Expert Tips for Growing Challenging Perennials

Image credit: iBulb

Growing certain perennials can be a real test of your gardening skills and patience. These plants often demand specific soil types, climates, or growing conditions, making them daunting for new gardeners and even frustrating for seasoned ones. However, with the right adjustments to their environment and care routines, these challenging perennials can flourish beautifully for years.

Our horticultural experts share their insider tips on how to nurture these garden divas so you can enjoy their stunning blooms.

Expert Tips for Growing Difficult Perennials

“Some perennials, often seen as difficult, just need the right conditions and patience to showcase their full beauty,” says master gardener Tabar Gifford. “I call them the Goldilocks of perennials – they need everything just right to thrive. Too hot or too cold, too wet or too dry, too much sun or too much shade, and they struggle.”

Bearded Iris

Bearded irises, despite being one of the oldest and most well-known perennials, come with their own set of challenges. “Root rot is a frequent issue, usually from planting too deeply or in poorly draining soil,” explains horticultural expert Katie Sunderlage. “To prevent this, plant the rhizome just 1-2 inches below the surface in well-drained soil, adding organic matter if necessary.”

These elegant plants are also susceptible to insect and disease problems like leaf spot, iris borer, and aphids. “To avoid fungal leaf spot, ensure there’s ample space between plants to reduce excess moisture,” Katie advises. “Aphids are more common when plants are too close together or during heavy rainfall. Adequate spacing can help, along with introducing beneficial insects like ladybugs to control aphid populations.”

Overcrowding is another issue with mature bearded iris plants. “We recommend spacing plants 15-18 inches apart for optimal growth,” Katie says. “Additionally, dividing the plants every three years helps maintain their health.”

General Tips for Success

  1. Soil and Watering: Many perennials are fussy about soil conditions. Ensure your garden has well-drained soil, and adjust watering based on the plant’s specific needs. Overwatering or poor drainage can lead to root rot and other issues.
  2. Climate and Light: Understanding the preferred climate and light conditions for each perennial is crucial. Some need full sun, while others thrive in partial shade. Providing the right amount of sunlight can make a significant difference.
  3. Pest and Disease Management: Regular monitoring for pests and diseases can prevent small problems from becoming major issues. Use organic methods to manage pests, such as introducing beneficial insects.
  4. Spacing and Dividing: Proper spacing between plants ensures good air circulation, reducing the risk of fungal diseases. Regularly dividing perennials helps prevent overcrowding and promotes healthy growth.

By tailoring your gardening approach to meet the specific needs of these demanding perennials, you can enjoy their beauty and resilience in your garden for many years to come.

Re-reported from the article originally published in HOMES&GARDENS.

Expert Tips for Growing Challenging Perennials

Image credit: iBulb

Growing certain perennials can be a real test of your gardening skills and patience. These plants often demand specific soil types, climates, or growing conditions, making them daunting for new gardeners and even frustrating for seasoned ones. However, with the right adjustments to their environment and care routines, these challenging perennials can flourish beautifully for years.

Our horticultural experts share their insider tips on how to nurture these garden divas so you can enjoy their stunning blooms.

Expert Tips for Growing Difficult Perennials

“Some perennials, often seen as difficult, just need the right conditions and patience to showcase their full beauty,” says master gardener Tabar Gifford. “I call them the Goldilocks of perennials – they need everything just right to thrive. Too hot or too cold, too wet or too dry, too much sun or too much shade, and they struggle.”

Bearded Iris

Bearded irises, despite being one of the oldest and most well-known perennials, come with their own set of challenges. “Root rot is a frequent issue, usually from planting too deeply or in poorly draining soil,” explains horticultural expert Katie Sunderlage. “To prevent this, plant the rhizome just 1-2 inches below the surface in well-drained soil, adding organic matter if necessary.”

These elegant plants are also susceptible to insect and disease problems like leaf spot, iris borer, and aphids. “To avoid fungal leaf spot, ensure there’s ample space between plants to reduce excess moisture,” Katie advises. “Aphids are more common when plants are too close together or during heavy rainfall. Adequate spacing can help, along with introducing beneficial insects like ladybugs to control aphid populations.”

Overcrowding is another issue with mature bearded iris plants. “We recommend spacing plants 15-18 inches apart for optimal growth,” Katie says. “Additionally, dividing the plants every three years helps maintain their health.”

General Tips for Success

  1. Soil and Watering: Many perennials are fussy about soil conditions. Ensure your garden has well-drained soil, and adjust watering based on the plant’s specific needs. Overwatering or poor drainage can lead to root rot and other issues.
  2. Climate and Light: Understanding the preferred climate and light conditions for each perennial is crucial. Some need full sun, while others thrive in partial shade. Providing the right amount of sunlight can make a significant difference.
  3. Pest and Disease Management: Regular monitoring for pests and diseases can prevent small problems from becoming major issues. Use organic methods to manage pests, such as introducing beneficial insects.
  4. Spacing and Dividing: Proper spacing between plants ensures good air circulation, reducing the risk of fungal diseases. Regularly dividing perennials helps prevent overcrowding and promotes healthy growth.

By tailoring your gardening approach to meet the specific needs of these demanding perennials, you can enjoy their beauty and resilience in your garden for many years to come.

Re-reported from the article originally published in HOMES&GARDENS.