tomatoes. Herbs to Lure Beneficial insects.
Many herbs attract assassin bugs, honeybees, hover flies, lacewings, lady bugs, or parasitic wasps. Golden rod, chamomile, coreopsis, marigold, sunflower, tansy, and yarrow are some of the common ‘daisy-family’ herbs that attract beneficial insects. ‘Mint-family’ herbs have aromatic foliage and attract many of these same insects. Other herbs used to attract beneficial insects are bee balm, catnip, hyssop, lavender, sweet marjoram, oregano, sage, thyme, anise, caraway, dill, and fennel, just to name a few.
The Right Combination
Selecting the right combinations and arrangements can be very tricky. You must be able to balance the benefits of mixing plants, with the possibility of incompatibility in use of space, sunlight water, and nutrients. Every garden is different. What works in one garden may not work in another. Many other factors will affect the outcome of any given planting, such as soil fertility, available light, and the amount of water used. The results of companion planting between two gardens may be identical, but the outlook may not be seen in the same way.
For example, A “large increase” to you may only be a “moderate increase” to your neighbor. It may not be worth the extra effort, to your neighbor. Many different planting combinations have been tried and tested. Some of the following suggestions have been documented, while others are just wives-tales. You should experiment to find out what combinations work best for you. Even those who use companion planting do not always know why some planting combinations work, while others do not. You may have other combinations that work well together. Try out new combinations, and use some of your old ones too. Experimenting is the only way you can gain new insight for your own individual gardens.
Sometimes plant friendships are one-sided. Radishes are said to ‘like’ beans, but beans don’t reciprocate, though beans will help the nearby cucumbers and eggplants. Other plants are bad companions, and you’ll be doing them a favor to keep them apart. Beans and onions (garlic and chives) are natural enemies, so keep them at opposite sides of the garden: Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower and Brussels Sprout plants do not like tomato plants; Carrots and Parsnips are not fond of each other; Potatoes prefer not being too close to cucumbers, tomatoes, squash or raspberries.
These suggestions are not intended to solve all gardening problems, as these suggestions may work differently in various situations; or perhaps not at all. Don’t let that discourage you from giving some of these ideas a try!
Crop & Companion
Asparagus – Tomatoes, parsley, basil Basil – Tomatoes, also repels flies and mosquitoes. Bean – Beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, peas, potatoes, radishes, squash, strawberries, summer savory, tomatoes. Dislike onions, garlic, radish, peppers and fennel. BeeBalm- Tomatoes Beet – Onions, kohlrabi, bush beans, lettuce, onions, kohlrabi, and most members of the cabbage family are companion plants. Keep the pole beans and mustard away from them. Cabbage – Beans, celery, cucumbers, dill, kale, lettuce, onions, Potatoes, sage, spinach, thyme. Dislike strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, and pole beans. Carrot – Peas, beans, radish, lettuce, chives, onions, leeks, sage, rosemary, tomatoes. Dislikes anise, dill, parsley. Celery – Leeks, tomatoes, bush beans, cauliflower & cabbage Chamomile – Cabbage, onions Chervil – Radishes Chive – Carrots, Corn – Potatoes, beans, peas, radishes, sunflowers, pumpkin, cucumber, squash, melons, lettuce. Dislikes tomatoes. Cucumber – Beans, cabbage, cauliflower, corn, peas, radishes, sunflowers, lettuce. Dislikes melons & potatoes. Dill – Cabbage Eggplant – Beans
Garlic – Roses, raspberries, many herbs and vegetables, plant liberally throughout garden Horseradish – Potatoes Leek – Onions, celery, carrots Lettuce – Asparagus, beets, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, onions, peas, potatoes, radishes, spinach, strawberries, sunflowers, tomatoes. Dislikes Broccoli. Marigolds – Plant throughout the flower & vegetable gardens Mints – Cabbage family, tomatoes, Nasturtium – Tomatoes, radishes, cabbage, cucumbers, under fruit trees Onions – Beets, strawberries, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, tomato, lettuce, peppers, spinach, beans, repels slugs and ants. Keep away from peas, beans & sage. Parsley – Tomato, asparagus Pea – Most all vegetables. Carrots, cucumbers, corn, turnips, radishes, beans, potatoes, squash, and aromatic herbs. Keep the peas away from onions, garlic, leek, and shallots. Peppers – Basil, coriander, onions, spinach. Dislikes beans & kohlrabi. Best not to plant near tomatoes (common diseases). Pigweed (it is an edible weed)- Potatoes, onions, corn Potato – Horseradish, beans, corn, cabbage, marigold, Lima beans, eggplant. Best not to plant near tomatoes (common diseases). Pumpkin – Corn, Bean Radish – Peas, nasturtium, lettuce, cucumber, beets, carrots, spinach and parsnips, beans. Avoid planting radishes near cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kohlrabi or turnips. It’s said that summer planting of radishes near leaf lettuce makes the radishes more tender. Rosemary – Carrots, beans, cabbage, sage, repels bean beetles and cabbage moths.
Another important benefit of companion planting is that one plant may help protect another plant from certain insect problems. The following insects do not like the plants listed next to them. Try planting a few. Nasturtiums: white flies, squash bugs, striped pumpkin beetle, and woolly aphids. Basil: flies, mosquitoes, and asparagus beetles. Catnip: ants, aphids, cockroaches, flea beetles, mosquitoes and Japanese beetles, but attracts cats. Garlic: aphids, apple scabs, borers, Japanese beetles, peach leaf curl disease, and spider mites. Lavender: ticks, moths, and mice. Peppermint and other mints: ants, aphids, cabbage moths, and fleas. Pennyroyal: fleas, flies, and mosquitoes. Rue: Japanese beetles, and even cats and dogs. Tansy: ants, fleas, flies, Japanese beetles, moths, striped cucumber beetles, and squash bugs. However, in some areas it has become a noxious weed and it can be fatal if ingested by some animals. So, grow it with care. Borage: tomato worms Calendula: asparagus beetles and tomato worms Chrysanthemum: Mexican bean beetles Cosmos: Mexican bean beetles Coriander: aphids Dandelion: Colorado potato beetles
Dead Nettle: potato beetles Fennel: fleas Flax: potato beetles Geranium: cabbage worms and red spider mite Horseradish: potato beetles Hyssop: cabbage moth Oregano: cabbage butterflies and cucumber beetles Parsley: beetles Radish: cucumber beetle Rosemary: bean beetles, cabbage moth, mosquitoes, and carrot flies Sage: bean beetles, cabbage moth, carrot flies, and slugs Southernwood: cabbage moth Sunflower: armyworm Thyme: cabbage worm
The term ‘The Three Sisters’ was used by the Iroquois when they planted Corn, Beans, and Squash together. Corn, beans and squash were considered by the Iroquois to be special gifts from the Great Spirit. The well-being of each crop was believed to be protected by one of the Three Sisters; spirits that were collectively called Deo-ha-ko. This word means “our sustainers” or “those who support us”. The three sisters system refers to the planting of corn, pole beans, and squash together in hills. The practice of planting more than one type of crop together is called interplanting.
Although this planting system is not very common in the United States, it is a well-thought-out growing process in other countries. Interplanting is beneficial because some small farmers are finding that continual plantings of one crop can have some major disadvantages; diseases and insects can start to build up in the soil, and that can become a problem. In the Three Sister planting system, raised areas are made about three feet apart, both between and within the rows. Several seeds of corn are planted in small holes and covered. As the emerging corn plants are weeded, the soil is gently mounded, or hilled, around the corn plants.
When the corn is about four to six inches high, bean and squash seeds are planted in the hills, Bean seeds are placed in each hill, and squash is planted in about every seventh hill. The three crops grow together for the remainder of the season. Interplanting has many advantages. Iroquois farmers adapted this ecological planting method to meet the needs of their crops. Several crops planted together are not as attractive to pests, while large plantings of one crop tend to have more pest problems. The hills provide support around the base of the plants, so they are not as prone to damage from the wind.
Also, interplanting helps create a uniform stand of corn. The corn forms a support for the beans, and the squash covers the soil, helping to control weeds. Beans are in the legume family and legumes take nitrogen from the air and convert it into a form that plants can use. This is important because corn demands a fairly high amount of nitrogen. The nitrogen “left” in the hill by the beans is available for next year’s corn crop. This is one reason the Iroquois planted in the same hills for several years.
The planting of corn, beans, and squash was more than a gardening activity for the Iroquois. The Three Sisters system also provided a varied diet, keeping the people healthy for hundreds of years.
Edible landscaping is the practice of using food plants within ornamental or decorative settings. You may want to try using some of your companion planting knowledge to help you integrate a few edible plants into your flower gardens too. Be careful, when you plant edibles among your ornamentals, you need to be cautious when using pesticides. Many pesticides (insecticides, fungicides, miticides, herbicides, etc) that are registered for use on ornamentals are not registered for use on edibles. Be sure to read the label of any pesticide to make sure you understand the restrictions. Keep that in mind while you are planning your gardens. Be even more mindful when you start to harvest. Be sure the edibles are safe to eat before harvesting.
Use the same design principles for ornamental landscapes, just substitute some edible plants such as lettuce, blueberries, vegetables, or even fruit trees, for some of the otherwise unproductive plant material. Using edibles in your landscape design can enhance a garden by providing a unique ornamental component with additional aesthetic benefits. Edible landscaping can add a mixture of both beauty and utility. However, edible landscaping doesn’t have to be using all edible plants.
In fact, filling the yard with all edibles would often produce too much food for most families, not to mention extra time and work to maintain it. Start small. Small and simple gardens mean that you can easily maintain them, and not become overwhelmed. Temper your spring enthusiasm knowing that many edible gardens not only need extra maintenance (mulching, watering, weeding, feeding, and pruning), but also take a lot of effort later in the summer and fall, in the form of harvesting, cooking, and storing. Try a border of lettuce and spinach, planted with dwarf nasturtiums.
You can mix all three into a fun salad for your guests. All types of peppers are striking when combined with dwarf marigolds, or in a background of tall red salvia. Tomatoes may grow better in flower beds, than in traditional vegetable gardens. That’s because they should be moved to a different spot each year, to prevent disease, and space is often limited in a vegetable patch. Also, tomatoes may grow better when isolated from other tomato plants because diseases can’t transfer as easily from one plant to another plant.
Don’t let a little shade deter you from planting some vegetables. Fairly shade-tolerant veggies include beets, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, garlic, leaf lettuce, spinach, turnips, radishes, and beans. Seek out vegetables in bold colors to plant among the flowers. Swiss chard, for example, is available in a rainbow of colors. Or try brilliant orange, red, or yellow sweet peppers.
Some mustard greens and kales have gorgeous fall colors, and are ideal for putting in containers, and borders, for color late in the year.
Brighten salads with edible flowers. Grow nasturtiums, pansies or violas, to toss in with your spinach or lettuce, for a pretty salad. You can even use some of your dandelion leaves, for an extra special surprise. With careful planning, and the judicious use of fruits, herbs, and vegetables, you can have a yard that is flavorful, practical, and is visually pleasing. As a added bonus, it’s a great topic for conversation!
Are you looking for a vining plant with breath taking flowers? Something that’s easy to grow and very forgiving? Sounds like you’re thinking about the Clematis Vine. Clematis vines have twining leaf stalks that act as tendrils. They wind around to almost any type of support. Clematis will not, however, cling to brick or to a bare wall; they must have a trellis of some type. Clematis are also attractive when they hang over rocks or grow up tree trunks. Clematis are not demanding plants but they do have a few special requirements. Treat them right and clematis will reward you with a wonderful show of color.
Clematis vines produce large, striking flowers in a wide range of colors. Try planting two or three different varieties together, to get even a more spectacular array of flowers. If you follow a few simple guidelines they will grow and bloom profusely.
Most clematis varieties produce single flowers ranging in size from 1″ to 10″ in diameter. Some varieties produce double flowers, others produce double and single flowers. Most double flowering varieties will bloom double on the old wood, early in the spring. They will then bloom single on the current season’s growth, in the late-summer or fall. If pruned improperly, these varieties will only produce single flowers. Clematis blossoms will often change colors from when they start to bloom until the blossom fades, especially if the flowers are in full sun. The pastel colors hold their color best if they have some shade. Clematis make beautiful cut flowers. Blossoms picked as they are first opening can last up to ten days in a cool room, five or six days is more common. Floating blossoms in a bowl of water is another attractive way of displaying these beautiful flowers.
Clematis vines love the sun, but their roots hate the heat. The roots need to be cool so they should be shaded, even though the plant stems and leaves will grow in full sun. Planting the roots in the shade, or planting clematis behind a rock or fence, or planting a small shrub in front of them, or planting shallow rooted groundcovers around them, will insure a cool root run for the clematis. Adding a layer of bark or mulch may also help.
Clematis roots prefer a cool, moist, loose, well-drained soil. Dig a rather large hole when you plant your clematis; about 18″ x 18″. Mix 20% to 30% Harvest Supreme Compost with the soil you remove from the hole, along with a quarter cup of Dr. Earth Starter Fertilizer. This fertilizer contains Mycorrhizae and other beneficial bacteria that really helps clematis root fast and flourish in your garden. Make sure the rootball is about one or two inches below the soil surface. Stake the vine when you first plant it, so the stem will not break off the root system. Stem breakage is the major problem when planting a new clematis vine.
Clematis roots can die from stem breakage. Water your clematis thoroughly when you first plant it. Water your clematis every day the first week. Make sure that you water it with a hose and not just let the sprinklers water it for you. After the first week, water your clematis a least once a week with a hose. Give it 2 or 3 gallons of water each time you water, not just a cup or two. Again don’t rely on sprinklers to water your clematis the first summer. As the clematis vines grow they may need to be tied or supported in several places. Be careful when handling clematis vine stems. The stems are brittle and are easily broken. Do not worry if a few stems die back when moved or tied. New growth will take their place.
Clematis vines need a consistent supply of both water and fertilizer during the growing season. Fertilize monthly with 5-10-10, 16-16-8 Multipurpose Fertilizer, or 6-10-4 Flower Fer tilizer from early-May until mid-August. Do not fertilize after mid-August so the plants can slow down and settle in for winter. To keep the soil moist, cool, and loose, add plenty of compost such as Harvest Supreme Compost around your plants each summer or fall. This compost also helps protect the clematis vines during severe summer weather and cold winter conditions. Don’t worry if your plant dies to the ground during the winter; new shoots will appear from the roots when the warm weather returns. If your soil is alkaline spread a little sulfur around your plant each spring to help increase the acidity. Clematis do not like to stay wet constantly. Make sure the soil will drain after watering.
Don’t prune newly planted clema tis vines very much the first few years. Clematis vines need a chance to root and become established. Once established, the pruning time and severity depends on the flowering time of your clematis variety. If you don’t prune older clematis vines, the stems may become tangled and unattractive. Also, if clematis are left unpruned, they will still flower very well, but overgrown clematis vines may not bloom equally over the entire vine. Incorrect pruning will never kill a clematis vine. Incorrect pruning may delay flowering for a month or two. Pruning is very important to help keep your plant in bounds, to encourage new growth and to produce more flowers. There are three main pruning groups of Clematis vines.
Group A are varieties that flower only on growth produced the previous year. These varieties only bloom in the spring and they only bloom on the previous year’s growth. Don’t trim this type until right after they finish blooming in the spring. Prune them enough to control their size and shape. Remove any weak or dead stems. Do not prune before they bloom, or any later than June, or you will have fewer flowers the next year. Do not ever cut this type right to the ground. You need to preserve the main framework to get blossoms the next year.
Group B has two sub-groups. Group B1 are varieties that flower on the growth produced the previous year. They also produce flowers on the current season’s growth after it has matured. This group produces a heavy flush of flowers in May-June from the old wood. It is followed by a second, smaller, flush of flowers in the late-summer from the new wood.
Group B2 are varieties that flower simultaneously on both the growth produced the previous year and the current season’s growth. Varieties in this group normally bloom in termittently from June to September. Prune Group B in the spring to correct any problems and to train the vines the way you want them to grow. Leave some stems long and prune others short to help maintain a well-balanced plant. A severe pruning will reduce the number of flowers on the next bloom cycle, but it will not hurt the plant. If your Group B variety has been neglected for several years, it can be rejuvenated by severely cutting back most of the old growth. You will lose most of the flowers this spring but you will be amazed how fast your clematis recovers. You can prune Group B varieties again later in the summer, after the first bloom flush, to remove the older and spindly stems. By taking time to remove the old blossom stems you can sometimes help stimulate your clematis vine to bloom more profusely later in the year.
Group C are the varieties that only bloom on the current year’s growth. Blooms commence in early summer and continue to fall. These varieties should be pruned late-winter or early in the spring. You can prune as severely or as lightly as you need to. It is recommended to cut these Group C varieties to within three or four inches of the ground if you want blossoms spread evenly over the entire vine stems. If you don’t prune these varieties, the vines can get very large and the blossoms will only be on the new growth at the edges of the plant. New growth usually occurs near the tips of the old stems, not next to the ground or in the older branches. Depending on how you prune Group C, you may only get blossoms on the top of the plants and have a bare stems at the bottom. Remember, Group C only produce flowers on the new growth. If you don’t know which type you have, watch it for a year to see when it blooms (in spring only, in summer only, or both spring and summer) and prune accordingly.
Clematis are quite resilient plants, and you are unlikely to kill your plant by pruning it wrong. The worst damage that is likely to hap pen by incorrect or untimely pruning would be the loss of flowers for one year
Insects and Diseases
Clematis are susceptible to ‘wilt’ diseases. It can occur at any time of the year but it is more prone to appear just as the flower buds begin to open. Wilt can affect the entire plant or it can affect just a few stems. It is important to remove any affected stems as soon as this disease appears to prevent it from spreading further. Newly planted clematis often die from this disease but it is very rare that an old plant dies completely. Too much water is often one of the causes of this disease. Unfortunately, there is no chemical control for this disease.
Keep your plant healthy by fertilizing and watering properly to prevent this disease from occurring. Powdery mildew is another disease to watch for. A pre ventative fungus spray is recommended if your vines have this disease problem every year, otherwise just treat powdery mildew if you see it appear. Earwigs, Slugs and Snails are the most common pests of clematis. Slugs and snails attack the new shoots and leaves, while earwigs go for the blossoms during the middle of the summer. Earwigs can turn a blossom in to lace-work over night.
