The best thing about perennials is that they come back year after year, with no effort on your part. All you have to do is plant them once, do a little maintenance every season and that’s it! Best of all, many perennial flowers will start to grow as soon as the warmer weather arrives and can tolerate the cool evenings better than annuals. To get you started, here are some tips to ensure that your perennial flower garden thrives year after year.


When you are first starting your perennial garden, be sure to take note of how tall and wide the plants will grow. It may take them a few seasons to reach that size, but eventually they will. If the perennials have been planted too close together, your garden will become overcrowded and ugly. Avoid this by giving them enough space when you first plant them. While you are waiting for them to grow, plant annuals in the empty spaces. Every year there will be less and less empty spaces to fill.


As the perennials grow, you may need to divide one plant into two or more plants. This will prevent the perennials from dying out, taking over and will create new plants. Perennials should only be divided in early spring or fall, except for Irises, which should be divided after they have bloomed sometime in early summer. To divide a plant, first dig it up and remove any excess soil. Then cut or tear apart the plant, ensuring that each part that is divided has its own root and leaf system. Finally, replant the perennial and water it well for the next few weeks so that it will continue to grow strong and healthy.

Spring and Summer Maintenance

There are really only three components to spring and summer maintenance: dividing, soil care and watering. We talked about dividing above, which is essential to the health of the plant.

Soil care for perennials is simple. Before planting them, ensure the soil is loose. Avoid clay soil, as it will be too compact for the roots of the plant to thrive in. To improve the soil, add compost and peat moss before planting. This will improve the drainage of the soil and allow the roots to spread. After the perennials have been planted, you can add an inch or two of compost to the top of the soil. The compost will contain all the nutrients the plants will need for the season. One application every year is all you need.

If the weather forecast is not calling for rain, your perennials will need to be watered. You only need to add one inch of water twice a week. If you cover the ground with mulch, you will only need to water once a week, as the mulch will help to keep the soil from drying out. To tell if you need to water, stick your finger about an inch or two into the soil. If it is dry, then water. If the soil is moist, then you can leave it be.

Fall Maintenance

Once fall arrives and the plants start to die off for the year, what should you do? Do you just leave the plant or do you cut it back to ground level? Well, it depends on the plant and your own preferences. Some people feel that leaving the plant “as is” creates interest for the cold winter months. Certainly ornamental grasses should be left alone. Not only does it help the plant to become hardier and stronger, but also they really do look beautiful when surrounded by snow.

The rest is up to you. If you like the look, then leave it. One point to consider however, is that if you leave the plant, then in the spring when the snow melts, the plant will start to rot and decay. If you don’t cut the plant back in the fall, then you’ll have this mess to deal with.

If you are going to cut the perennials back in the fall, then you have to decide how much you cut back – all the way to the ground or leave a base. The simple rule here is to cut back the herbaceous plants (those with fleshy stems instead of woody stems) all the way down to ground level and cut the non-herbaceous perennials only to the base, as it won’t die out over the winter months.

Please visit The Gardener’s Escape at for FREE design plans to see how perennials would work in your garden. While you are there, check out our Articles Webpage at for more tips and tricks on how to make your dream garden a reality.

snowy garden
where the perennials bloomed last summer, soft surface forms, stems , light and shadow
By withrow on 2012-11-11 10:55:51
tags[wpr5-amazon asin=”1546851003″ region=”com”]

Over 30 Edible Perennials in a Small Garden!

In today’s video, I show you the more than 30 edible perennials growing in our small garden!

If you shop on Amazon, you can support OYR simply by clicking this link (bookmark it too) before shopping:

0:48 Blackberries
1:02 King Stropharia (Wine Cap) Mushrooms
1:17 Heritage Raspberry
1:30 Pixwell Gooseberry
1:52 Honey Berry (Haskap)
2:05 Apple Mint
2:05 Dandelion
2:05 Lemon Balm
2:34 Asian Pear
2:49 Redhaven Peach
3:04 Lovage
3:15 French Sorrel
3:51 Good King Henry
4:13 Sea Kale
4:33 Sylvetta Arugula
4:59 Red Veined Sorrel
5:20 Garlic Chives
5:37 Egyptian Walking Onions
6:00 Sunchokes
7:22 Blueberries
7:41 Tristar Strawberries
7:47 June Strawberries
7:54 Tree Collards
8:22 Elan Strawberries
8:34 Grapes
8:34 Black Raspberries
8:34 Yellow Raspberries
9:00 Catnip
9:12 Oregano
9:19 Chives
9:25 Hyssop
9:29 Yellow Sage
9:37 Purple Passion Asparagus

A Global Inventory of Perennial Vegetables:

I’m passionate about an approach to organic gardening that is frugal, easy, sustainable, and works with nature to achieve amazing results. My videos will help you grow more healthy organic fruits and vegetables, while working less and saving money. I don’t push gardening products. I don’t hype bogus “garden secrets”. I provide evidence based strategies to help you grow a lot of food on a little land without spending much or working harder than you have to!