A successful yearly flower garden adds to the value of a home esthetically and economically. The cost of replacing plants yearly can be a large budget item. Fortunately there are plants that bloom for many years with no replacement costs. These are classified as perennials and include plants like mums, asters, coreopsis, Echinacea, daisies, and many others.
Expand the Home Garden with Bulbs and Other Perennials
All perennials do not require the same treatment. The wise gardener will know about hardiness zones as zone numbers are often used to offer advice on times regarding planting and other care. Also, one may want to become familiar with the different types of rooting systems of plants. Different rooting systems have different requirements for division. Some perennials grow best when not divided. Others produce enough plantlets for an entire neighborhood.
Not only can perennials last for years, but they generally produce more plants for expanding a garden or trading with neighbors. Some — like tulips and amaryllis — can be grown in the middle of winter in containers. There are perennials that grow in all the seasons, so that fresh flowers can add to home gardens all year.
The dead growth might be unsightly and can generally be trimmed off after the first freeze. With some plants — like mums – it is best to leave a few inches of stem above the ground. Do not try to divide plants until they have had six weeks of real winter. They will need the time to generate new roots.
Dig up summer bulbs that might freeze or bloom too early if the climate is warm. Empty containers or plant them in the ground where desired for next year. Plant the containers so that the same soil level is maintained. Covering the dormant roots with extra mulch will help protect them from severe cold, but remove it once the weather is warm enough to encourage new growth.
If the winter is dry provide water. Check to see if the soil is damp by poking a finger beneath the mulch. With normal rainfall watering should not be needed. Don’t fertilize dormant plants.
Mums are a Good Flower of Choice for the Home Garden
The amount of effort required is up to the individual. Starting with a single plant that is usually discarded might give confidence for expanding the practice. Mums are an easy choice particularly in warmer climates.
Divide the plants after danger of frost has passed and growth has begun in the cool days of spring. Use a shovel to dig up the entire root system. Placing the root ball in water will loosen the soil and make division easier. Take out only the healthiest plant with well-developed roots. Place them in water until they can be planted later the same day. Water the new plants daily for a week or so, as the division process will cause damage to roots which will need time to heal.
Of course, division is a choice in most cases. Mums can be attractive in a variety of sizes and can be allowed to increase in size each year. Eventually they tend to become top-heavy and collapse under the weight of the thick flowers, so periodic division is a good practice. Some can be transplanted to enlarge the garden. Others can be potted and placed strategically around the yard. Mums will enliven the garden with attractive greenery long before they bloom in the fall.
Gardening is a visually rewarding hobby. It is gratifying to know that it can be financially rewarding as well. Large mums can cost $40 for twelve-inch containers. The practice of dividing provides a great way to increase plant numbers with a little enjoyable effort. Dividing also provides an opportunity to learn much about plant care in general