There are several kinds of clematis, and more than 300 varieties to choose from, but most people want to grow the large-flowered types. There is not one best variety, it is up to you to make the choice.
Anna Louise. Large, violet flowers with red-purple bar. Four to six inch diameter. Blooms June to August. Grows eight to ten feet long. Pruning Group B2. Asao. Pale rosy-carmine. Six to eight inch flowers. Blooms May, June and September. Grows six to eight feet. Pruning Group B1. Beauty of Worcester. Deep blue double flowers. Five to six inch diameter. Blooms May and June. Single blooms later in summer. Grows five to six feet. Pruning Group B1. Bees Jubilee. Mauve-pink with maroon bars. Six to eight inch diameter. Blooms in May, June and September. Grows six to nine feet. Pruning Group B1.
Belle of Woking. Silvery-blue double flowers. Four to six inch diameter. Blooms June and July with a few later in fall. Grows six to nine feet. Pruning Group B1. Blue Angel. Clear-blue. Three to four inch flowers. Blooms profusely June through September. Grows seven feet. Pruning Group C. Carnaby. Brilliant white with carmine-red bars. Dark maroon stamens. Five to six inch diameter. Blooms for an extended time; May, June, and September. The plant grows seven to nine feet long. Pruning group B1.
Comtesse de Bouchard. Rosy-pink blos soms. Four to six inch diameter. Blooms well from June to September, even without pruning. Grows six to twelve feet tall. Pruning group C. Crimson Star. Wine-red with chocolate stamens. Five to six inch diameter. Grows eight to twelve feet. Pruning group B2. Dr Ruppel. Non-fading, pink flowers with dark car mine-pink center bars. Six to eight inch diameter. Blooms pro fusely in May, June, and September. Grows eight to twelve feet long. Pruning group B1. Duchess of Edinburgh. Century old. Double, white flow ers. Four to six inch diameter.
Blooms May, June and possibly September. Grows eight to twelve feet. Pruning Group B1. Edo Murasaki. Deep-violet. Six to eight inch diameter. Blooms May, June, and possibly September. Grows eight to ten feet. Pruning Group B1.Elsa Spath. Rich violet-purple. Six to eight inch diameter. Blooms May, June and September. Grows eight to ten feet. Pruning Group B1.Ernest Markham. Magenta-red flowers. Five to seven inch diameter. Late-summer blooming (July, August, and September). This variety is very hardy and will grow ten to fifteen feet long. It is an old, reliable variety.
Pruning Group C. Etoile de Malicorne. Strong Grower. Bright magenta-red five to six inch blossoms. Blooms July to September. Grows ten feet. Pruning Group B1.Etoile Violette. Deep-purple. Four to five inch diameter. Blooms vigorously June to September. Grows eight to fourteen feet. Pruning Group C. C. florida Sieboldii. Creamy-white with deep-purple center. Three to four inch diameter. Blooms June to August. Provide shelter to extend blooming period. Grows six to ten feet. Nearly frost free location required. Pruning Group B1. Frederyk Chopin. Mauve. Seven to eight inch diameter.
Blooms late spring and late summer. Grows eight to twelve feet. Pruning Group B1. General Sikorski. Rich-lavender with a hint of red on the midribs. Four to six inch di ameter. Blooms June to September. Grows eight to ten feet long. Pruning group B2. Gypsy Queen. Rich plum-purple. Five to seven inch diameter. Blooms July to September. Grows ten to twelve feet. Pruning Group C. Hagley Hybrid. (Also known as Pink Chiffon) One of the easiest pink varieties to grow. This variety is very showy when blooming. The vine is covered with light pink flowers, five to six inch diameter.
It blooms from June to September. This variety can tolerate heavy pruning each spring without affect the blooming. Pruning group C. Harlow Carr. Deep purple-blue flowers. Four inch diam eter. Blooms June to late-September, longest blooming variety. Grows eight to ten feet long. Pruning Group B2 or C. Henryi. Large white flowers. Six to seven inches diameter. Blossoms are suitable to use for cut flowers. Free blooming in the summer from June to September. Grows eight to twelve feet. Pruning group B2. H.F. Young. Wedgewood-blue flowers. Six to seven inch diameter.
A very compact plant which is good in containers, if protected from frost in the winter. Blooms May, June, and September. Pruning group B1. Horn of Plenty. Rosy-purple blossoms. Six to nine inch diameter. Blooms June to September. Grows eight to twelve feet. Pruning Group B2. Huldine. Pearly-white. Three to four inch diameter. Blooms vigorously from July to October. Grows twelve to twenty feet. Pruning Group C. Hyde Hall. Large Off-white flowers with green or pink tinge. Five to Seven inch diameter. Blooms May to July. Grows six to seven feet long. Pruning Group B2.
Jackmanii. This variety is one of the most popular and easiest clematis to grow. It has large, dark velvety-purple flowers, up to seven inches in diameter. It is summer blooming, June through August, variety but will re-bloom in the fall if cut back after flowering. It blooms best with warm spring weather. Grows twelve to twenty feet. This variety can be pruned heavily each year without affecting blooming. Pruning Group C. Jackmanii Superba. Purple. Four to six inch diameter.
Fuller flower than Jackmanii. Blooms from mid June to August. Grows twelve to twenty feet. Pruning Group C. John Warren. Greyish-white with carmine edges and mid ribs. Eight to ten inch diameter. Blooms June to September. Grows eight to ten feet. Pruning Group B2. Josephine. Large, double, lilac-pink flowers. Five to six inch diameter. Blooms May to August. Grows eight to ten feet long. Pruning Group B2. Lady Betty Balfour. Rich, deep-blue. Five to seven inch diameter. Blooms July through September. Grows twelve to twenty feet. Pruning Group C.
Lanuginosa Candida Pure-white. Eight inch diameter. Blooms from June to September. Grows eight to fourteen feet long. Pruning Group B2. Lawsoniana. Rosy lavender-blue blossom. Eight to ten inch diameter. Blooms June to September. Grows eight to fourteen feet. Pruning Group B2. Lincoln Star. Bright, raspberry-pink with paler edges. Six inch diameter. Blooms May, June and September. Grows eight to twelve feet. Pruning Group B2. Lord Nevill. Intense, dark-blue flowers. Popular for over one hundred years. Six to eight inch diameter. Blooms in May, June and September.
Grows eight to twelve feet. Pruning Group B2. Margot Koster. Rosy-red with whitish stamens. Four to six inch diameter. Blooms from June to September. Grows eight to fourteen feet long. Pruning Group C. Miss Bateman. Creamy-white with dark-red stamens. Four to six inch diameter. Blooms May and June. A favorite for over one hundred years. Grows six to eight feet. Pruning Group B1. Mme. Baron Veillard. One hundred year old variety. Bright, rosy-lilac-pink. Four to six inch diameter. Blooms in masses from August through September. Grows ten to fourteen feet.
Pruning Group C. Mme. Eduard Andre. Deep wine-red. Four to six inch diameter. Blooms from July to September. Grows eight to twelve feet. Pruning Group C. Mme. Grange. Unique dusky-purple. Four to six inch diameter. Blooms June to September. Grows eight to twelve feet tall. Pruning Group C. C. montana Elizabeth. Masses of pale, clear-pink flowers. Three inch diameter. Vanilla scented blossoms. Blooms in May and June. Grows twenty-five to thirty-five feet. Requires some winter protection. Pruning Group A. C. montana Pink Perfection. Soft deep-pink. Three inch diameter.
Blooms in May and June. Grows twenty-five to thirty-five feet. Requires some winter protection. Pruning Group A. C. montana rubens ‘Odorata’. Soft rose-pink flowers. Very fragrant. Two to three inch diameter. Blooms profusely May and June. Young leaves are purplish. Grows 20 feet long. Needs some winter protection. Pruning Group A. Mrs. Cholmondely. One hundred and twenty years old. Clear, light-lavender-blue. Seven to nine inch diameter. Blooms from May to September. Grows fourteen to twenty feet. Pruning Group B1. Mrs. George Jackman. Creamy-white. Six to eight inch diameter.
Blooms May, June and September. Compact plant grows seven to nine feet. Pruning Group B1. Mrs. N. Thompson. Deep, violet-purple edges with red bar. Four to six inch diameter. Blooms in May, June and September. Compact eight to ten foot plant. Pruning Group B1. Multi Blue. Lavender-blue. Unique over sized stamens. Four to six inch diameter. Blooms from June to September. Pruning Group B1. Nelly Moser. Pale rosy-lilac with dark-pink bars. Seven to nine inch diameter. Free flowering that blooms May, June and September. The blossoms make good cut flowers.
Grows eight to twelve feet. Pruning Group B1. Niobe. Dark, ruby-red flowers. Four to six inch diameter. Grows six to eight feet tall. Blooms from June through September. Pruning Group B2 or C. Pink Champagne. Purple-pink flowers. Six to eight inch diameter. Blooms from June through September. Grows seven to nine feet tall. Pruning Group B1. Ramona. Lavender-blue. Five to seven inch diameter. Blooms June through September. Very vigorous vine will grow ten to fifteen feet long. Pruning Group B2. Rosemoor. Large reddish-purple flowers. Five to six inch diameter.
Blooms May to September. Grows eight to nine feet long. Pruning Group B2. Rouge Cardinal. Glowing-crimson. Four to six inch diameter. Blooms from June to September. Grows eight to ten feet tall. Pruning Group C. Royalty. Purple-blue. Four to six inch diameter. Double blossoms. Blooms in May and June. Grows eight to twelve feet. Pruning Group B1. Star of India. Hybridized in the eighteen-sixties. Similar to Jackmanii. Purple with red bar. Four to six inch diameter. Blooms from June to September. Grows twelve to fifteen feet. Pruning Group C. C. tangutica Golden-yellow, drooping flowers.
Two inch diameter. Attractive seed heads in fall. Blooms June to September. Grows ten to twelve feet long. Pruning Group C. The President. Deep-purple. Six to eight inch diameter. Strong grower. Blooms June to September. Grows eight to twelve feet long. Pruning Group B2. The Vagabond. Deep-purple with shades of crimson on the center rib. Five to six inch diameter. Blooms late May to October. Compact four to five foot plant. Pruning Group B2. Ville de Lyon. Unique flower with carmine edge fading to lighter inner area. Four to six inch diameter. Blooms June through September.
Grows eight to twelve feet. Pruning Group B2 or C. Violet Charm. Rich, violet-blue. Seven to nine inch diameter. Blooms June to September. Grows eight to ten feet tall. Pruning group B2. Violet Elizabeth. Delicate mauve-pink. Six inch diameter. Double flowers in May and June, single flowers later in summer. Grows eight to twelve feet long. Pruning Group B1. C. viticella Polish Spirit. Deep-purple flowers. Three to four inch diameter. Blooms from June to September. Grows ten to twelve feet long. Pruning Group C. C. viticella Royal Velours. Rich, reddish-purple.
Two to three inch diameter. Blooms July to September. Grows ten to twelve feet long. Pruning Group C. Vyvyan Pennell. Best known of all the doubles. Violet-blue with reddish overtones. Six to eight inch diameter. Double flowers in May and June. Single flowers light-violet in mid-August. Grows eight to twelve feet long. Pruning Group B1. Walter Pennell. Unique color, shades of deep mauve-pink to carmine-pink. Six to eight inch diameter. Not fully double flowers. Blooms in May and June, with single flowers in late August. Grows eight to twelve feet. Pruning Group B1.
Warsaw Nike. Rich, velvet-purple. Five to seven inch diameter. Blooms from mid May to August. Grows eight to twelve feet long. Pruning Group B2. Will Goodwin. Lavender-blue flowers with wavy edges. Six to eight inch diameter. Blooms June to September. Grows eight to ten feet long. Pruning Group B1. Wisley. Large-bluish flowers. Four to five inch diameter. Blooms June to September. Grows eight to nine feet long. Pruning Group B2 or C. Try planting a clematis next to an old shade tree or pine tree. Let it grow up the tree and enjoy the surprise of blossoms at the top of the tree. Clematis can also be trained to grow into spring flowering shrubs (lilacs, forsythias, spireas), roses (bush types or climbers), or with other vines.
Add a little variety in your yard with the ‘Queen of Vines’.
Flower beds are the exciting part of outdoor gardening. They can turn bland and boring spots into enticing and alive spaces. They can be incorporated into any existing landscape design. People grow perennial flowers because they are such easy-care, dependable performers, and because they offer a wide selection of size, leaf texture, flower types, colors, and blooming seasons for your flower gardens. Many of the first flowers of the season are perennials – aubretia, basket-of-gold, creeping phlox. Perennials also give us the last colors of autumn – toad lilies, asters, and chrysanthemums.
Unfortunately, most perennials have a relatively short bloom period; 3 to 6 weeks every year. Selecting perennials that bloom at different seasons will give you color throughout the year. You can also add annuals, bulbs, and shrubs to complete the effect. With so many different species of perennial flowers to choose from, few people ever become completely familiar with all their options.
Annuals – Plants that complete their entire life cycle from seed to flower to seed within a single growing season. All roots, stems and leaves of the plant die annually. They may eseed and behave as a biennial or perennial.
Biennials – Plants which require two years to complete their life cycle. The first season is mainly leaf and stem growth, they do not flower their first season. During the second season, flowering and seed formation occurs, followed by the entire plant’s death. Biennial flowers are often confused for perennials because many of them self-seed and appear to live for many years.
Perennials – Plants that persist for many growing seasons; at least 3 years. You would think being a perennial, they would live forever. This is not always the case. While some can live for generations (peonies), others may only live 3 to 4 years (Delphiniums). Unlike annuals, many perennials usually don’t flower their first season when grown from seed.
One thing to remember is winter temperatures. Some perennials can withstand bitter cold winters that will kill others. A perennial flower in California may be considered an annual flower in Utah, such as Bougainvillea, Mandevilla, and Hawaiian Hibiscus.
Because your perennials will grow in the same place for many years, it is particularly important to do a good job of preparing the soil. Once planted, you cannot fix the soil as easily.
If you are beginning a brand new garden, work in two to four inches of organic matter (such as Harvest Supreme Compost or well-rotted compost) at least 6″ to 8″ deep, to improve the soil and add beneficial microbes. This is particularly important to improve drainage in heavy clay soils, or to improve water-holding capacity in sandy soils. Apply about 2 pounds of low-nitrogen fertilizer such as Dr. Earth Starter Fertilizer, 5-10-5 Flower Fertilizer or 5-10-10 Vegetable Fertilizer, per 100 square feet and work it into the top 4 to 6 inches of soil.
If you are planting a new perennial into an existing garden, dig a hole two to three times wider than its container. Mix 25% Harvest Supreme Compost into the soil removed from the hole, and add Dr. Earth Root Starter Fertilizer into the soil mix.
Carefully remove the perennial from its container by holding one hand over the top of the pot and turn the container upside down. Gently tap the bottom of the pot to loosen the root zone from the container and gently pull the pot away. If the container does not easily come off, it may be necessary to squeeze the container until the plant comes out of the pot. Place the plant in the hole so the top of root ball is at the same level as the top of the hole. If necessary, place a little soil back in the bottom of the planting hole to make sure the plant is not too deep. Many perennials do not tolerate being planted too deeply and may not grow very well, or they may even die. Conversely, perennials planted too high may not grow properly and are more susceptible to drying out.
Once the plants are at the proper height, fill in the planting hole with soil, gently packing the soil around the roots. After planting, it is important to water them well. For the first couple of weeks, it is important to keep the soil moist, but not soaking wet. Keep in mind that many new plantings do not perform well because they are either over-or-under watered. After four to six weeks, most perennials can tolerate less water.
Care and Maintenance
Your perennials have been planted Now What?
Blooming perennials in the garden are glorious – until the blooms begin to fade and you are not sure what to do with the plant. It’s misleading to think that once you plant a perennial flower you are done with it. To have great looking perennials, there is a good bit of maintenance involved.
Watering – While some perennials are drought-tolerant, many need plenty of water. If the soil dries out, it’s important to thoroughly soak the soil when you water, not just wet the surface. It’s also important to keep the foliage and flowers as dry as possible to prevent disease. Soaker hoses and drip irrigation do this well. If you use sprinklers, run them in the morning so that the plants dry quickly in the sun. Watering individual plants by hand requires patience; to apply enough water to thoroughly soak the soil.
Fertilizing – Most perennials do not require heavy fertilization. Fertilize with a low-nitrogen fertilizer (5-10-5 or 6-10-4) in the early spring, and again two more times at 6-week intervals. Keep fertilizer off foliage to prevent burning. You can use Osmocote or Dr Earth Organic Fertilizer to reduce possible burning. Fertilizing too much can lead to soft, leggy growth making the plants floppy. You don’t want to encourage a lot of growth near the end of the season either. The new shoots will get nipped in the crisp autumn air.
Staking – Some taller perennials tend to fall over, especially when they are heavy with flowers. To keep them upright, you can plant them so other plants help support them, or plant them next to a house or fence. Another alternative is to put stakes around the plants while they are small and, as they grow, fasten the plants to the stake. There are many decorative supports available to make your garden look perfect; link stakes, plant grids, cages, obelisks and even small trellises.
Pinching – Some perennials respond well to pinching — removing the growing tips by pinching off the small, developing leaves at the tips of the stems. This makes the plant shorter and bushier. Chrysanthemums respond especially well to pinching them back.
Thinning – This helps increase air circulation and prevent diseases, especially in those prone to mildew and leaf spots. When the plants are about 25% to 50% of their full height, cut half of the stems to ground level. This can also increase the stem strength and the flower size.
Pruning after Flowering – Some early bloomers, such as creeping phlox, candytuft, and rockcress, may bloom again if sheared back immediately after their first bloom. Try this also with midseason bloomers; yarrow, ladies’ mantle, Shasta daisy, delphinium, cranesbill (geranium), catmint, salvia, and veronica. Depending on species, most late-summer and fall bloomers do better with less aggressive pruning.
Dis-budding – With some perennials, especially those used for cut flowers such as peonies and chrysanthemums, you can encourage fewer but larger blooms by removing the smaller lateral flower buds. This forces plants to put more energy into the terminal bud. Or, you can remove the terminal bud and encourage more of the smaller lateral flowers.
