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"Why don't my perennials come back?"

 
Author
Posts: 12
Location: Maine
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I get asked a lot "Why don't my perennials come back?" Here are a few tips that I personally use to increase my success!

1. Plant new plants in the early fall. Avoiding the heat stress of summer and allowing your perennials to grow roots before the frost is a good approach!
2. Water your plants well for the first season (even when it's not hot). Once they re established, they'll begin to find water on their own.
3. Let your perennials go to seed. I find spreading some seeds around at the end of the season helps to establish patches quickly!
4. Make sure youre picking perennials that over winter in your growing zone.
5. Improve soil drainage if perennials keep dying. They need well drained soil or their roots will rot over time.

What are some of your tips for successfully growing perennials year after year?
 
gardener
Posts: 1987
Location: Maine, zone 5
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Try lots of spots with different soil, sun, etc. to find out what they really like.  I was very surprised that my goumi fruits heavily in a bright dry spot under tall trees with no direct sunlight.  This is a good reason to plant seeds....much cheaper experimentation.  
 
Posts: 137
Location: Dry mountains Eastern WA
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Don’t plant perennials where they don’t get winter water ; ie under large eaves, under pine trees where it’s bone dry etc.
 
Posts: 76
Location: Indiana
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I have the same problem with perennial flowers and they are in a very short ( one brick thick ) raised area where roots could easily reach the ground beneath. I've planted these in corner markers, usually full sun, and usually watered the same as my veggies. This year I had about 20% come back in each of 2 planters. Bummer!

I think I will try the perennial - potato onions - and see how those do in another, taller, raised bed I have. I really like onions and maybe this will give me enough to last through the winters.
 
Janet Reed
Posts: 137
Location: Dry mountains Eastern WA
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Jesse Glessner wrote:I have the same problem with perennial flowers and they are in a very short ( one brick thick ) raised area where roots could easily reach the ground beneath. I've planted these in corner markers, usually full sun, and usually watered the same as my veggies. This year I had about 20% come back in each of 2 planters. Bummer!

I think I will try the perennial - potato onions - and see how those do in another, taller, raised bed I have. I really like onions and maybe this will give me enough to last through the winters.



What zone are you in and what perennials did you plant?  And did you plant them in the 1 brick thick soil or did you actually dig down into the soil beneath?
 
pollinator
Posts: 406
Location: Vermont, USA
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My tip:  pay attention to what really likes to grow in your area, and plant some of those.  The USDA zone is a rough approximation that includes all sorts of different exposures, elevations, and soil types.  In the Caucasian Mountain Spinach thread, we are collectively trying to figure out what works to get from germination to perennial plant!  There are lots of mysterious failures.
 
pollinator
Posts: 161
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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I cannot agree more, I baby mine for the first year or two and then most seem to become indestructible. For any of you who have raised turkeys, they always seem to be trying to get themselves killed for the first 6-8 weeks and you watch them like a hawk and they are fine. After that, it seems nothing can harm them. I feel it is much the same with perennials, put that initial work in and then it is mostly harvesting from there. Best of luck all!
 
Jesse Glessner
Posts: 76
Location: Indiana
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Janet Reed wrote:

Jesse Glessner wrote:I have the same problem with perennial flowers and they are in a very short ( one brick thick ) raised area where roots could easily reach the ground beneath. I've planted these in corner markers, usually full sun, and usually watered the same as my veggies. This year I had about 20% come back in each of 2 planters. Bummer!

I think I will try the perennial - potato onions - and see how those do in another, taller, raised bed I have. I really like onions and maybe this will give me enough to last through the winters.



What zone are you in and what perennials did you plant?  And did you plant them in the 1 brick thick soil or did you actually dig down into the soil beneath?



I'm in zone 5 in East Central Indiana. The perennials were flowers I purchased locally. I built the planters several years ago and added very good soil. Each year I've applied compost first and used a tiller which went down into the soil and mixed in the compost very nicely. I then planted and watered and kept watered along with my garden veggies. The plants survived through Summer & Fall but did not come back well the following Spring - maybe 20% came through.
 
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