MISTAKES TO AVOID IN GROWING PERENNIALS

Planting Peonies too deep

The crown should be one to two inches below the surface. Planting at greater depth is likely to prevent blooming.






Transplanting Peonies in the spring

Early fall is the proper time.

Splitting up Peonies and Poppies in the spring

Flowering will be prevented for that year at least. These perennials bloom early from buds that grew the previous summer but developed in spring. Splitting up in spring stops development. Poppies best divided in August. Peonies in September.

Failing to pinch back Chrysanthemums

Most Chrysanthemums grow too tall and their bloom will suffer unless the tips of the growing stems are nipped off at least twice; once when the stems are 6 or 8 inches tall and again about 4 weeks later.

Allowing Chrysanthemums to grow in one spot without division for several years

The best results with Chrysanthemums are accomplished by dividing and transplanting them every 2 or 3 years, using the vigorous outside sections of the clump and discarding the old center clump.

Attempting to carry Chrysanthemums over the winter in cold sections without protection

Most of the hardy Chrysanthemums are not hardy enough for that. The best practice is to transplant them to a cold frame for the winter. If this is not possible, they should be protected with a blanket of evergreen branches.

Mulching Chrysanthemums with heavy covering

Hardy Mums make dense crowns that are easily smothered out by too much moisture. The most essential requirement is perfect drainage. Any mulching material should be light and dry, admitting air freely.

Cutting hack Chrysanthemums when tall to make them branch

Only a few laterals will be forced out a few inches below the cut but not over the lower parts of the stems. The lower stems will be bare making plants top-heavy. To induce branching at the base, the plants must be pinched when about 6 inches tall. About four weeks later, give a second pinching.

Pinching back Delphinium plants

The shoots from the base of the Delphinium produce terminal flower spikes and pinching back, as is done with many other plants, interferes with the blooming.

Dividing Dahlia clumps without regard to buds

Each division should include a portion of the old stem attached to the neck of a tuber and a growing bud or eye.

Storing Dahlia roots over winter in a temperature too high or too low

40o to 55o is the best. Freezing will ruin the roots. Too high a temperature will dry them out or cause them to sprout too soon.

Putting on a winter mulch too early

If the mulch is for the protection of plants that are hot hardy, it should be placed before hard freezing, but truly hardy plants should not be mulched until after the ground freezes. In this latter case, the mulch is not to protect the plants from the cold, but to prevent alternate freezing and thawing which is injurious.




Failure to divide perennials such as Shasta Daisies, Asters and others at regular intervals

Usually large clumps are best divided in the fall. This enables the gardener to renovate his soil and eliminate crowding.

Planting in poorly drained soil

Not only will the resulting growth be poor, but death will occur during winter because of heaving.

Spraying the "blacks" on Delphiniums with a fungicide for disease control

These are caused by mites and are best controlled by sprays containing rotenone or nicotine or dusting with fine sulphur.

Planting sun-loving perennials in the shade

Most perennials grow best in full sunlight. A partial list of those for shade is: Aconitum, Ajuga, Aquilegia, Aruncus, Convallaria, Dicentra, Helleborus, Hosta, Mertensia, Myosotis, Primula, Trillium, Viola.

Placing low perennials at the rear of the border

In planting the border always keep in mind the mature heights of the plants so that the small ones will be in front and not hidden by the tall ones.

Failing to remove promptly the dying flower trusses of garden Phloxes, Asters and hardy Chrysanthemums

If left unpicked the flower trusses often produce viable seeds which fall down among the parent plants, in due time germinate, and grow into vigorous specimens that usually choke out the choicer parent varieties. The seedlings are almost invariably very much inferior to the parents.

Failure to cut off and burn old dead parts of diseased or insect infested plants.

These harbor insect and disease pests for the next year and should be burned

Planting small perennials singly throughout the border in order to make them "go further"

Perennials, except for massive types such as Peonies and Daylilies, show off to the best advantage when each variety is planted in groups and not singly, each group having three or more plants.

Depending on fall-planted Pansies for summer bloom

The Pansy plants of the spring markets are at their maturity when purchased in March and run out in early summer. Pansy seeds planted early in the spring will provide plants for summer and fall blooms.

Failing to separate Coral Bells every two years

In order to produce copius bloom on Coral Bells, these plants should be divided or separated into several small divisions and replanted every two years. In this way, Coral Bells make one of the loveliest border plants, blooming from May throughout the summer, and providing evergreen leaves throughout the winter.

Transplanting all kinds of perennials in the fall

Such late summer bloomers as Chrysanthemums, JapanesÁ Anemones, Helianthus, and hardy Asters should be planted in the early spring. Iris should be planted in July or August, Peonies in August or September, Oriental Poppies in August.

Failure to sow Aquilegia seed early enough to guarantee the following season's bloom

Aquilegia seed should be sown from February to early July. Sowing after the latter date will usually produce a plant that will not bloom the following year.