Dead-heading – Remove spent flowers after the blossoms start to fade. This keeps the plants from wasting energy on seed production, and keeps them looking neat. In some species, dead-heading can encourage another flush of flowering. It also prevents perennials that reseed aggressively from spreading where you don’t want them. As a general rule, remove the faded blossom and stem down as far as the next healthy blossom, or set of leaves.
If you are trying to attract birds to your garden, don’t deadhead species with seeds favored by birds. Be careful dead-heading biennials. Don’t remove the flowers before the seeds mature and have a chance to drop, or they may not come back next year.
Fall Care – Perennials should not be cut down as winter approaches. Instead let them die down naturally to avoid damaging the plant. However, you may want to prune them lightly towards the end of fall to remove any diseased, damaged, or dying foliage.
Many perennials go completely dormant and die back to the ground each year. After they are dormant, you can cut these perennials perennials back to about 3 inches from the ground. Any closer may damage crowns. Remove debris from the garden to help prevent diseases.
Other perennials, such as ornamental grasses, upright sedums, and ferns, are often trimmed in the spring allowing the foliage to provide some interest to the winter landscape. In addition to adding winter interest, some perennials overwinter better if left uncut. The uncut stems and leaves add an extra layer of insulation.
Winter-Mulching – Many perennials benefit from a protective layer of mulch to help them overwinter. Wait until after several killing frosts and the soil is cold. If you apply mulch too early, it will hold warmth in the soil and some plants may break dormancy and start growing again. This new growth will be killed by cold weather. Spreading mulch too thickly over the crowns can trap too much moisture, and encourage them to rot. In the spring, be sure to remove mulch gradually when plants begin growing.
Dividing – With age, many perennials won’t grow as vigorously as they did when you first planted them; and they flower less. The center of the clump may appear dead, with little or no new growth. When this happens, it’s a good sign that the plant is ready to be divided. The best time and method of dividing perennials varies with species. In most cases, you divide plants when they are dormant, either early in the season before they break dormancy, or in the fall so that the roots can settle in before the ground freezes.
In most instances, dig out the entire plant, wash the soil off the roots, and cut or pull them apart into several pieces. Sometimes this can be quite difficult, especially with older plants and with ornamental grasses. Replant the newer, more vigorous roots and discard the older or diseased parts.
Achillea (Yarrow) Very hardy plant that does well in most areas. Will grow in hot dry gardens very well. Re-seeds well and spreads fast. Divide regularly to keep under control. Good cut flower for dried arrangements. Varieties 40+
Cerise Queen – cherry-pink clusters of flowers. 18″-24″ Coronation Gold – Golden yellow flowers 30″-36″ Lavender Beauty – Pale-Lavender flowers. 18″-24″ Moonshine – bright canary-yellow flowers. 18″-24″ Paprika – cherry-red, gold centered flowers, later fading to light pink and creamy yellow. 18″-24″ Summer Pastels – pastel shades, from white through to cream, yellow, pink, salmon, mauve and red. 18″-24″ Roseum – Large heads of rose-red flowers. 20″ -24″ Saucy Seduction – rose-pink flowers, each with a tiny white eye.
Acontium (Monkshood) Showy plants grow 3′-5′ tall. Deep green leaves with flower spikes rising above the leaves in late summer. Shades of blue and purple. Good cut flower. All parts of this plant are poisonous, may cause skin rash. Deer Resistant. Varieties 12+
Aegopodium (Bishop’s Weed, Snow-on-the-mountain) Extremely vigorous and spreads fast; may become weedy. Light green leaves edged with white. Likes cool shady areas with plenty of moisture. White flowers are unattractive and rise above foliage, remove as desired. Mow to ground if plants become unsightly. Some plants may change into a lighter-color-edged variety, or some may even develop completely solid-colored-leaves. You can prevent this color change by dividing clumps occasionally; removing any plants that exhibit any color variations or changes. 14″-18″
Ajuga (Bugleweed) A fast growing groundcover that will grow well in most areas. Good under trees, as a border or in rock gardens. Grows 4″-6″ tall. Blue flowers on 6″ spikes. Blooms April-May. Remove faded flowers. Deer Resistant. Varieties 19+
Bronze Beauty – bronzy leaves in sun, fading to green in shade. Burgundy Glow – variegated leaves, burgundy, white & green Dixie Chips – green, cream, and rose-purple variegated leaves. Chocolate Chips – dark green leaves, overlaid with chocolate-brown, Catlin’s Giant – variegated long purple and green leaves.
Alcea (Hollyhock) Biennial or short-lived perennial. They re-seed readily. Tall plants, great for backgrounds. Likes full sun. Good cut flower. Attracts Butterflies and hummingbirds. Varieties 25+ Chaters Double Tall spikes, 4′-6′ tall. Double ball-shaped flowers in July. Assorted colors of yellow, pink, white and scarlet. Powderpuff Large double flowers on 4′-5′ spikes. Mixture of colors. Single Many common varieties with a single row of petals. Grows very easy from seed.
Alchemilla (Lady’s Mantle) Low growing perennial for shady areas. Large rounded leaves. Greenish-yellow flowers in the spring. Re-seeds very well. Grows 6″-12″-18″ tall. Good cut flower. Varieties 5+
Anacyclus (Matt Daisy, Mt. Atlas Daisy) Low growing, dense plant with small white daisy flowers. Single row of petals with yellow center. Blooms mid summer. Good in hot, dry rock gardens. Not a long-lived plant, but will self-seed.
Anenome Pulsatilla (European Pasqueflower) Bell-shaped flowers in April-May. Fern-like leaves give variety to garden. Several colors available. Drought Tolerant once established . Grows 8-10 inches tall. Deer Resistant. Varieties 5+
Antennaria (Pussy-toes) Low growing groundcover great for hot, dry areas. Pink or white flowers late-spring. Grows 1″-3″ tall and spreads quickly. Varieties 5+
Anthemis (Golden Marguerite) Showy bright yellow, orange or white daisy flowers during the summer. Likes hot, dry and infertile soil. Good cut flower. Remove old blossoms to encourage new flowers. Deer Resistant. 24″-36″ Varieties 6+
Aquilegia (Columbine) Attractive ferny leaves with long flowers. Pastel shades of pink, white, yellow, red and blue. Likes cool semi-shaded areas to bloom best. Likes plenty of moisture. Blooms early spring and summer. Good cut flowers. Varieties 45+
Biedermeier Compact plants, 9″-12″ tall. Flowers have a wide range of pastel colors. Cameo A dwarf, 6″ variety, with large beautiful flowers and prolonged spring blooming. Clementine – fluffy double flowers that resemble a small Clematis bloom. Grows 16″ – 20″ tall. Dragon Fly Mixed pastel shades and bicolors. Grows 18″-24″ tall. McKana Hybrid Tall growing plants. 24″-30″. Wide range of colors. Music Mix Many colors available. A short compact series, 18″-20″ tall. Songbird Mix -Dramatic shaped flowers in lovely shades of light blue, rose and white. Grows 24″ tall.
Arabis (Rock Cress, Wall Cress) Large clusters of small flowers early in the spring. Good for rock gardens, perennial flower gardens or as a border. Grows 6″ tall. Varieties 12+
Pink Charm – Pink flowers. Snow Cap – Pure white flowers. Compinkie – Small rose-pink flowers for several weeks. Red Sensation – sweetly fragrant, deep cherry-pink flowers.
Armeria (Common Thrift, Sea Pink) Small evergreen mound great for rock gardens. Small pink balls of flowers rise above the leaves. Blooms in June. Grows 6″ tall. Varieties 12+
Artemisia Silvery-gray leaves give nice color to the garden. Likes hot, dry areas. Very drought tolerant once established. Leaves die to the ground each fall. Trim dead branches in spring to maintain size and appearance. Varieties 14+
Silver Brocade – A compact plant growing 10″-15″ tall. Silvery-white scalloped leaves, not as finely divided as silver mound. Silver Mound – A compact plant growing 8″-12″ tall. Great for hot dry rock gardens. Davids Choice – Leaves even finer than ‘Powis Castle’. Small and compact 8″ – 12″ tall x 3 feet wide. Powis Castle – upright mound of fine silvery-gray leaves, with a mild camphor fragrance. 22″ – 27″ tall.
Aruncus (Goat’s Beard, Bride’s Feather) Tall white feathery plumes bloom in June and July; resembles Astilbe. Grows 5′ tall, needs lots of space. Good cut and dried flower. Varieties 4+
Asclepias (Butterfly Flower) Brilliant orange flowers in July and August. Attracts Butterflies, Bees and Hummingbirds. Grows 2′ tall. Deer Resistant. Nice for dried flowers and arrangements. Poisonous if eaten. Varieties 4+
Hello Yellow – clusters of golden-yellow flowers in mid to late summer. Soulmate – clusters of cherry-pink flowers with a tiny white center.3′-4′ Aster (Michaelmas Daisy) Small daisy-like flowers from August to October. Adds variety to your fall color scheme. Multiply rapidly, are useful in hardy borders, especially with chrysanthemums because of similar bloom time. Varieties 55+ Alert – Dark red flowers. Grows 12″-15″ tall. Blooms in August. Alpine – Purple flowers mid-summer. Grows 6″ tall. Goliath – Light blue flowers. Grows 15″ tall. Blooms June-July. Pink Bouquet – Pink Flowers. Grows 12″ tall. Blooms late-summer. Prof. Kippenburg – Bright blue flowers. Grows 12″-15″ tall. Blooms in August. Red Star – Rose-red Flowers. Grows 12″-15″ tall. Blooms in August. Wartburg Star – Lavender flowers. Grows 24″ tall. Blooms late-summer.
Astilbe (Feather Flower, False Spirea) Fluffy spikes of various shades of white, pink, and red. Blooms from June through July. Good cut flower and dried flower. Ferny type leaves add variety to the garden all summer. Prefers moist areas in partial shade. Likes acid soil conditions. Does not like hot or dry locations. Varieties 55+
Aubretia (Purple Rock Cress) Low growing border plant that blooms early in the spring. Dark purple, red and blue shades give a wide variety of colors. Blooms with Creeping Phlox, and arabis in April-May. Grows 3″ – 6″. Varieties 20+
Aurinia (Basket-of-gold) Blooms early spring. Mass of bright yellow flowers. Drought tolerant; do not over-water during the summer. Nice for rock gardens, rock walls, or hillsides. Trim flowers after blooming to keep compact. Varieties 6+
Compacta Bright yellow flowers on dwarf plants. Grows 10″-12″ Tall; tight, compact, and very attractive Saxatilis Bright yellow flowers. Grows 18″-24″ Tall. Trim flowers after blooming to maintain appearance.
Baptisia (False Indigo) Bushy plants grow 3′-5′ tall. Blooms early-summer. Starts growing early-spring. Bluish-green leaves, blue clusters of pea-shaped flowers. Good cut flower. Varieties 35+
Bellis (English Daisy) Tender perennial or biennial. Reseeds well. Flowers early-spring. Shades of white, pink and red. Grows 6″ tall and spreads well. Remove dead flowers to stimulate continual blooming. Varieties 12+
Pomponette mix – cute little button-like flowers. 4″-6″ tall. Bellissima mix – cute little double button flowers of bright red, pink or white. Grows 6″ – 8″ tall. Monstrosa mix – Especially large blooms, the petals curled or “quilled” . Grows 4 – 6″ tall.
Bergenia (Cabbage Plant, Saxifrage) Large cabbage shaped leaves, turn reddish in fall. Early spring flowers rise above leaves. Bell-shaped flowers range from white to red. Good cut flower. Grows 10″-18″ tall.
Brunnera (Perennial Forget-me-not) Large heart shaped leaves. Small blue flowers resembling Forget-me-nots. Blooms June-July. Likes sun or shade but needs plenty of moisture. Blooms better and longer in partial shade. Grows 12″ to 18″ tall. Varieties 13+
Macrophylla – Large, dark-green leaves. May reseed into other areas. Jack Frost – Heart-shaped silver leaves, veined with mint-green. Tolerates more direct sun that most other variegated types. Silver Heart – Leaves are silver with green edging and veining Variegata – Heart-shaped, green leaves, boldly splashed with creamy-white margins and edges.
Campanula (Bell Flowers) A group of biennials and perennials that like moist, well drained soil. They grow in the sun but prefer cool conditions. Many, many varieties 60+.
Blue Clips (Carpactica)– Light green leaves with blue cupshaped flowers. Grows 8″-10″ tall. Blooms June-September if dead blossoms are removed. Likes cool areas. White Clips (Carpactica) – Light green leaves with white cupshaped flowers. Grows 8″-10″ tall. Great for rock gardens. Superba (Glomerata) – Large clusters of white or purple flowers. Grows 20″ Tall. Blooms June-July. Tolerates some heat. Canterbury Bells, Cup and Saucer Biennial. – Bell-shaped flower with a row of petals looking like a saucer. Blooms in May-June. Does not re-seed well. Grows 30″-48″ tall. Peach-leafed Bluebell (Persicifolia) – Grows 3′ tall. White or blue flowers. Serbian Bellflower (poscharskyana) – Grows 18″-24″‘ tall. Olympia (Rotundifolia) Blue bells of Scotland – Bright blue bells about 1″ long in clusters. Blooms July-September. Grows 12″-18″ Tall.
Centaurea (Cornflower, Bachelor Button) Grows best in full sun with well-drained soil. Good specimen plants and as borders. Good cut flowers. Varieties 9+
Montana Blue Blooms early summer. Grows 18″-24″ tall. Likes sunny area. Grey-green foliage. Deep blue flowers with an unusual texture. Good cut flower.
Dealbata (Persian cornflower) Blooms late-spring. Grows 18″-30″ tall. Likes full sun. Pretty lavender-pink flowers, 2″-3″ diameter, nice for cutting.
Centaurea Macrocephala (Armenian Basket Flower) Yellow, globe-like flowers mid-summer. Grows 3′-4′ tall. Good background perennial. Good cut, fresh or dried flower.
Centranthus (Red Valerian, Jupiter’s Beard) Vigorous, hardy perennial for this area. Grows well in hot, dry and infertile soils. Grows 18″-24″ tall. Blue-green leaves. Showy clusters of red, fragrant flowers. Blooms late spring and summer. Trim flowers to stimulate continued blooming. Good cut flowers. Attracts butterflies, deer resistant.
Cerastrium (Snow-in-summer) Fast growing groundcover for sunny areas. Silvery-gray foliage adds color to garden. White blossom above foliage appear in June. Remove spent blossoms. Grows 6″-9″ tall.
Ceratostigma (Plumbago, Leadwort) Fast growing groundcover for a sunny area. Dark blue flowers from August through October. Leaves turn reddish in fall. Grows 8″ tall. Very late to emerge in spring. Deer resistant.
Chelone (Pink Turtlehead) Dark green leaves with flowers rising above the leaves. Likes moist areas with cool temperatures. Rose-pink flower spikes in the late-summer. Blossoms may last four weeks. Grows 24″-30″ tall. Varieties 3+
Chrysanthemum Showy and reliable perennials for borders, massed plantings or backgrounds. Likes full sun, little fertilizer and well drained soil. Too much water or fertilizer stimulates tall growth. Blooms naturally from late-summer through frost, depending upon varieties. All colors available except blue. Please read our Chrysanthemum Handout for more information. Varieties 100+
Cushion – Double flower form. Grows 12″-20″ tall. Daisy – Single daisy flowers with yellow centers. Height varies with variety. Decorative – Taller plants with double or semi-double flowers. Flowers larger than cushion type. Pompom – Free-flowering varieties, blooms early in summer. Small ball-shaped flowers. Grows less than 18″ tall. Button – Small double flowers, less than 1″, plants grow 12″- 18″ tall. Cactus – Tall plants with large, open flowers. Petals are usually thin and sometimes unusually shaped.
Chrysanthemum Coccineum –Tanacetum Coccineum(Painted Daisy) Foliage is bright green and ferny. Early summer blossoms. Shades of red, white, and pink. Grows 12″-24″ tall. Grows in cool areas, protect from hot afternoon sun. Cutting old flowers may stimulate fall flowers. May be a short-lived perennial. Attracts butterflies, Deer resistant. Varieties 4+
Chrysanthemum Maximum –Leucanthemum superbum(Shasta Daisy) A must for your perennial flower gardens. One of the best perennial flowers for sunny areas. Colorful white blossoms June-July. Remove faded flowers to extend blooming. Very easy to care for.
Alaska – Large, single white flowers. Grows 24″-30″ tall. Esther Reed – Double row of white blossoms. Grows 24″ tall. Little Princess or Silver Princess – Compact plants, 12″-15″ tall. Large single blossoms. Snow Lady – Dwarf plant, long lasting flowers. Grows 8″-12″ tall. Wirral Pride – Double row of white petals. Grows 3′ tall.
More Varieties (30+): Sunshine, Gold Rush, Broadway Lights, Victorian Secret, Sunny Side up, Snowdrift, Snowcap, Silver Spoons.
Convallaria (Lily-of-the-valley) Fast growing ground cover for shady areas. Grows 6″-8″ tall. White bell shaped flowers in May-June. Flowers are fragrant and are useful in flower arrangements. Warning: All parts of the plant—the stems, the leaves, the flowers and the berries—are extremely poisonous.
Coreopsis (Tickseed) Brilliant daisy-like flowers in spring and summer. Good cut flowers. Likes full sun and well drained soil. Remove faded blossoms to stimulate continuous blooming. Attracts butterflies. Deer resistant.
Baby Sun – Small plant, 12″-18″ tall. Bright yellow flowers. Early Sunrise – Grows 12″ tall. Double yellow flowers. Flying Saucers – large, single golden-yellow daisy flowers. 15″. Golden Showers – Fern-like foliage. Large, bright yellow flowers (2.5″). Grows 18″-24″ tall. Moonbeam – Very striking fern-like foliage. Grows 18″-24″ tall. Covered with soft yellow flowers from early summer to fall. Sunburst – Double yellow flowers. Grows 24″ tall. Sunray – Double and semi-double golden yellow flowers. Grows 18″-24″ tall. Zagreb – Very delicate, ferny foliage. Golden flowers. 12″-18″. More Varieties: (50+) Heaven’s Gate, American Dream, Superman, Imperial Sun, Sweet Dreams, Route 66, Solanna, Sunny Day, Stertaler, Golden Ball, Sunfire, Domino.
Crocosmia Cousins to the gladiola, these are hardy plants that produce clumps of green sword-shaped leaves, with tall, arching spikes of funnel-shaped blossoms appearing in mid to late summer. Deer Resistant. Varieties 10+
Lucifer – brilliant flame-red flowers. 3′-4′ Bright Eyes – large bright-orange flowers with a contrasting scarlet-red eye 18″-24″
Delosperma (HARDY ICE PLANT) Best grown in dry, well-drained soil, in full sun. This plant will grow poorly or die in any soil that is not well-drained: Avoid heavy clay soils. Tolerates average soils including sandy and gravelly ones. Water sparingly during the growing season. Plants have good tolerance for heat and drought. Small, daisy-like, 2″ Blossoms from June to September. Deer resistant. May not always survive harsh winters in Utah, especially if not covered with snow. Varieties 17+
Delosperma cooperi – Pink Ice Plant Delosperma nubigenum – Yellow Ice Plant Table Mountain – Fuchsia Ice Plant Oberg – Open pink then fade to white Osberg – white starry flowers with yellow eyes
Delphinium (Larkspur) Colorful, elegant flower spikes rise above clumps of leaves. Likes fertile, well-drained soil, and full sun. Stake taller plants. Trim fading flowers to encourage new flower development. Often a short-lived perennial (plants live 2 to 3 years), aggravated by excess water in winter. Good cut flower. Poisonous Plants if eaten.
Black Knight – Deep Violet flowers. Grows 4′-6′ tall. Blue Bird – Medium blue flower with white center. Grows 4′-6′ tall. Connecticut Yankee Assorted colors. Grows 30″ tall. Galahad White. Grows 3′-4′. Guinevere Pink. Grows 3′-4′. King Arthur Dark Blue. Grows 3′-4′. Magic Fountains Mixed Colors. Grows 30″-36″ tall. Pacific Hybrids Mixed Colors. Grows 3′-4′ tall. Summer Skies Light Blue. Grows 3′-4′ tall. More Varieties (45+): Princess Caroline, Blue Elf, New Millenniums, Summer Stars, Summer Nights, Summer Morning, Summer Cloud, Sweetheart, Super Stars, Sunny Skies.
Dianthus (Pinks) A wide variety of perennial flowers. Very colorful and have extended bloom periods, depending upon varieties. Likes full sun but many varieties will tolerate partial shade.
Brilliant (Deltoides) – Low spreading plants, good groundcover or rock garden plant. Grass-like leaves with small pinkish flowers. Princess Series Blooms early summer. Remove flowers and the plants will bloom again until frost. The princess series is available in scarlet, red, pink, salmon, white and purple. Spotty (Gratianopolitanus) Grows 6″-12″ tall. Red and white spotted flowers. Very striking color variation.
Spring Beauty Double, fragrant flowers early summer. Resemble a small carnation. Colors range from white, pink to red. Tiny Rubies (Gratianopolitanus) Compact plants grow 6″-12″ tall. Good rock garden plant or for borders. Blooms spring and summer if faded flowers are removed. Small, deep-pink flowers. Zing Rose (Plumarius) Low growing, almost groundcover, 6″ tall. Deep-red summer blossoms, may have prolonged flowers all summer. Excellent choice for hot, sunny sites Dianthus Barbatus (Sweet William) A biennial that reseeds well. Large clusters of small flowers in whites, pinks and reds. Blooms late spring. Blooms late-May. Variety of colors white, pink and red. Dwarf Grows 12″-15″ tall; Tall Grows 18″-24″ tall.
Dianthus Caryophyllus (Carnation) Hardy carnations do not have as large of blossoms as florist carnations. They are a short-lived perennial or annual in this climate. Protect them well in the winter. Grows 12″-18″ tall. Likes full sun. Graygreen leaves. Good cut flower.
More Varieties (100+): Starlette, Silver Star, Romance, Shooting Star, Raspberry Surprise, Passion, Star Cushion, Firewitch, Fire Star, Early Bird, Dessert Raspberry, Strawberry Sorbet, Flashing Light, Cranberry Ice, Vampire, Confetti, Coral Reef, Coconut Surprise. Candy Floss, Spangled Star.
Dicentra (Bleeding Heart) Likes cool shady areas. Needs plenty of mulch and moisture. Fertilize well early in the spring. Old-fashioned varieties have leaves that often die to ground in mid-summer.
Old Fashioned – Grows 24″-30″ tall. Pink flowers in May. (White variety is also available) Foliage turns yellow and brown late in the summer. Remove dead leaves in summer. A new plant will grow early next year. Gold Heart – the usual chains of pink and white locket flowers, but on a plant with stunning bright yellow foliage King of Hearts – Fern-leaf leaves, valued for their compact habit and long season of deep-pink blossom. 8″-10″. Luxuriant – Red blossoms. Blooms heavily in spring then occasionally until frost. Fern-like leaves add variety in garden. Will tolerate some summer sun. Zestful – Fern-like leaf. Everblooming pink flowers during the summer. Flowers are not as large as common bleeding heart. Grows 12″-15″ tall. More Varieties (19+): Fire Cracker, Ivory Hearts, Candy Hearts, Burning Hearts,
Digitalis (Foxglove) Tall spikes of tubular flowers. Most varieties are biennial. Good background plant. Blooms June-July. Good cut flowers. Poisonous if eaten. Ambigua – Perennial variety. Yellow flowers with brown inside markings. Grows 24″ tall.
Dalmation – Flowers first year. Mauve-Purple flowers. 3′-4′ tall. Ecelsior – Grows 4′-5′ tall. Pastel colors, Lavender-Yellow-Pink-Salmon-White flowers. Biennial that reseeds well. Foxy – More compact habit. Grows 30″-36″ tall. Has a range of soft pastel shades, cream – pink – rose. Biennial that reseeds well. Shirley – Tall biennial foxglove. Reseeds well in the garden. Mixed colors. Grows 4′ tall. More Varieties (21+): Candy Mountain, Camelot, Apricot Beauty, Summer King, Carillon, Polkadot, Goldcrest, Rusty.
Doronicum (Leopard’s Bane) Bright yellow, daisy- like flowers. Blooms late-spring. Prefers moist but well-drained soil. Will tolerate some shade. Dwarf or Tall varieties available. Grows 10″- 12″-18″-24″ tall. Leaves die back mid-summer. Excellent cut flower. Attracts Butterflies. Deer Resistant. Varieties 4+
Echinacea (Coneflower) Vigorous summer-flowering perennials. Likes hot, dry areas. Tolerates drought. Needs dry area during the winter. Grows 12″-24″-30″-36″ tall. Large daisy-like flowers with large raised centers. Removing faded flowers regularly will greatly increase the flowering period. Deer Resistant. Attracts Butterflies. Good Cut and Dried Flower.
Alba Creamy-white petals with greenish center. Bright Star Rose-colored flowers. Blooms well. Kim’s Knee High – mauve-pink with an orange cone. 12″-24″ Magnus – Rosy-purple flowers. 30″-36″. Pow Wow – magenta-pink petals surrounding an orange-brown central cone. 18″-24″ Tomato Soup – tomato-red petals surrounding an orange-brown button-shaped cone. 24″-30″. More Varieties: (80+) Henry Eilers, Little Henry, Black beauty, Sundance, Buttons and Bows, Sundown, Autumn Sun, Ruby Star, Double Decker, Big Sky, White Swan, Sparkler, Raspberry Truffle, Jade, Hope, Hot Coral, White Swan.
Echinops (Globe Thistle) Dark blue, globe shaped flowers mid-summer. Likes hot areas and tolerates drought. Good cut flower, especially for dried flower arrangements. Grows 2′-3′ tall. Attracts Butterflies. Deer Resistant. Not a weedy kind of thistle. May be trimmed to the ground in late fall, or left for winter interest. Varieties (5+): Vetch’s Blue, Star Frost, Blue Glow, Arctic Glow.
Erigeron (Fleabane) Grows well in sandy, infertile, well-drained soil. Grows 20″-24″ tall. Clusters of 1″-2″ daisy-like flowers. Good cut flower. Pink, blue, white, and lavender shades. Attracts Butterflies. More Varieties (10+): Albus, Sea Breeze, Prosperity, Azure Fairy, Darkest of All, Blue Beauty, Profusion.
Erysimum Cheiranthus (Wallflower) Biennial or Short-lived perennials in cold climates. Showy late-spring flowers. Fragrant flowers; yellow, orange, gold, mauve or red. Grows 8″- 12″-24″ tall. Drought tolerant once established. Attracts butterflies, deer resistant. Kotschyanum (Alpine Wallflower) Low mounding, bright green foliage. Fragrant Golden-yellow flowers. An excellent rock garden plant for sunny areas, and tolerant of hot, dry sites with poor soil. More Varieties (11+): Bowles’ Mauve, Yellow Bird, Apricot Twist, Fragrant Star, Patchwork, Fragrant Sunshine, Golden Bedder.
Euphorbia (Spurge) Spreading plant grows 12″-18″ -30″-36″ tall. Yellow flower bracts open in early spring. Pale green leaves turn reddish in fall. Grows in sun with dry soil. Has milky sap which will cause skin irritation. Some people may have an allergic reaction (Eye or Skin) to this plant. Poisonous if Eaten. Good Cut Flower, Deer Resistant. Tasmanian Tiger – Grayish evergreen leaves strongly edged with creamy white. 30″-36″. Tender in winter: Protect well or take inside. Ascot Rainbow – Grey-green leaves, edged in creamy-yellow and flushed rose pink. 18″-24″. Protect well or take inside. Polychroma Cushion Spurge – Bright, golden-yellow flowers, over a perfect cushion of light green leaves. 12″-18″ More Varieties: (20+) Blue Lagoon, Tiny Tim, Redwing, Shorty, Fireglow, Glacier Blue, Lacy, Excalibur, Bonfire, Martini. Ferns As a rule ferns like cool, moist areas. Some ferns will tolerate drought. Ferns sometimes take one or two years to develop a root system before they really start to grow. Ferns can add a lot of variety to your shade gardens. Mulch all ferns well during the winter. Please read our Fern Description Handout for More Information about ferns.
Gaillardia (Blanketflower) Daisy family. Vigorous plant in poor, dry soils. Likes full sun. Tolerates heat well. Shortlived in moist, fertile soil. Doesn’t like wet winter conditions. Divide every two or three years. Good cut-flower. Attracts Butterflies, Deer Resistant.
Arizona Sun – flame-orange daisies with golden-yellow tips. Blooms profusely even in the first year. Baby Cole – Dwarf plant. Grows 6″-8″ tall. Red center with yellow edges. Very prolific bloomer. Burgundy – Wine-red flowers. Grows 24″-36″ tall. Dazzler – Bright orange-red petals with golden-yellow tips. 24″-30″ Goblin – Dwarf plant. Red flowers with yellow tips. Grows 12″ tall. More Varieties (30+), Fanfare, Summer’s Kiss, Bijou, Torchlight, Tangerine, Sunrita, Commotion, Gallo, Mesa, Golden Goblin, Candy Corn, Arizona Apricot, Blaze.
Galium (Sweet Woodruff) Excellent groundcover for partial shade or full shade. Needs moist soil. Tiny white flowers in May-June. Grows 12″ tall. Leaves die to ground in winter. A useful herb as well. Gaura (Bee Blossoms) Grows 2′-4′ tall. Blooms a long time but only a few blossoms are open at one time. Likes sunny areas and will tolerate drought. Gaura varieties may not always be winter hardy. It flowers for the entire summer and fall, so you may consider using it even as an annual. Attracts Butterflies, Deer Resistant.
Lindheimeri – Very hardy. White flowers tinged with pale pink. Crimson Butterflies – rich pink flowers, held on red stems. 12″-18″ Passionate Rainbow – Green leaves, edged in cream and flushed with pinkish red. Small, deep-pink silky blooms. 24″-30″ More Varieties (15+) – Passionate Blush, Sunny Butterflies, Whirling Butterflies, Cherry Brandy, Rosy Jane, Pink Fountain, Perky Pink.
Geranium (Cranesbill) Good long blooming perennial for rock garden or border. Leaves make plants very attractive even after blooming. Likes sun or partial shade. Deer Resistant. Makes a nice bushy groundcover.
Alpinum – Showy blue flowers in June-July. Grows 16″ tall. Claridge Druce – Large lilac-pink flowers most of the summer. 18″. Johnson’s Blue – Vivid blue flowers starting in July. 15″-18″. Lancastriense – Low growing plant, 6″ tall blooms May-October. Light pink flowers. Sanguineum – Reddish-purple flowers June-September. Leaves turn red in fall. Grows 10″-12″ tall. More Varieties (70+) Ballerina, Mayflower, Stephanie, Blue Sun-rise, Dalmation, Carol, Memories, Wargrave Pink, Magnifica, Tiny Monster, Starman, Pink Penny, Splendens, Bressingham’s Delight, Summer Skies, Brookside, Ann Folkard.
Geum (Avens) Colorful spring and summer blooming perennial. Needs plenty of water, good drainage and protection from the hot afternoon sun. Remove faded flowers to stimulate more flowers. Good cut flower. Attracts butterflies.
Mrs. Bradshaw – Large double orange-red flowers. 24″-30″. Lady Stratheden – Golden yellow, semi double blossoms. 24″-30″. Totally Tangerine – large bright apricot to tangerine blooms. Mai Tai – apricot flowers with a rose blush. 16″-18″ More Varieties (15+) Eos, Red Dragon, Arends, Georgenburg, Fireball, Fire Storm, Bloody Mary, Blazing Sunset, Cosmopolitan.
Grasses Grasses have graceful beauty, varied forms, colors and textures. They make attractive plants for any garden or landscape. The design possibilities when using ornamental grasses are endless. Ornamental grasses are adaptable and grow in virtually every environment. They seem to literally thrive on neglect, as they take the heat, humidity and drought perfectly. Please read our Perennial Grass Handout for more information about the different varieties.
Gypsophila (Baby’s Breath) Popular for its airy, cloudlike display in the summer. Excellent in fresh or dried flower arrangements. Likes sunny areas with well-drained soil. Do not over-water this plant. Blooms in June-July and will bloom again if the flowers are cut. Deer Resistant. Varieties 7+
Bristol Fairy – Large clusters of double white flowers. 24″-36″ Perfecta – Large, double, white flowers. Grows 36″ tall. Pink Fairy – Tiny, Light-pink, double flowers. 18″-24″ Repens – Nice groundcover for something a little different. Small clusters of light pink flowers. Grows 5″ tall. Snowflake – Double white flowers. Grows 24″ tall.
Helianthemum (Sunrose, Rock Rose) Small shrubby perennial that does well in sun or partial shade. Small “sunny” pastel colors. Blossom only lasts one day but the plant is covered with buds. Shear plant after blooming to stimulate new set of blossoms. Drought tolerant but needs consistent watering during blooming period. Deer Resistant.
Ben Vevis – Single orange scarlet-eyed flowers. Wisely Pink – large single soft-pink flowers, over a mound of silvery-gray foliage. 6″-12″ Wisely Primrose – single soft primrose-yellow flowers, over a mound of silvery-gray foliage. 6″-12″ More Varieties (15+) Fire Dragon, Ben Ledi, Cerise Queen, The Bride, Annabel, Raspberry Ripple, Dazzler, Fireball, Cheviot.
Helianthus (Perennial Sunflower, Thin-leaved Sunflower) Looks like a sunflower. Grows 3′-5′ tall. Large 5″ yellow flowers in late summer. Attracts butterflies. Varieties 16+ Lemon Queen – soft-yellow, single petal daisy flowers. Tall & upright. Happy Days – bi colored daisy flower; yellow petals surrounding double golden eye 20″-24″ Salicifolius – Tall Stem with long, drooping, green willow-like leaves. Golden-yellow daisies. 30″-36″ Decapetalus Plenus – Double, golden-yellow daisy flowers. 20″-24″
Heliopsis (False Sunflower) Showy yellow sunflower-like flowers in the summer. Very long season of bloom. Grows 3′-6′ tall. Attracts Butterflies. Removing faded flowers regularly will greatly extend the blooming season. Varieties 10+ Summer Nights – single daisy flowers are golden yellow with a contrasting mahogany-red center. 3′-4′. Summer Sun – large, semi-double, golden-yellow daisy flowers with a brown center. 3′-4′ Summer Pink – Multi-colored pink, green and white leaves with purple veining on dark red stems. Large daisy-like yellow flowers.
Helleborus (Christmas Rose, Winter Rose) Clumps of leathery, evergreen leaves. Large cup-shaped white or soft-pink flushed flowers appear between Christmas and Easter. Somewhat slow to establish, but worth the wait! Do not like being disturbed, so avoid moving or dividing. Poisonous if eaten. Deer Resistant.
Jacob – Large, slightly fragrant, single, pure white flowers appear in late-winter or early-spring. Flowers gradually age to a light green and in cooler temperatures are tinted pink. 18″-24″ Red Lady – Lenten Rose – a close cousin to the Christmas Rose, and even easier to grow. Flowers appear in early spring, in shades of red. 18″-24″ More Varieties (70+) Green hellebore, Early purple, Winter Ghost, Yellow Lady, Peppermint Ice, Pink Lady, Onyx Odyssey, Blue Lady, Berry Swirl, Black Diamond, Apple Blossom.
Hemerocallis (Daylilies) Very hardy plants, require little maintenance. Adaptable to most types of soils and planting areas. Will tolerate sun or shade. Blooms June to frost, depending upon varieties. Please read our Daylily Handout for more information. Herniaria (Rupturewort) Known to be nearly indestructible, this is an excellent choice for growing between flagstones or growing as a lawn substitute. The tiny leaves create a dense evergreen carpet, becoming bronze in winter. Insignificant green flowers. 1″-2″ tall.
Heuchera (Coral Bells, Alumroot) Low growing mound with flowers extending above leaves. Small bell shaped flowers from late spring to early summer. Shades of red, white and pink. Does well in sun or partial shade. Needs well drained soil, especially in the winter. Grows 12″-18″ tall. Attract hummingbirds and butterflies, deer resistant.