Shortening the period of Pansy bloom by failure to remove the fading flowers

As with any other long blooming flowering plant, allowing it to dissipate its strength through seed making, will shorten its blooming period. Remove blooms as soon as they begin to fade.

Overemphasis of one plant in the perennial border

Dominant perennials such as Phlox, Oriental Poppies, Hemerocallis, Anthemis, etc., will soon take over a border if they are not curbed. These varieties and others, while desirable, should be divided every three years at least discarding the excess if necessary. The successful perennial border depends upon diversification and constant bloom.

Planting Bearded Iris in the shade

It is quite a common sight to see large groups of Iris foliage without bloom, in shady areas. While it is true that Iris will grow and even multiply in shade, the blooming tendencies are seriously impaired, and a location with a minimum of four hours of full sunlight should be chosen.

Overfertilizing Bearded Iris

After summer separation, bearded Iris can stand very moderate amounts of commercial fertilizer and slightly more bone meal. Fairly good soil is all that Iris need. Overfertilizing will cause soft growth that renders the plant subject to many degenerative diseases.

Placing the rhizome too deep when planting Bearded Iris

In light, sandy soil the rhizome should be covered only about one inch. In heavy soil it should be planted so that the top of the rhizome is exposed.

Planting Irises too shallow

While the rhizomes of Bearded Iris should not be planted deep, it is equally a mistake to "float" them on the surface of the soil, as sometimes advised. Cover sufficiently to prevent washing out by rains, with just the tops of the rhizomes showing.

Failure to lift and transplant Bearded Iris frequently enough

They should be dug and replanted every three years or so in order to prevent overcrowding and the spread of disease. If they are to be replanted in the same place, the bed should be re-dug and fertilized. If disease is present, it should also be sterilized.

Cutting back the green foliage of Iris in summer or fail

Leaves turning brown should always be removed promptly, but the cutting of green foliage is likely to affect adversely the following year's bloom. An exception to this rule, however, is the necessity for cutting back the leaves half-way when Irises are being divided and transplanted.

Fertilizing Bearded Iris with animal manure

This is likely to induce root rot. It is safer to use bone meal, wood ashes and commercial fertilizer low in nitrogen which should be thoroughly mixed with the soil before planting.

Transplanting tropical Water-lilies in early spring in outdoor pools in deep water

This will result in stunting, if not in killing the plants which are raised in greenhouses. Planting is best done when the water has warmed up and only enough water put into the pool to just cover the crowns. Water depth is increased as growth develops.

Planting hardy Water-lilies in running water or in shade

Water-lilies reach their best development in still water and in full sunshine. The temperature of running water is usually lower than still water and the growth of the roots is slowed up.

Trying to winter over old tubers of tropical Water-lilies

The old tubers usually decay. Young plants grown throughout the summer in four-inch pots produce tubers that may be kept perfectly through the winter.

Taking up Gladiolus corms before the leaves start to turn brown

Browning of leaves indicates that the new corm has fully developed.

Working, or cultivating the perennial bed too early in the spring

Many perennials show no sign of growth until after weeds start, and too early hoeing or other work among them is likely to injure brittle shoots about to push up through the surface.

Cultivating soil too deeply in the perennial border

Many species form roots near the surface and working soil more than an inch or two deep may result in serious injury. Shallow cub tivation plus mulching is the answer.

Planting tall, or very bushy species in the middle or foreground of the border

Either type casts considerable shade, and is likely to injure growth of lower sorts, as well as detracting from the general appearance of the border.

Gathering wide open blooms for cut flowers

Flowers for indoor decoration should, with few exceptions, be cut in the full-bud or half-open stage; spikes (such as Gladioli or Delphiniums) when the first florets open.

Waiting until pests get really bad before applying control measures

Many plant pests (and diseases also) spread with almost incredible rapidity. Applying remedies at the first sign of trouble not only saves time, trouble and materials, but results in more effective control.

Failing to have new plants ready to "fill in" when there are fatalities in the border

In the best managed flower beds there are sure to be some failures or deaths during the season. Have extra plants on hand, in a frame or the vegetable garden, to make replacements. Even annuals will fill the bill temporarily.

Failing to provide supports (for species requiring them) while plants are still fairly small

Full grown plants cannot be properly fled or held up. Put stakes, brush or other support in place when they are about half grown.

Providing an unbalanced diet

Most perennials make a rather slow steady growth and "forcing" them with plant foods high in available nitrogen is poor practice. Use, rather, a complete plant food providing phosphorus and potash. Wood ashes and bone meal are excellent additions.

Failure to make soil firm about roots when transplanting

If loosely planted in the fall, roots are more likely to be heaved out by freezing of soil; in the spring, loose soil allows moisture to escape too freely so that root dies from dryness.

Failing to cut off leaf stalks of Peonies just below soil flue in the fall

The resting spores of botrytis, one of the most troublesome of Peony diseases, are formed on the bases of infected stalks. Removal of these reduces the possibility of infection the following year.

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