Splendens – old-fashioned style of Coral Bells. 12″-18″ Bressingham Bronze – beet-red maple-shaped leaves, which hold their color in sun or part shade. Small creamy-white flowers. Fire Chief – leaves are wine-red. As the leaves mature, they develop maroon markings. Small bicolor white and pink flowers. 12″-18″ Lime Rickey – Leaves chartreuse in spring, turning lemon-lime in summer. Tall spikes of ivory flowers. 12″-18″ Mahogany – leaves begin deep purple in spring, aging to mahogany red during summer. Small ivory bell flowers. 8″-14″ Obsidian – smooth jet-black leaves. Creamy white flowers. 12″-24″ Purple Palace Ivy shaped leaves. Mahogany-red leaves fade to bronze-green in heat. White flowers in spring. 12″-18″. More varieties (100+) Paris, Dark Secret, Tara, Paprika, Velvet Night, Geisha’s Fan, City lights, Midnight Rose, Harvest Burgundy, Georgia Peach, Marvelous Marble, Volcano, Vienna, Tiramisu, Tara, Swirling Fantasy, Sweet Tart, Sugar Plum, Sugar Berry, Root Beer, Ring of Fire, Miracle, Mint Frost, Hercules, Hollywood, Kassandra, TOO MANY TO LIST. Hibiscus (Rose Mallow) Very hardy perennial for hot, sunny areas. Grows 3′-4′ tall. Plant dies to the ground in the winter. Very late to emerge in spring. Blooms from mid-August to September. Blossoms open for one day but the plant is covered with buds. Deer Resistant. Attracts Butterflies. Varieties 7+
Luna – compact variety with huge blossoms, Red, White or rose. 2′-3′ Southern Bell – Large blossoms, 12″ diameter. Red, white or pink. Lord Baltimore – has huge brilliant red blossoms. 3′-4′ Blue River II – snow-white petals, no contrasting central eye 2′-3′
Hosta (Plaintain Lily) One of the best perennials for the shade garden. Grows well in sun or shade, but prefers the cooler areas. Leaves are attractive from spring through frost.
Houttuynia (Chameleon Plant) Very striking heart shaped leaves. Yellow, green, bronze and red, depending upon light. Grows well in sun or shade. Grows 6″-9″ tall. White flowers in the summer. Will tolerate wet soil conditions. Can become very invasive if not kept in bounds!
Hypericum (St John’s Wort) Good groundcover or specimen plant. Grows 12″-15″ tall. Large yellow flowers in June-July. Will grow in sun or shade. Leaves turn purplish in fall. Good groundcover for hillsides. Deer Resistant. Varieties 7+ Albury Purple – dusky-purple leaves. Yellow flowers in mid-summer.
Iberis (Candytuft) Spreading, woody perennial great for borders and rock gardens. Grows 6″-12″-15″ tall. Trim lightly after blooming to maintain shape and stimulate new growth. Deer Resistant. Drought tolerant, once established. Avoid soils that stay wet in winter. Varieties 10+
Purity –good-sized white flowers for several weeks. 6″-8″ Tahoe – early-flowering selection, clusters of small white flowers. 8″ Snowflake – Pure white flowers late-spring to early-summer. 10″
Incarvillea (Gloxinia) Large, pink trumpet-shaped flowers in May. Likes cool, sunny area, protected from the wind. Good cut flower. Extend blooming season by removing old blossoms. 18″-24″. Needs good drainage, Avoid soils that stay wet in winter.
Iris (Flags) Showy sword-like leaves. Blooms late spring through summer. Needs well-drained soil. Hanging petals are called falls. Upward petals are called standards. Plant in full sun and divide plants every two or three years.
Bearded Iris (Germanica) These iris are easy to take care of and don’t require any special care. Do not over-water or over-fertilize. Grows 24″-36″ tall. Large blossoms mid-May. Divide in August to control size of plant. Dwarf Iris (Pumila) Dwarf form of bearded Iris. Grows 6″-18″ tall. Blooms early summer.
Japanese Iris (Kaempferi) These iris are beardless. They have a flat bloom and the leaves are narrower. Grows 36″ tall. Likes plenty of water during blooming period but not much water the rest of the year.
Siberian Iris (Sibirica) Medium size beardless flowers. Likes moist soil but will tolerate some drought. Blooms after bearded iris but before Japanese Iris. Grows 30″-36″ tall.
Kniphofia (Poker Plant, Red-hot-poker) Grass-like leaves. Likes hot sunny area. Will tolerate drought. Long flower spikes June-July. Colors range from yellow, orange and red. Good cut flower. Needs good drainage, Avoid soils that stay wet in winter. Deer Resistant.
Fire Dance – large scarlet and yellow flower spikes. 18″-24″ Flamenco – Large bottle brush heads; yellow, orange and flame red. 2′-3′. Shining Scepter – spikes of flowers in a beautiful golden-orange shades. 24″-36″ More Varieties (14+): Echo Rojo, Samuel’s Sensation, Royal Castle, Fire Glow, Creamsicle, Cobra, Bressingham Comet.
Lamium (Spotted Deadnettle) Grows twelve to fourteen inches tall. Perfect deer resistant groundcover to brighten a partly sunny to semi-shady spot. Vigorous without being invasive, Lamium produce dainty snapdragon-like flowers in colors from white, to pink to purple. Flowers appear in spring, then continue off and on until fall. Light green leaves with white center. Very colorful, attractive two-toned foliage provides interest even when the flowers are not in bloom. Leaves turn purplish in fall and die to ground in winter. Varieties 15+
Beacon Silver – Silver-white leaves with green margins. Pink flowers in May. 12″-24″ Aureum Yellow – gold leaf with a white center. Lavender pink flowers. Grows 6″ tall. Spreads slowly. Purple Dragon – small silver leaves with a wide green edge. Clusters of deep magenta-purple flowers White Nancy – Clusters of pure white flowers. 12″-24″ Lemon Frost – lemon-lime leaves with a central silver stripe. Clusters of deep lavender-pink flowers 6″-8″ Pink Pewter – Clusters of soft salmon-pink flowers. 12″-24″ Red Nancy – Clusters of purplish-pink flowers. 12″-24″ Ghost – silver leaves with clusters of deep magenta-purple flowers that appear in spring, then continue on and off until fall. 10″ Golden Nuggets – Beautiful combination of yellow-green foliage with silvery white stripes. Pink flowers add further appeal.
Lathyrus (Perennial Sweet Pea) Vigorous flowering vine for cool, sunny area or shade. Needs a fence or trellis to climb on. Showy white to rose-pink flowers from summer to fall. Remove faded blooms to extend blooming season. Allow some seed-pods to form. Good cut flower. Deer Resistant. Varieties 4+
Lavandula (Lavender) Evergreen gray foliage. Scented leaves and flowers are used in potpourri. Good border plant and small hedge plant. Some winter injury occurs to this plant, mulch well in fall. Blooms June through September. Flowers retain fragrance after drying. Needs good drainage, Avoid soils that stay wet in winter. Deer Resistant. Attracts hummingbirds. Varieties 25+
Munstead English Lavender – Grey-green foliage and bright lavender-blue flowers. Grows 15″-18″ tall. Hidcote English lavender- Compact selection has gray-green foliage and dark violet-purple flowers 12″-24″ Grosso French lavender – The most fragrant of all the lavender. Most hardy French lavender. 12″-24″ Other Varieties – not hardy but great as an annual flower: Lavandula stoechas (Spanish Lavender ‘Otto Quast’, ‘Strawberry Ruffles’), Lavandula dentata (French Lavender, ‘Goodwin Creek Grey’), Lavandula angustifolia (English Lavender ‘Coconut Ice’)
Leontopodium (Edelweiss) Silver leaves with silver bracts surrounding yellow flowers. Blooms July-August. Grows 6″-8″ tall. Good dried flower. Likes a sunny area with dry soil. Short-lived in home gardens.
Liatris (Gayfeather) Long flower spikes, good for fresh flower arrangements. Flowers bloom from the bottom of the spike to the top. The blossom lasts for a long time. Attracts butterflies, Deer Resistant. Varieties 3+
Kobold – Rose-lavender flowers in July-August. 18″-24″
Ligularia (Ragwort, Elephant Ears) Very pretty foliage. Needs plenty of moisture but doesn’t like to stay wet. Likes cool areas. Good for cut flowers and cut leaves. Deer Resistant.
Desdemona – Bronzy green leaves on upper side and purple underneath. Orange daisy-like flowers in July-August. 3′-4′. Othello – dark-green leaves with a purple backside. Clusters of bright golden orange daisy flowers. 3′-4′ The Rocket – jagged-edged green leaves. Purplish black stems rise above in summer, bearing long spikes of bright-yellow daisy flowers. 4′-6′ More varieties: (15+) Dragon Wings, Little Rocket, Bottle Rocket, Sungold, Little Lantern, Dragon’s Breath, Osiris Fantasia.
Lilium (Lily) Likes full sun or partial shade. Wide range of colors available. Blooming period is from June through September, depending upon varieties. Do not plant in wet area, they need good drainage. Let the plants dry out when the leaves begin to turn yellow.
Tiger Lily – Orange, yellow or red flowers with black spots. Grows 3′-4′ tall. Old-time favorite. Hybrid Lily – Wide array of colors from white, yellow, orange, red and shades of pink. Very easy to grow. Good cut flower. Asiatic Lily – easy, dependable perennials that put on a great show in the early summer border. 2′-3′
Limonium (Statice, Sea Lavender) Leathery dark green leaves at the base of the plant. Tall sprays of miniature flowers June-August. Great for dried flower arrangements. Likes hot, dry areas. Available in annual, biennial and perennial varieties. Attracts butterflies, Deer Resistant.
Linum (Flax) Clumping plants with feathery foliage. Blooms continuously from late-spring through the summer. Grows best in light, well-drained soil. Likes full sun. Tend to be short-lived, but re-seeds well. Drought tolerant once established. Deer Resistant. Yellow – Big 1″ flowers in summer. Doesn’t bloom as well as blue variety. Alpine Blue – soft-blue flowers. Blooming period can last 12 weeks. Grows 8″-12″. Blue Sapphire – Compact selection forms a bushy mound of small, ferny green leaves. Small sky-blue flowers. 10″-12″
Lobelia (Cardinal Flower) Vigorous perennial with brilliant summer flowers. Mulch well in fall. Showy red or lavender blossoms mid summer. Attractive to both hummingbirds and butterflies. Not usually long lived but will sometimes self-seed. Poisonous if eaten. Grows 24″ tall. Varieties 9+
Lunaria (Money Plant, Honesty Plant) Biennial but re-seeds well. Fragrant lavender flowers in May. Showy white, paper-like seed pods in July-August, resembling a quarter. Makes great decorations in a dried flower arrangement. Attracts butterflies. Prefers moist, shady areas. Grows 24″-36″ tall.
Lupinus (Lupine) Biennial or short-lived perennials. Tall spires of flowers. Likes sun or partial shade. Wide varieties of colors in June-July. Likes a moist soil. Plants live a few years and die out. Some varieties re-seed well. Good cut flower. Seeds and seedpods are poisonous. Varieties 11+
Russell Hybrids – Produces flowers in nearly every shade of the rainbow, including white, pink, yellow, red and deep blue. 2′-3′. Gnome – Dwarf plant. Bi-colored and solid blue, red, pink, and white flowers. 18″-24″ Popsicle Mix – This mid-sized mixture produces flowers in nearly every shade of the rainbow, including pink, yellow, red, blue and purple as well as lovely bicolors.
Lychnis (Catchfly, Maltese Cross) Upright plants with bright summer flowers. Good for borders or specimen plants. Good cut flower. Flowers are attractive to butterflies, and hummingbirds. Deer resistant. Varieties 9+
Alpina – Arctic Campion – low, tufted mound of narrow, grassy leaves. Clusters of tiny, bright-pink flowers in late spring. Short-lived, but may re-seed. Arkwrighti – Orange-red flowers mid summer. Grows 18″ tall. Rose Campion – fuzzy silver leaves. Double, blood-red flowers for most of the summer. Chalcedonia Maltese cross- Scarlet-orange flowers in June-July. 3′-4′
Lysimachia (Creeping Jenny) Fast growing groundcover. Good in moist areas. Tolerates full sun or part shade. Bright yellow flowers in July. Grows 4″-8″ tall. Bright green leaves.
Aurea – Bright yellow leaves with yellow flowers mid-summer. Monarda (Bee Balm, Bergamot) Aromatic mint-like foliage. Will grow in sun or shade but needs a moist soil. Blooms June-July. Grows 24″-30″ tall. A favorite of both butterflies and hummingbirds. Colors available in blue, red, scarlet, pink and white. Good cut flower. Deer Resistant. Varieties 19+ Grand Parade – shaggy lavender-purple flowers Prairie Night – deep mauve to rosy-purple flowers 3′-4′ Pink Supreme – magenta-pink flowers. The foliage is fragrant 18″-24″ Petite Wonder – Flowers are soft pink. Fragrant gray-green foliage. 12″
Myosotis (Forget-me-not) Biennial or short-lived plants that re-seed well. Small flowers in early spring. Likes partial shade or sun. Likes moist soil during blooming period. After flowering, discard all but a few plants, in order to produce seed for next year. Available in blue, white and pink. Deer Resistant. Grows 6″-8″. Varieties 7+
Oenothera (Evening Primrose) Spreading, shrubby perennial. Blossoms open in the evening. Likes dry soil. Tolerates heat but will grow in partial shade. Varieties 13+
Missouriensis – Large yellow, fragrant flowers. Blossom lasts from evening to the end of the next day. Grows 6″-12″ tall. Speciosa – Fragrant white flowers turn rose-pink with age. Plants are short-lived but reseed well. Grows 12″-24″ tall. Sundrops – Plants form a bushy, upright mound of bright green leaves, with satiny golden-yellow flowers that somewhat resemble poppies. 18″-24″ Cold Crick – makes a well-behaved clump that won’t take over the border. Flowers are bright golden-yellow, over a mound of green leaves. 10″-12″
Pachysandra (Japanese Spurge) Fairly slow groundcover for shade. Rich green foliage gives great appearance. Leaves turn yellow in hot sun. White flowers in May. Grows 12″ tall. Will grow as a ground cover under Pine Trees, Shade Trees, Under Decks and Porches. Paeonia (Peony) Likes full sun and plenty of water during blooming period. Leaves die to the ground each fall. Do not plant the tubers too deep or they will not bloom. Good cut flower. Grow 30″- 36″ tall. Please read our Peony Handout for more information Tree Peony Fairly hardy for this area if protected from frost during the winter. Mulch them well during the winter. Large blossom late May, two or three years after planting. Available in yellow, purple, red, pink, white, or two tone (red/white). Grows 48″ – 60″ tall. Please read our Peony Handout for more information Itoh peonies Hybrids between Tree Peonies and Herbaceous Peonies. Their blooms are large just like the tree peonies’ and the foliage is like that of the tree peony as well. Their stems die back in the fall and must be cut back just like the herbaceous peonies. Once established, Itoh Peonies have an extended blooming period, with as many as 50 blooms in a single season. Please read our Peony Handout for more information
Papaver Burseri (Alpine Poppy) Short-lived perennial that reseeds well. Semi-evergreen, gray foliage. Silky, fragrant summer flowers in white, yellow and pink. Likes cool areas, will not tolerate heat. Grows 8″-10″ tall.
Papaver Nadicaule (Iceland Poppy) Fragrant spring flowers. Pastel colors of yellow, orange, pink and red. Grows 12″-18″ tall. Short-lived perennial that re-seeds well. Removing faded flowers will encourage more buds to form, be sure to allow plants to set seed.
Papaver Orientale (Oriental Poppy) Hairy leaves. Grows 30″ tall and spreads wide. Blooms May-June. Likes full sun. Plants form a low clump of coarse, hairy leaves, and usually go dormant, disappearing completely by late summer. Divide every 4 – 6 years. Do not over-water.
Allegro – scarlet-orange blooms, with a black center. 18″-24″ Beauty of Livermere – deep oxblood red flowers. 30″-36″ Brilliant – scarlet-red blooms, with a black center. 2′-3′ Queen Alexander Pink More Varieties (25+): Blackberry Queen, Candyfloss, King Kong, Harvest moon, Storm Torch, Scarlet O’Hara, Royal Wedding, Prince of Orange, Pink Ruffles, Patty’s Plum, Dancing Girl.
Penstemon (Beard-tongue) Showy perennial for moist but well-drained soil. Likes sun but will tolerate some shade. Attractive to both butterflies and hummingbirds.
Elfin Pink – Tubular pink flowers in June-July. Drought tolerant, 12″-18″ Husker Red –Red spring foliage, turns green in summer. Whitepink flowers. 30″-36″. Needs average moisture. Pinifolius – Small pine needle-like leaves. Orange scarlet flowers. Grows 8″-10″ tall. Drought tolerant. Prairie Dusk – Rose to purple flowers in June-July. Drought tolerant. 20″-24″ Fire Cracker – Bright scarlet flowers. Drought Tolerant 12″-36″ More Varieties (20+) Mexicali red, Red Riding Hood, Purple Riding Hood, Pink Riding Hood, Blue Riding Hood, Prairie Twilight.
Phlox Paniculata (Garden Phlox) Fragrant, showy flowers in July and August. Grows 30″-36″ tall. Likes sunny area. Spray with Infuse to prevent powdery mildew, this plant’s only major problem. Do not sprinkle leaves. Great for late summer color. Good cut flower. Attractive to butterflies.
Blue Boy- Almost a true blue color. 30″-36″ Bright Eyes – Clear pink flower with red eye. 24″-30″ Fairy’s Petticoat – Light pink flower and dark pink eye. Coral Flame – fragrant flowers are vibrant coral-red, 20″ Fairest One – Light pink flowers, Grows 24″ tall. Orange Perfection – Bright salmon-orange flowers. 30″-36″ White Eye Flame – snow white blossoms with a rich red eye. 20″ Sandra – Scarlet flower. Grows 24″ tall. Starfire – Sweetly fragrant, Very bright red. 30″-36″ More Varieties (50+) Pink Flame, Lilac Flame, Wendy, Watermelon Punch, Tequila Sunrise, Purple Kiss, Sherbet Cocktail, Peppermint Twist, Neon Flare, Juliet, Harlequin, Purple Kiss.
Phlox Subulata (Creeping Phlox) Low growing, mounding groundcover. Great for rock gardens, groundcover or specimen plant. Blooms April-May. Available in pink, white, blue and red. Not available in Purple. Evergreen, needle-like leaves. Grows 6″ tall. Colors will vary with the soil pH and soil fertility. Varieties 25+
Candy Stripe – rose-pink flowers, each petal striped with white. Coral Eye– baby-pink flowers, each with a dark coral-red eye Emerald Pink – hot-pink flowers and has a medium-fast growth rate Emerald Blue – lavender-blue flowers Scarlet Flame – scarlet-red flowers, each with a tiny darker eye Red Wings – starry crimson-red flowers, each with a tiny dark eye
Physalis (Chinese Lantern) Papery, Orange, ornamental seed-pods, with red fruit. Good flower to dry for arrangements. Grows 24″-30″ tall. Grows in any garden, sun, shade or partial shade. Spreads rapidly from seed. Deer resistant.
Physostegia (Obedient Plant) Upright perennial. Blooms late summer and fall. This plant is named “obedient” because flowers will stay in place if physically moved. Good cut flower. Attracts butterflies. Varieties 7+
Pink Bouquet – Rose pink flowers in August – September. Grows 3′ tall. Flowers resemble snapdragons. 30″-40″ Summer Snow – Pure white flowers in August – September. 24″-30″ Variegata – light green leaves, splashed with creamy-white. Spikes of soft lavender-pink flowers. 24″-36″
Platycodon (Balloon Flower) Bell-shaped flowers. Bloom from July-August. Buds look like a balloon when they start to open. Compact plants, dividing is not necessary. Nice cut flower, deer resistant. Varieties 12+
Dwarf Blue- Large blue flowers. Grows 20″ tall. Pink – Light pink flowers. Color holds better in partial shade. 24″-30″ White – Pure white flowers. 18″-24″
Polemonium (Jacob’s Ladder) Likes cool moist areas, partial sun. Clusters of bell-shaped, white or light blue flowers in May-June. Grows 18″-24″ tall. Tends to self seed prolifically, but cutting off the spent flower heads will help to prevent this. Deer Resistant. Varieties 11+
Brise D’Anjou – variegated green and creamy-white leaves. Violet-blue flowers Snow & Sapphires – ferny dark-green foliage, each leaflet edged in creamy-white. 24″-30″ Heavenly Habit – Low, bushy mound of ferny green leaves, bearing loads of violet-blue, starry flowers, each with a white eye.
Potentilla (Cinquefoil) Grows two to four inches tall. Vigorous, green, strawberry-like leaves. Small yellow flowers bloom intermittently all summer, has an exceptionally long bloom season. Likes partial sun or shade. Outstanding groundcover for any area, including dry areas. Varieties 15+
Miss Willmott – Strawberry-like leaves; Strawberry-red flowers. Plants and flowers resemble strawberry plants. 12″-18″ Verna – Low growing plant with yellow flowers. Will bloom occasionally all summer in cool area. Verna Nana – Dwarf form of verna. Doesn’t spread as much, stays in a clump. 2″-4″ Monarch’s Velvet – clump of strawberry-like leaves, upright stems of rich, raspberry-red flowers with a black center. 12″-18″
Primula (Primrose) Good plant for shady areas. Blooms early spring. Will bloom a second time if blossoms are removed immediately after blooming. Magenta and blue, to red, pink, yellow and white. Do not over-water. 4″-6″ Varieties 58+
Double Primroses – They are easy to grow, and put on a tremendous show in the spring garden, their double rose-like flowers are available in blue, yellow, white, pink, rose and red. Candelabra Primrose – Colorful display of flowers arranged in tiers or layers on tall, upright stems. 16″-30″
Ranunculus (Buttercup) Good spreading perennial. Bright yellow summer flowers. Good informal groundcover. Likes cool, shady areas with plenty of moisture. Grows 6″-12″ tall. Double Creeping Buttercup – Plants form a thick mat of shiny, bright green ferny leaves. Small double bright-yellow buttercups beginning in late spring. Stems creep along the ground and root in where they touch.
Rudbeckia (Gloriosa Daisy, Black-eyed Susan) Tall, showy, long lasting flowers. Blooms mid-summer to fall. Daisy flowers have yellow-orange petals with dark center. Rapid growing. Likes fertile soil. Grows 18″-30″ tall. Good cut flower. Deer Resistant. Attracts Butterflies.
Cherry Brandy – large daisy heads with cherry-red petals surrounding a black eye. 20″-24″ Goldsturm – brown-eyed, golden-orange daisy flowers. 24″-30″ Cherokee Sunset – coppery-bronze daisy flowers with Indian red overtones, dark brown eyes and yellow tips. 18″-24″ Denver Daisy – large golden-yellow daisies, the black cone surrounded by a big mahogany-red eye. 18″-20″ Indian Summer – very large golden-orange black-eyed daisy flowers More Varieties (25+) Little Henry, Henry Eilers, Rustic Colors, Sonora, Irish Eyes, Goldilocks, City Garden, Autumn Sun.
Sagina (Moss) IRISH MOSS – Grows one to two inches tall. Needs adequate moisture and good soil. Likes cool sunny areas or semi-shady areas. Although this plant looks like moss, it is not a true moss and will not grow in soggy areas. It has dark green foliage. Small white flowers. Good for rock gardens and planting between stepping stones or pavers. Somewhat temperamental; tends to brown or die out occasionally. SCOTCH MOSS – An extremely popular groundcover plant, this forms a very low moss-like carpet of bright neon-yellow foliage. Tiny little white flowers begin to appear in late spring. Excellent for filling in between the cracks of flagstone paving. Likes cool, sunny areas or partial shade. Dislikes both drought and soggy wet soils. Sometimes melts out and becomes unattractive in mid summer. Not a good choice for full shade.
Salvia (Meadow Sage, Blue Sage) Grows best in sunny areas. Drought tolerant; do not over-water. Flowers and leaves have a slight fragrance. Good Cut Flower. Remove faded blooms to encourage repeat flowering. Attracts Butterflies and hummingbirds, Deer Resistant.
Blue Queen – Large spires of violet-purple flowers in June-July. 18″-24″. East Friesland – Violet-purple flowers in June-July. 16″-18″ May Night – Deep purple flowers in June-July. 18″-24″ Tri Color Sage – Showy purplish, green and white leaves. Violet- blue flowers. Leaves have sage fragrance.12″-18″ More Varieties (30+) Indigo, Sensation Rose, New Dimension, Lubecca, Blue Queen, Pink Delight, Eveline.
Santolina (Lavender Cotton) Likes hot, dry areas. Traditionally used as a low, fragrant silver-gray hedge around formal herb and flower gardens. Bright yellow button flowers appear in summer, but these are often clipped off. Deer resistant. 12″-18″ Green – Green aromatic foliage. Good for a small hedge. Trim up to 18″ tall. Small, ball-shaped yellow flowers.
Saponaria (Rock Soapwort) Good trailing groundcover for rocks, walls or banks. Showy pink flowers in the summer. Trim hard after blooming. Deer resistant. Drought tolerant once established. 4″-9″ Varieties 5+ Snow Tip – Plants form a low mound of bright-green leaves, literally smothered by starry white flowers in late spring Bressingham – grassy green leaves, studded with large rose-pink flowers in late spring. 2″-4″
Saxifraga Mat-forming perennial for cool sunny areas or shade. Spreads fairly rapidly. Pretty ferny leaves all summer. Small white, pink, or red flowers rise above foliage late-spring. May repeat its bloom during the summer. Deer Resistant.
Varieties (20+): rosea, neon rose, white mossy, Scarlet mossy, Cloth of Gold, Peter Pan, Purple Robe, Whitehill, Appleblossom
Scabiosa (Pincushion Flower) Grows 24″-36″ tall. Nice cut-flower. Gives variety to your garden. Blooms mid-summer and continues to fall. Color: whites, pinks, and blues. Center of flower looks like a small pincushion. Varieties 14+
Caucasica – The old-fashioned Pincushion Flower. Upright stems of large lacy blossoms in shades of blue, lavender, lilac and white. Pink Mist – Large soft-pink pincushion flowers begin to appear in early summer and continue blooming non-stop into late fall. Butterfly Blue – Soft lavender-blue flowers begin to appear in early summer and continue blooming non-stop into late fall. 12″-18″
Sedum Succulent leaves withstand heat and drought well. Great for hot, dry rock gardens. Many of the lower growing varieties make great groundcovers while the taller growing varieties add a unique variety to your garden. Varieties 86+
Autumn Joy (Spectabile) Large bronze flower clusters in August- September. Leaves die to the ground each winter. 15″-18″ Black Beauty – deep bronze to black foliage – the darkest-leaved Sedum available. Masses of reddish-pink flower heads. 18″-20″ Purple Emperor – deep purple, almost black leaves. Small salmon pink flowers. 15″-18″ Strawberries & Cream – purple-tinted green leaves on red stems. Pink buds open to green-centered white flowers. 12″-15″ Blue Spruce Sedum (Reflexum) Small blue-gray leaves that resemble a spruce needle. 4″-6″ Brilliant (Spectabile) Large rose-pink flower clusters in August- September. Leaves die to the ground each winter. 15″-18″ Dragon’s Blood (Spurium) Low growing groundcover. Leaves are red in sun, greenish in the shade. Red flowers in June-July. Remove flowers after blooming to maintain appearance. 3″-4″ Old Maid’s Curl (Globosum) Small globular, puffed leaves. Not as hardy as other sedums. 3″-4″ Stonecrop (Brevifolium) Fast growing. White summer flowers. Trim hard after blooming. 3″-4″ Tricolor (Spurium) Low growing groundcover. Red and white leaves with small pink flowers in June. 4″-6″ Utah (Acre) Low growing groundcover. Small green leaves with yellow flowers in June-July. Remove blossoms to keep nice appearance. 2″-4″ Variegated Sedum (Kamtschaticum) Small pale green leaves tinged with white and pink. 4″-5″. Angelina – Grows three to six inches tall. Brilliant chartreuse-yellow, needle-like foliage. 4″-5″
Sempervivum (Hen & Chicks) They grow in a wide variety of soils. They tolerate drought well. Use in rock gardens, in borders or edging. Needs very little soil to grow in. Wide array of colors and leaf size 60+ varieties. Varieties: Cobweb, Candy Floss, Bediver, Wendy, Grey Lady, Icicle, Red Heart, Red Beauty, Limelight, Forest Frost, Minus, Sioux, Smaragd, Royal Ruby, Red Heart, Just to name a few.
Solidago (Goldenrod) Very vigorous plant that may become invasive. Golden yellow flowers late summer and fall. Good cut flower. Grows 1′-2′ tall. Likes the sun and a dry soil. Attractive to butterflies. Deer Resistant. Varieties 7+
Stachys (Lamb’s Ear) Soft, woolly, silver-gray leaves. Has the shape and texture of a lamb’s ear. Likes full sun. Doesn’t like a wet soil. Nice to add color to your flower garden. Upright spikes of magenta-pink flowers form in early summer, but these should be clipped off to maintain a tight, compact habit. 12″-24″ Varieties 10+.
Stokesia (Stoke’s Aster) Very easy to grow perennial. Very striking summer flowers. Good cut flower. Remove faded flowers to encourage more buds to form. Deer Resistant. Varieties 5+ Peachie’s Pick – lavender-blue, stokesia- type flowers but they bloom longer and a bit later in the season. 16″-18″ Colorwheel – large, shaggy flowers that open white and then age to deep mauve purple. 10″-12″ Blue Danube – Deep lavender-blue daisy-like flowers. Flowers are 3″-4″ across. Blooms from July to frost. 12″-18″
Teucrium (Germander) Dwarf shrubby plant used in low borders and ornamental designs. Grows 6″-18″ depending upon pruning. Pink flowers attract bees & butterflies. Deer Resistant.
Lemon & Lime – chartreuse-yellow leaves, each striped or streaked with green in the middle. Small spikes of frothy lavender-mauve flowers. 24″-30″ Summer Sunshine – bright yellow leaves in spring, fading to chartreuse in summer when short spikes of pink flowers appear.
Thymus (Thyme) Thymus (Thyme) Low growing aromatic herbs. Good in rock gardens, or groundcovers. Like sunny areas but will tolerate partial shade. Deer Resistant. 20+ varieties.
Elfin – Foliage is gray-green, smothered by soft-pink flowers in early summer. A slower growing form. 1″-2″ Lemon – Lemon fragrance on leaves. Light green leaves. Pink flowers. 12″ Gold Edge – lemon-scented green leaves, variegated with golden- yellow. Clusters of lilac-pink flowers. 10″-12″ Mother of Thyme – Grows four to six inches tall. Small purplish flowers in June. Grows well between stepping stones, brick pavers, or where a filler is needed. Tolerates light foot traffic. Small, dark-green leaves, very fragrant when crushed. Likes full sun. Pink Creeping Thyme – Flowers are dark pink or red. It tolerates foot traffic, excellent for planting between stones in terrace or walk. Leaves are very fragrant when crushed, often used as potpourri. Leaves turn bronze in the fall. Grows two to four inches tall. Likes full sun. Water often. 1″-2″ Woolly thyme – Grows two inches tall. Small grayish leaves. Small pinkish flowers in summer. Use in rock crevices, between stones in walks, or where an attractive ground cover is desired. Tolerates heat well. 2″-3″
Tiarella (Foamflower) Maple-like leaves that turn reddish in winter. Whitish-pink flowers in May – June. Likes shade or partial shade areas. Will tolerate some drought. Grows 6″-10″ tall. Varieties (25+) Candy Striper, Sugar and Spice, Pirate’s Patch, Crow Feather, Oakleaf, Inkblot, Spanish Cross, Ninja, Dark Eyes, Neon Lights,
Tradescantia (Spiderwort) Narrow leaves. Prolific bloomer from late June through August. Triangular shaped flowers over a clump of grassy leaves. Likes sun or partial shade. Reliable, easy to grow perennial. Attracts Butterflies.
Red Cloud – Rosy-red flowers. 15″-18″ Blue and Gold – chartreuse-yellow grassy foliage. Rich gentian-blue triangular flowers 18″-24″ Sunshine Charm – bright golden-yellow to chartreuse leaves Lovely mauve-purple triangular flowers Zwanenburg Violet-purple flowers. 20″-24″ More Varieties (20+) Red grape, Purple Profusion, True Blue, Hawaiian Punch, Concord Grape, Osprey, Pink Chablis
Tricyrtis (Japanese Toad Lily) Lily-shaped, white flowers spotted with purple. Likes shady area. Blooms in September. Grows 24″-30″ tall. 17+ varieties
Trollius (Globeflower) Large golden-orange buttercup flowers in June-August. Grows in sun or shade but needs a moist soil. Grows 30″ tall. Deer Resistant. Flowers will last a few days when cut. Shear plants back after blooming to encourage a flush of new leaves to last through the summer. Varieties 12+
Veronica (Speedwell) Hardy perennial with blue, pink, white or purple flower spikes. Remove faded blossoms to encourage further flower development. Deer resistant Good cut flower. Prune hard if they get floppy. Varieties 50+
Crater Lake – Gentian-Blue flowers from June-July. 12″-15″ Heavenly Blue – Light blue flowers. Evergreen foliage. Blooms May-June. Red Fox (Spicata) – Long flowering reddish-pink variety from July-August.12″-15″ Royal Blue – Blue flowers June-July. Grows 12″ tall. Icicle – White flowers. 18″ -20″ Repens – Low growing, 4″-6″ tall. Bluish spring flowers. Sunshine – Soft carpet of moss-like, golden foliage. Showy blue flower spikes. 1″-2″ Sunny Border Blue – clump of crinkled, dark-green leaves, bearing spikes of deep violet-blue. 12″-18″ More Varieties (50+) First Love, Hocus Pocus, Christy, Atomic Pink, Shirley Blue, Crystal River, Erica, Royal Candles.
Vinca Major (Periwinkle, Tall Myrtle) Grows eighteen to twenty four inches tall. Rapid grower, can become a weed. Dark green leaves with lavender flowers in the spring. Grows well in shade, partial shade or full sun. Needs plenty of moisture in full sun.
Variegated Vinca Major – Similar to vinca major but dark-green leaves have a white margin. Does not like full sun. Grows 18 to 24 inches tall. Not as hardy as common vinca. Needs winter protection. Needs plenty of moisture, even in the winter.
Vinca Minor (Dwarf Myrtle) Grows six to twelve inches tall. Spreads fast, can become a weed. Very hardy and one of the best groundcovers for any area. Dark green leaves with small blue flowers in spring. Likes shade, partial shade, or full sun. Needs plenty of water if planted in hot sun.
‘Bowles’ – blooms sporadically throughout the growing season. ‘Variegated vinca’ – creamy white-and-green leaves.
Viola (Violets) Good ground cover for sun, partial sun or shade. Prefers moist area with some shade. Grows fast and can spread to undesired areas. Fragrant flowers in April – May. Grows 6″-8″ tall.
Freckles – Pale blue flowers with tiny purple dots. 6″-12″ Royal Robe – Dark violet-blue flowers on long stems. White Czar – Large white flowers.
Zauschneria (Orange Carpet) – Low-growing mat of small green leaves, Small scarlet orange trumpet blooms from mid summer into the autumn. Flowers are attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies. An excellent choice for the sunny rock garden. Native to dry parts of several Western states, this plant really needs good drainage to survive wet winters. Drought tolerant once established. Deer resistant.
This is not a complete listing of perennial flowers by any means. New species and varieties are being introduced every year. This is just a sampling of the myriad of perennials flowers available.
Measure the area you want to cover (In Feet) and determine how deep you want to add bark, mulch or soil (In Inches).
Use the following charts to help you determine how many bags, or how many yards, of bark, mulch or soil you need in your garden.
You want to add 4 inches of bark, mulch or soil to a 20 foot by 20 foot garden area.
A standard-bed 3/4 ton pickup truck can usually carry 2 to 2.5 cubic yards of bark or mulches, but you need to consider the weight of each product before loading it.
A cubic yard can weigh between 800 and 2,000 pounds, depending on what product you purchase. A standard 3/4 ton pickup can safely haul 1,500 to 2,000 pounds.
In this example, you may need to make two to five trips to haul all you need. Bark and mulch doesn’t weigh as much as soil does.
Remember that a 1/2 ton pickup truck cannot carry as much weight as a 3/4 ton pickup truck, and, a short-bed pickup truck cannot haul as much volume as a standard-bed pickup truck.
Sometimes you need to buy tons of bark, mulch or soil, not just a few bags, to cover the area the depth you want to.
How To Determine Your Garden’s Area
Fill in the blanks and calculate the amount of Bark, Mulch or Soil you need to buy.
Coverage Chart for 2.0 Cu Ft Bags
Some of the most spectacular trees in the garden are from the Acer palmatum family – Japanese Maples. Some varieties have vivid spring foliage while others are more striking during the fall or winter. Some have yellow leaves, others have green leaves and still others have various shades of pink, red or purple leaves. Fall colors vary from yellow to orange to red. Starting in the early 1600’s many Japanese gardeners started cultivating and breeding Japanese Maples.
There are more than 300 different varieties or cultivars available today, ranging in size from 2′ tall mature trees, to 35′ tall by 40′ wide Japanese maples.
The biggest challenge in using Japanese maples in the garden is choosing the one you like the best because there are so many types, colors, shapes, and rates of growth from which to choose.
The ideal soil for Japanese maples is a sandy soil with plenty of organic matter in the soil.
Japanese Maples will grow in almost any soil condition as long as the soil does not stay soggy wet. The better the soil conditions are, the better Japanese Maples can withstand other poor growing conditions, such as wind, water related problems, heat stress, insect pests, and diseases.
Prepare your soil properly before you plant and you will not have as many problems in the future. Dig your hole at least twice as large as the rootball. Mix 20% to 30% Acid Planting Mix with the soil you remove from the hole, along with one cup of Dr. Earth Starter Fertilizer. This fertilizer contains Mycorrhizae and other beneficial bacteria that really help Japanese maples flourish in your soil. Don’t plant your Japanese maple too deep. Keep the graft at ground level, or a little above the ground. It is better to plant your tree too shallow than too deep.
Fertilize your new tree every two weeks for the first two months with Root Starter. Water your tree every day the first week. Make sure that you water it with a hose and not just let the sprinklers water it for you. After the first week, water your tree a least once a week with a hose. Give it 5 to 10 gallons of water each time you water, not just a cup or two. Again, don’t rely on sprinklers to water your tree the first summer.
Fertilizer and pH requirements
Japanese maples will grow in almost any soil pH but they prefer a soil with a slightly acid pH. Unfortunately we do not have acid soil conditions in Utah so you will need to make your soil more acidic. At planting time you can amend your soil with Acid Planting Mix to give your tree a quick start. After the first year you will need to apply sulfur, every spring, around the dripline of your tree to help keep the soil acidic.
High alkaline soil conditions prevent the roots from absorb- ing nutrients and water quickly enough to satisfy their needs, so the trees often show signs of leaf scorch even when the soil is kept moist. High alkaline soil conditions prevent Japanese maples from surviving in some conditions that the tree would otherwise tolerate such as ‘full sun’ areas, windy areas, or wet areas.
Japanese maples do not need a lot of fertilizer. In fact, too much fertilizer stimu-
lates too much growth and makes the tree more ‘leggy’ and weak. Fertilize Japanese maples once a year, in the early spring, with the same type of fertilizer that you use for rhododendrons, azaleas or other acid-loving plants. A monthly application of a soluble, acid-type fertilizer, from May through August, will also help keep the roots growing strong. Do not apply any liquid fertilizers directly to the leaves, it will burn them. Japanese maples flourish in the same growing conditions as Rhododendrons and Azaleas.
Japanese maples do not have any particular, or special water requirements, other than consistency. They can survive on limited water or with plentiful water, just as long as it is applied consis- tently. Do not give the trees a lot of water for a while and then drastically reduce the amount of water. The trees may struggle and the leaves may either dry up or burn. The opposite is also true, do not give the trees limited water and then dramatically increase the water. You may stimulate unwanted growth at the wrong time of year.
Water Japanese maples regularly, especially during the hot, windy weather of July and August. Do not sprinkle the leaves, or the water may actually burn the leaves instead of helping to prevent summer leaf scorch. Proper water management is one key to successful results when growing Japanese maples.
Most Japanese Maples prefer morning sun with some light afternoon shade. However, Jap- anese maples can grow almost anywhere in the yard. They will tolerate full sun, partial sun, or a lot of shade. The longer the tree has been planted in the yard, the more stress the plant can tolerate. A newly planted Japanese maple may struggle the first summer or two in the full sun. As the roots become established in good soil conditions, and the tree is watered and fertilized properly, the tree will grow just fine in most any area of your yard, including the hot, sunny areas. Green-leaf Japanese Maples tolerate the hot, sunny areas the best but many of the ‘larger-leaf’, red-leaf Japanese Maples will also tolerate the sun. The smaller laceleaf Japanese Maples will struggle in the hottest areas of the yard.
One factor to consider when you place your red Japanese maple is that they do need a little sunlight to maintain their brightest-red color. Too much shade minimizes the red shades. The leaves will not be as striking in the shade as they would be if the tree was planted in another area with more sunlight. Leaves tend to be greenish-red or a bronze color in the shade.
Japanese maple trees hate hot, dry winds. South winds are the worst. There is not much you can do to prevent damage from these south winds during July and August so keep your tree as healthy as possible. The best prevention for this leaf scorch is to water your trees during, or immediately following, a hot wind. This extra water may help minimize any leaf damage. Remember to keep the water off the leaves during these hot, windy periods.
Japanese Maples are very hardy. They can tolerate most winter temperatures when they are healthy. Most Japanese maples that die during the winter either die from root rot, or from the soil drying out too much during the late-fall or winter. Root rot is a soil disease that usually starts by keeping the soil too wet, for too long of a time period during the spring and summer. Many gardeners kill their Japanese maples with kindness.
More Japanese maples die from the hot-dry summer weather conditions than die from the cold winter weather. One factor to remember is that it can be 15 to 25 degrees hotter right next to a house than it is out in the middle of the lawn or garden. This temperature variation can be just enough of a factor that the tree will not survive in that sunny condition, right next to the house, but it will grow just fine in a sunny area out in the yard. The same is true for trees planted next to white vinyl fences.
Prune Japanese Maples as little as possible. Do major prun- ing just before the leaves emerge in the spring. Japanese Maples do not respond well to major pruning. They do not send out new leaves or branches on the old wood. Be sure that you make all major pruning cuts just above another side branch that already has plenty of smaller twigs.
Minor corrective pruning and shaping can be done all sum- mer. The only regularly pruning that might need attention is to remove any excessive ‘twiggy’ growth that makes the tree too dense, especially when it is young.
Japanese Maples are relatively trouble free. The biggest dis- ease problem is from the root rot diseases; pythium, verticillium or fusarium. Keeping your tree healthy is the best way to prevent root rot. Adding sulfur to the soil each spring also helps prevent many root diseases from becoming a problem. Keep your soil consistently moist and not constantly wet.
Aphids, spider mites, and beetle or moth larvae can be an occasional pest that may need to be controlled once in awhile. If all plants had as few pests as the Japanese Maples, gardening would be much simpler.
In many areas Japanese Maples are used extensively in containers on the porch or patio. In our climate they do not survive without some major winter protection. Many Japanese maple roots die if the soil temperature drops below 14 degrees F. If you can protect your Japa- nese maple, in its container, from getting below 14 degrees F., you can usually have Japanese maple trees grow and flourish in pots on your patio. You may have to move the pots into an unheated shed, put them next to the house, bury them in straw, or make a structure to hold straw around them during the winter. This straw may help to keep them above the critical temperature.
Another important part of winter protection is water. Do not let the container completely dry out during the winter months. Water it when it starts to dry out. The best way to water plants during the winter is with snow. As the snow melts just give the container another shovelful of it
Listed below are just some of the many varieties of Japanese maples that are cur- rently available. Not all of these varieties are
available all season long. Some varieties are not even available every year. Some of the more exotic varieties are scarce or in such high demand that their availability is limited from year to year. Sometimes we cannot even order any a year in advance.
The height and width measurements for each variety may vary tremendously. Water, fertilizer, soil, weather conditions, physical injury, and soil pH all influence how fast or slow a tree grows and to what ultimate height the tree reaches.
Acer palmatum Height 25′ Width 20′ The common ‘green-leaf’ Japanese maple is one of the hardiest varieties. It grows relatively fast and can tolerate a wide range of soil conditions and climatic variations. It is a vase-like tree. It can have single or multiple stems and it becomes rounded with age. The leaves turn yellow to red in the fall
Acer palmatum ‘Aka shigatatsu sawa’ Height 6′ Width 4′ A small tree with intricately patterned leaves which are especially attractive as they unfurl in spring. The leaves are deeply lobed with the margins being sharply toothed. It has light yellow, or yellow-green, leaves with dark green veins. It also has a pink to red blush.
Acer palmatum ‘Beni schichihenge’ Height 9′ Width 8′ The strongly variegated leaves of this cultivar are similar to ‘Kagiri nishiki’ and ‘Butterfly’. The green leaves have a pink-orange-with-white margin. This delicate-look- ing, small tree can be planted where it is admired up close, such as next to a house or in a Japanese Garden. The edges can sunburn during hot, dry, sunny, or windy conditions.
Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’ Height 15′ Width 12′ This is one of the most popular Japanese maples and deservedly so. This robust, upright tree has large, deep-red leaves which mature to a deep, rich-purple. It retains its color well, even during the heat of summer. The scarlet winged seeds are an extra bonus with this strong-growing garden standby. Its fall leaf color is crimson.
Acer palmatum ‘Burgundy Lace’ Height 10′ Width 8′ When you need a delicate red maple, consider ‘Burgundy Lace’. This small, low-branched, spreading tree has a generous canopy of burgundy-red, deeply-divided leaves with serrated edges. Its fall leaf color is red. It will sunburn in full sun or with hot winds.
Acer palmatum ‘Butterfly’ Height 6′ Width 3′-5′ This small, dainty, upright, vase- shaped tree has small, variegated blue-green-and-white leaves that are lightly tinged with pink. A good tree to consider for an elegant entry planting. In the fall, the white and cream margins become a blazing magenta. It grows best in partial sun or light shade.
Acer palmatum ‘Emperor I’ Height 12′ Width 8′ This extraordinary cultivar is sure to become the new standard upright Japanese red maple. The leaves have a typical palmatum shape and are a beautiful deep red with a transparent quality that gives them the appearance of stained glass with sunlight streaming through. It is a strong, vigorous grower with upright branching, developing a broad shape with age. The leaves hold their color well during the summer heat.
Acer palmatum ‘Fireglow’ Height 12′ Width 8′ Of the red, upright Japanese maples, this cultivar stands out for its cherry-red foliage which holds well throughout the summer. A refreshing alternative to the dark purple foliage of most ‘red’ upright palmatums.
Acer palmatum ‘Hogyoku’ Height 10′ Width 6′ This is the upright tree with all the typical ‘palmatum’ habits, leaf shape and color. The new growth is often thick and stubby, adding to the unusual appearance of this variety. During the summer the leaves are star-shaped, shiny, and dark green. The fall leaf color is dark, pumpkin-orange instead of the traditional yellow-orange leaf color.
Acer palmatum ‘Kagiri nishiki’ Height 9′ Width 5′ This upright, vase-shaped tree has small green leaves with pink and white variegated margins. The pink and white margins sunburn in hot areas, even in the shade. The leaves turn maroon in the fall. The habit is more open and arching, compared to the stiffly upright, twiggy ‘Butterfly’. The leaves are not uniform in shape so you can have a very interesting leaf pattern on a single tree.
Acer palmatum ‘Karasugawa’ Height 6′ Width 3′ You won’t believe it until you see for yourself. Dramatic, variegated leaves, light-pink new growth, with older leaves mottled white and pink. Some older leaves will have specks of green in them. The stems are also pink and cream streaked. Although somewhat tender, this is a most worthwhile plant. Put this tree in the most protected area of your yard; both from heat and cold.
Acer palmatum ‘Katsura’ Height 3′-4′ Width 2′-3′ It is one of the first Japanese maples to leaf out. The small, five-lobed leaves of ‘Katsura’ are brilliant yellow-orange, turning to a rich green. Fall colors are pastel tones of yellow and orange. This is a small upright dwarf tree. This tree does not like hot, sunny areas.
Acer palmatum ‘Linearilobum’ Height 12′ Width 10′ This green maple has narrow, deep- ly-lobed, green leaves presenting a light and airy appearance reminiscent of bamboo. There are many cultivars but they all have this very unusual appearance. They do not like hot, dry winds but they grow well in semi-protected areas of the yard.
Acer palmatum ‘Moonfire’ Height 12′-15′ Width 10′ This variety has purple-red, almost black-red leaves in the spring. The leaves hold their color well during the summer. The leaves turn crimson in the fall. It is a fast growing tree when young but it slows down with age.
Acer palmatum ‘Nigrum’ Height 12′ Width 10′ It has very dark, purple-red leaves which can turn black-red in some soil conditions. The leaves have a white pubescence as they unfold. The leaf color turns bronze-red in summer and then crimson-red in the fall. The tree grows fast when young but slows considerably with age.
Acer palmatum ‘Nuresagi’ Height 15′ Width 10′ A deep purple-red, upright selection. The leaves are similar in color, shape and size to the well known ‘Bloodgood’ but are held on the tree in such a way as to impart a more refined, airier canopy compared with the dense, heavy canopy of ‘Bloodgood’.
Acer palmatum ‘Okushimo’ Height 20′ Width 20′ Rich-green leaves turn golden-yel- low in the fall. The fall color is one of its most striking charac- teristics. It has a stiff upright vase-like appearance rather than the traditional umbrella-like shape of most Japanese maples. It grows fast when young and can become a large tree fairly quickly. It can tolerate pruning to keep the tree much smaller.
Acer palmatum ‘Omuryama’ Height 9′-15′ Width 12′-15′ This is a tree worth consider- ing. The new leaves emerge with a bright orange cast. They soon turn brilliant green for the summer. The fall color varies from golden-orange and crimson combinations. The outer branches cascade downward. It is not a weeping tree, it just has a fun cascading effect because the branches start upward and then hang down with age.
Acer palmatum ‘Oshio beni’ Height 20′ Width 15′ This medium-sized upright tree has bright orange-red, broad, seven-lobed leaves that turn bright scarlet in the fall. The leaves do not hold their color well in the summer. They turn bronze-green in the heat and will sunburn easily in the hot areas. Consider this lovely cultivar when you need a red maple for fine form and color in a partially shaded area.
Acer palmatum ‘Red Pygmy’ Height 3′ Width 3′ This cultivar has a broad growth habit; it may get as wide as it gets tall. It has maroon-red leaves which are exceptionally narrow. It will often produce large, palmate-type leaves on new wood. Don’t be alarmed, these branches will produce the normal, smaller leaves the following year. Many gardeners think the tree is reverting to another variety but it is just one of the distinctive characteristic traits of this tree.
Acer palmatum ‘Sango kaku’ Height 20′ Width 15′ Widely known as the ‘Coral Bark’ maple, this cultivar is popular due to its flaming, coral-red bark. New branches are green until the first winter when they turn the coral-red. The soft, green leaves are a sharp contrast to the bril- liant coral bark. In the winter the coral stems increase in intensity and stand out against the white drifts of snow. Watch for bright, golden fall leaf color for another surprise effect.
Acer palmatum ‘Shaina’ Height 4′-6′ Width 4′ This cultivar originated as a witch’s broom on a ‘Bloodgood’ maple. It has dark-red leaves with the center leaf lobe shorter and rounded. It has relatively large leaves for such a dwarf maple. The leaves are very closely arranged to give the tree a unique, dense, layered look.
Acer palmatum ‘Sharp’s Pygmy’ Height 4′-6′ Width 4′ This is an outstanding miniature maple; a seedling selection from Sharp Nursery in Oregon. It has small, regular palmatum leaves on a compact, densely branched, rounded shrub turning a deep red in fall. It is one of the most attractive dwarf maples and it is useful in a variety of landscape situations.
Acer palmatum ‘Sherwood Flame’ Height 12′ Width 10′ A vigorous, small tree with deeply divided leaves. One of the best for retaining strong rich-red color throughout the season. A selection discovered in Sherwood, Oregon, which is becoming increasingly popular.
Acer palmatum ‘Shirasawanum Aureum’ Height 15′ Width 10′ A very hard tree to find because it is difficult to propagate and it is extremely popular among the avid Japanese Maple enthusiasts. The spring leaf color is pale-yellow that turns green during the summer. It will retain its yellow color longer in a shady area than it will in the sun. The leaves sunburn easily in the hot sunny areas of the yard. It has a spectacular fall color varying from orange through red and occasionally purple. These colors may vary even on the same leaf. The seeds are bright red that contrast with the yellow leaves.
Acer palmatum ‘Shishigashira’ Height 6′-9′ Width 4′-5′ The “Lion’s Head” maple. Once seen, you’ll always remember this maple! Its distinctive, up- right branches are thickly covered with small, heavy textured, deep green, crinkled leaves that are layered densely on out- ward-spreading branches. Fall color is a brilliant golden-orange. It does not turn colors until very late in the fall, extending your garden’s color display. A true garden aristocrat. It has been cul- tivated for more than 100 years around the world.
Acer palmatum ‘Tobiosho’ Height 20′ Width 20′ A special garden tree. This upright tree has all the typical ‘palmatum’ habits, leaf shape and color. The fall color is it’s main attribute. It has an unmatched electric-scarlet leaf color that will electrify your yard every fall.
Acer palmatum ‘Trompenburg’ Height 15′-20′ Width 15′ A selection made at the Trompen- burg Arboretum, Rotterdam, Holland. This vigorous tree has shiny, deep purple-red leaves. The leaf holds its color well in the summer but will turn bronze-green by fall. The leaf edges roll down giving a most extraordinary, finger-like effect. It has a brilliant crimson-red fall color.
Acer palmatum ‘Tsukushigata’ Height 6′-8′ Width 3′-5′ This tree will attract attention in any garden. The rich, purple-red to black-red leaves are spec- tacular. The leaf color holds well in the summer. However, the shaded side of the leaves tend to show a green cast and the veins become noticeably green. It produces a chartreuse seed that tends to sparkle among the dark foliage. It is a fairly rare variety and it is often hard to find.
Acer palmatum ‘Tsuma gaki’ Height 4′-5′ Width 4′ Yellow-green leaves tipped with red. A small tree which is a pleasing sight in spring with its soft-colored leaves delicately drooping. The leaves tend to droop when they first emerge causing many gardeners to worry that the tree is unhealthy. The leaves stiffen and turn brilliant green in the summer. The leaves turn crimson or red in the fall. This tree sunburns easily in the sun.
Acer palmatum ‘Willow Leaf’ Height 20′ Width 20′ ‘Willow Leaf’ has long, narrow, lobed leaves in a strong, lasting, red-orange color. The finger-like leaves give this sturdy, upright tree an airy, elegant texture. This is one of the lineari- lobium varieties.
Laceleaf Japanese Maple Varieties
Acer palmatum dissectum ‘Crimson Queen’ Height 4′-7′ Width 3′-6′ One of the finest deep-red, laceleaf selections. It retains its color well during the summer on finely dissecting foliage. A dense, broad, mounding plant. It will tolerate the full sun gardens but it sunburns easily during hot, windy weather, especially if the soil conditions are not optimal. This tree will hold its color longer in a partial shaded area than it will in the hot sunny areas. You can increase it’s height by staking branches to grow upright instead of weeping.
Acer palmatum dissectum ‘Ever Red’ Height 4′-10′ Width 3′-12′ A popular, “older” red-leafed laceleaf maple whose merits will continue to make it a sought-af- ter garden plant. Very finely-dissected leaves which emerge in spring with the new shoots and are covered with fine, silvery hairs. A delicate, yet sturdy laceleaf. This tree will hold its color longer in a partial shaded area than it will in the hot sunny areas. This tree will only grow tall if you stake the branches upright, otherwise the branches tend to weep. This tree will sunburn in hot, sunny, and windy conditions, especially if the soil is not acidic.
Acer palmatum dissectum ‘Garnet’ Height 9′ Width 10′ A vigorous, spreading plant covered with large, broadly-dissected, garnet-colored leaves. The habit of ‘Garnet’ is more upright than the typical, mounding laceleaf types. It has the same sun and soil requirements as the other laceleaf maples.
Acer palmatum dissectum ‘Red Dragon’ Height 4′-6′ Width 3′-6′ An exciting new introduction from New Zealand introduced to the U.S. in 1990. This laceleaf selection has it all, and should become the nursery standard of the future. It has dark-purple-maroon foliage throughout the hot summer months. It is a vigorous and well branched tree. It has the same sun and soil requirements as the other laceleaf maples.
Acer palmatum dissectum ‘Inaba shidare’ Height 4′-6′ Width 3′-6′ It is one of the most vigorous laceleaf varieties. It has been cultivated since the 1800’s. It has larger leaves than many other varieties and has a purple-red color that holds well through the summer. The fall color is bright red. It grows in the familiar dense, cascading shape which one associates with the ‘red laceleaf.’ A distinctive tree even in the winter, as bare branches reveal a silhouette of great character. It has the same sun and soil requirements as the other laceleaf maples.
Acer palmatum dissectum ‘Seiryu’ Height 10′ Width 8′ A green-leafed ‘dissectum’ that is an upright grower instead of the traditional weeping form. It is a strong-growing tree, yet the green, dissected leaves give it a delicate appearance. Fall color is a wonderful display of strong- gold, light-yellow, and crimson leaves. It can sunburn easily if it is too hot or windy.
Acer palmatum dissectum ‘Viridis’ Height 4′-6′ Width 3′-6′ This variety grows in a cascading mound form. You can make the tree grow taller if you stake the branches upright. ‘Viridis’ has bright-green, dissected leaves that turn golden-yellow and red in the fall. This is the ‘green-leaf’ variety of the weeping Japanese maple. It has the same sun and soil requirements as the other red laceleaf maples.
Planting a hydrangea can be a fun and rewarding experience. Once the beautifully bright bloom has emerged, all the work involved in planting a hydrangea will pay off. The first step of enjoying a hydrangea is choosing the proper location for best results. The site chosen must have a good deal of direct sunlight daily, but some shade is also needed.
Growing hydrangeas can be easy if you learn the basics. They require very little care, as long as the proper conditions are met. Once established, hydrangeas are fairly drought resistant. Hydrangeas are hardy in zones 3 through 9. Since we live in zone 4, some winter preparation may be necessary for winter survival.
Choose a location where your hydrangea can reach its full size without much pruning. For normal sized hydrangeas, expect the plant to reach about 4 ft. by 4 ft. Some varieties can reach 7ft to 15ft tall by 5ft to 10ft wide.
Hydrangeas planted under a tree often fail to thrive. This is because tree roots are very aggressive and are usually stronger than hydrangea roots. No matter how many of the tree roots you are able to remove to make room for the hydrangeas, the tree roots will all be back in a year or two. Watch plants closely.
Plant in well-drained, loose soil! If the roughage such as Utelite, Soil Pep, or Black Forest Compost. In severe cases, plant them on top of a mound, or grow them in containers.
Place your hydrangea in an area where it can get plenty of moisture. Consistent soil moisture is especially important the first year or two, and during the hot summer weather. Do not over water, especially in clay soil. Too much water can lead to root rot.
Do not plant too deeply. Plant at the same depth the hydrangea was planted in the pot. Plant in early summer or late fall, not during the heat of summer.
If you want to move your hydrangea, transplant it when it is dormant and has lost all of its leaves (late fall or winter).
Hydrangeas grow best if they are fertilized once or twice each year. Although some gardeners recommend special hydrangea fertilizer mixes to get the maximum results, hydrangeas do amazingly well with many of the common types of fertilizers you normally use. You can add organic material to the soil, such as manure or compost, and apply either an organic or chemical fertilizer.
Organic fertilizers are excellent because they are naturally slow releasing. The plant benefits from the long-lasting fertilizers. If chemical fertilizers are used, apply a slow-release, balanced fertilizer once or twice a year. Fertilizer such as Rose Fertilizer, Vegetable Fertilizer, Rhododendron Fertilizer or even a 10-10-10 fertilizer will work well if you apply them twice during the spring and summer. Osmocote fertilizer is great but it must be mixed into the soil to release properly for the entire season, don’t just leave it on top of the soil.
Don’t fertilize after August. Fall is the time for hydrangeas to begin preparing for dormancy. Fertilizing too late might stimulate new growth that may be tender.
Amount of Fertilizer to Use
The amount of fertilizer used per plant will vary with the size of the plant. As a general rule, it is much better to err on the side of too little fertilizer than too much. A very small plant will need about 1/8 – 1/4 cup. A very large shrub will need 2 – 3 cups, spread around the drip line of the branches (not just next to the trunk). Read the fertilizer label to determine exactly how much fertilizer you need to apply.
Never fertilize a plant that looks sick or wilted. If a plant is struggling due to a disease or root problems, the fertilizer will only add stress to its life. Try to cure the problem before adding fertilizer.
Finally, to give your hydrangea the best chance for maximum blooming, fertilize your plant once or twice during the summer with Fertilome Blooming and Rooting Fertilizer. This liquid fertilizer will give your plant instant access to those elements that will promote large blossoms, especially to the pink varieties.
Established bigleaf, panicle, oakleaf and smooth hydrangea plants can often benefit from regular pruning. Removing about one-third of the oldest stems each year will result in a fuller, healthier plant. This type of pruning is easiest to do in winter, since the absence of leaves makes it easier to see and reach inside plants.
Gardeners may also want to prune to control height or to remove old flower heads. The best time for this type of pruning differs between species. Bigleaf and oakleaf hydrangea, which flower on previous year’s growth, should be pruned shortly after flowering is complete.
Prune panicle and smooth hydrangea flowers on current year’s growth. They can be pruned anytime from late summer until early spring. If pruning these two species in the spring, try to prune before leaves appear. Plants of hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’ have been known to produce a second flush of flowers if pruned lightly after the first flowering.
While hydrangeas in landscape settings are relatively pest free, under certain growing conditions some diseases and insects can become problems.
For the bigleaf hydrangea, the major disease problem is powdery mildew. It is most common on plants growing in shade and under high humidity conditions. Powdery mildew infested leaves are covered with a light gray powdery- looking substance. Purple splotches may also appear. Powdery mildew rarely kills plants, but it is unattractive.
There are several fungal leaf spot organisms that attack hydrangea. Leaves develop brown to gray lesions surrounded by purple halos. These leaf spots are most common in late summer and early fall, and seem to be more common among plants grown in sunny locations. Again, plants are rarely killed, but severe infestation can be very unattractive.
Some hydrangea are susceptible to rust, which will appear on the back side of leaves as small, orange spots. Rubbing the back of the leaves will release an orange dust which contains spores of the fungus. The disease is usually seen near the end of the growing season and rarely kills plants.
Some hydrangea are susceptible to rust, which will appear on the back side of leaves as small, orange spots. Rubbing the back of the leaves will release an orange dust which contains spores of the fungus. The disease is usually seen near the end of the growing season and rarely kills plants.
It is important to prevent leaf diseases rather than try to cure them. If your hydrangea is prone to any of these diseases, spray with a fungicide once a month to prevent them. You may need to spray every two weeks to control a disease once it starts to appear.
Some hydrangeas are susceptible to root rots. The most common is Armillaria root rot. Infested plants will appear wilted, but will not recover when watered, and they will eventually die. Planting hydrangeas in poorly drained soils will increase the incidence of root rot and should be avoided.
Aphids can be a problem on the new growth of all hydrangeas, but can be easily controlled by washing, using an insecticidal soap, or spraying an insecticide. The presence of ants crawling on plant leaves is often an indicator of an aphid problem. The ants feed on the sticky honeydew (excrement) left by the aphids. If you see ants on the leaves of your hydrangeas, turn the youngest leaves on the plant over and look for small green insects. As leaves become tougher during the growing season, aphid problems usually diminish.
Mites can cause problems on hydrangeas. Mites are too small to see with the naked eye, but mite infestation can cause distorted growth, mainly seen in new shoots. Webbing between leaves will also be noticed with spider mites. Mite problems are usually worse during hot, dry weather. Adequate watering of plants during hot weather is the best preventative against mite problems. Mites are difficult for the homeowner to control using insecticides.
Hydrangeas make excellent cut flowers and the dried blooms make beautiful arrangements. The key to successfully drying hydrangeas is to cut them at the right time.
Drying Hydrangea Blooms
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to dry hydrangea blooms that have been cut at their peak of color. For best results, allow the blossoms to dry on the plant before cutting them. Do not collect them until the flowers have developed a papery feel.
After collecting the blooms, they can be placed in a dry, airy room out of direct sunlight until fully dried. They may be left standing in a dry vase or hung upside down. Either method works well. Strip off all leaves and then find a dry place indoors where the flowers can finish drying. Some people recommend using a warm, dark location, such as an attic. Others prefer a cool, dry location. Whichever method you choose, be sure to keep individual inflorescences separated as they dry so that none of the flowers get squashed. The flower heads of some cultivars dry better than others.
The method used to dry them isn’t nearly as important as the timing for gathering the blooms.
Indoor Holiday Plants
Most of the ‘florists’ Hydrangeas, that are sold as potted plants, are a delicate variety of Hydrangea macrophylla. Most florist hydrangeas will not produce flowers when planted outside, because their buds are not cold hardy.
If you receive a potted hydrangea for Easter or Mother’s Day in full bloom, keep the soil moist at all times, as this plant has a high water requirement and tends to dry rapidly in the home. It should also receive direct light. After the flowers fade, they may be removed and the plant treated as a house plant. When danger of frost is past, you can try planting it in a sheltered location in the garden. Shelter is necessary because the hardiness of this plant is questionable. This plant forms flower buds in the fall, like forsythia and wisteria. If these buds freeze, the plant will survive and produce green leaves, but no flowers.
Planting in a sheltered location, plus covering the plant with burlap, will offer some protection. If you wish to improve the probability of flower bud survival, you may wish to try protecting them even more. Before the temperature falls to 25 degrees F, place a screen around the plant. Fill this with an insulating material such as coarse peat moss, vermiculite or bark. More material may be added if it settles during the winter. Remove this protection when the crocuses flower but you must still protect them on cold nights. If you are lucky, the flower buds will survive. If not, you should still have a pretty foliage plant.
Proper hydrangea winter care will determine the success and quantity of next summer’s blooms. The key to hydrangeas winter protection is to protect your plant prior to the first frost of winter, and through the last frost the following spring.
The first step in hydrangea winter care is to cut away the old wood at the base of the plant, and remove any dead or weak branches. Be careful not to cut off healthy wood, as this wood will be where your hydrangea will bloom from next year.
Make a frame around the plant by using stakes. Wrap chicken wire around the stakes to form a cage. Fill the cage with bark or leaves to fully insulate your plant. Be careful not to snap off the ends of the branches as you fill the cage, or you won’t have those gorgeous blooms next summer.
Protecting hydrangeas from winter cold and wind can seem labor intensive. However, once you have your plant’s winter home in place, the remainder of the winter will only require a little housekeeping to maintain successful hydrangea winter protection.
Hydrangeas are fascinating in that, unlike most other plants, the color of their flowers can change dramatically. It would be nice if one could change the color of hydrangeas easily, but for most of us, it is not easy. The people who have the most control over the color of their hydrangeas are those who grow them in containers. It is much easier to control or alter the pH of the soil in a container than it is in the ground.
There are a few facts to remember.
Not all hydrangea varieties can change color. Those that are naturally white will remain white no matter what soil type they’re grown in.
If your plant is in a hot climate, it is unlikely you will ever see a “true red” hydrangea. No matter how convincing those pictures in the catalogs are, or how much lime is added to the soil, you can only achieve a very deep or dark pink, but not a true red.
It is much easier to change a hydrangea from pink to blue than it is from blue to pink.
Hydrangeas often change color on their own when they are first planted, or transplanted. They are adjusting to their new environment. It is not unusual to see several different colors on one shrub the year after planting.
One can rarely change the intensity of a color (how strong or pale the color is). The intensity develops for a number of reasons: the heredity of a particular hydrangea variety, weather conditions (hot or cold, humid or dry), health of the plant, and possibly other natural factors.
There are a few cultivars that never produce blue flowers. In low pH soils, flowers of these “non-bluing” cultivars turn a dull reddish-purple. In higher pH soils, the flowers of these cultivars are a vivid deep pink color. Some non-bluing cultivars are ‘Alpengluhen’, ‘Pia’ , and ‘Kardinal’.
The actual hydrangea flower is small and insignificant but is surrounded by showy, colorful bracts. The anthocyanin pigment will be either pink or blue, depending upon the amount of either iron or aluminum in its molecules. Insufficient aluminum is absorbed by the plant at a pH of 6.5 to 7.0 so the plant uses iron instead.
As the pH drops to 5.0 to 5.5, aluminum becomes more soluble. It is absorbed by the plant and becomes part of the anthocyanin molecule resulting in blue coloration. The molecule uses less iron. The actual color of the pink and blue varies and is determined by the degree of soil acidity. White hydrangeas contain no pigment in their sepals (although some may develop as the blossom ages). They may be grown as either pink or blue, the only indication being given by the small petals.
Change Blooms to Pink
For hydrangea blooms to be pink, the plants must not take up aluminum from the soil. If the soil naturally contains aluminum, you must try to keep it away from the hydrangea’s system. Following are a few tips that might help:
Add dolomitic lime several times a year. This will help to raise the pH. The pH should be about 6.0 to 6.9 (If it goes above 7.1 hydrangeas may experience an iron deficiency). Since hydrangeas take up aluminum best at lower pH levels, raising the pH will help to keep the bluing effect of aluminum out of the hydrangea’s system.
Use a fertilizer with high levels of phosphorus. Phosphorus helps to prevent aluminum from entering into the system of the hydrangea. Choose a fertilizer close to the ratio of 25/10/10 (Phosphorus is the middle number).
In areas that naturally produce blue hydrangeas (soils with a lot of aluminum), consider growing pink hydrangeas in large pots. In a pot, it is much easier to control the requirements for growing pink hydrangeas.
Change Blooms to Blue
To obtain a blue hydrangea, aluminum must be present in the soil. Most garden soils have adequate aluminum, but the aluminum may not be available to the plant if the soil pH is high. To ensure that aluminum is present, add aluminum sulfate to the soil around the hydrangeas. Some gardeners also recommend that a solution of 1 Tbsp aluminum sulfate per gallon of water be applied to plants (which are at least 2-3 years old) throughout the growing season. Important: Do not apply the mixture on leaves, and water plants well in advance of application. Put this solution on cautiously, as too much can burn the roots.
To make the aluminum already in the soil available to the plant, the pH of the soil should be low (5.2-5.5). Adding sulfur will tend to lower the pH of the soil. Another method for lowering the pH is to add organic matter to the soil such as coffee grounds, peat moss, acid planting mix, grass clippings, etc. If the soil naturally contains aluminum and is acid (low pH) the color of the hydrangea will automatically tend toward shades of blue and purple.
The choice of fertilizer will also affect the blue color change. A fertilizer low in phosphorus and high in potassium is helpful in producing a good blue color. Superphosphate and bone meal should be avoided when trying to produce blue hydrangeas.
Planting hydrangeas near a concrete foundation or sidewalk will often affect the color since the pH of the soil may be raised considerably by lime leaching out of the concrete, making it difficult to have the blue color.
While these methods of changing the flower color can be used, you risk severely altering the soil pH incorrectly, thereby making it difficult for the plant to utilize other nutrients. You can also affect other, non pH adjusted plants, growing nearby. The pH of a soil is very important to all plants, not just hydrangeas.
Always get the soil pH tested before trying to change it. If you really like different colors in your hydrangeas then plant many different cultivars together!
Try a White Hydrangea
If you would like to try a more carefree hydrangea, try the Hydrangea quercifolia – Oakleaf Hydrangea. It is a beautiful shrub for all seasons of the year. It has white flowers in the summer that fade to shades of pink and brown as they mature. The leaves turn red in the fall before they drop. The shrub has a beautiful open shape and brown, exfoliating bark that adds interest to your garden in the winter. It prefers light to medium shade, but tolerates sun or moderately dense shade.
Another easy hydrangea is H. paniculata. It is a large shrub that can be trained into a small single or multi stemmed tree. Flowers are generally white, but some tend towards pale pink or green, depending upon the cultivar.