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Perennial overwintering tips

Tightwad loves perennials. She is already thinking next year’s garden will look even better than this year, especially with the hosta “up for adoption” she found on the side of the road yesterday that she promptly put in a shade bed. But, even perennials don’t always make it to another season. Here are a few reasons:  

It’s their year There may be a general regional plant loss of a specific species that the nursery biz can’t explain.
Too-wet soil Soil that holds moisture over the winter tends to rot plant crowns. Excess thawing will create wet soil with a layer of ice over top which is certain death for many plants. Pull back the mulch at least 5 inches to promote evaporation.
Excessive cold Some perennials are sold as hardy in zones where they shouldn’t be planted.
Age Perennials don’t live forever. No, it’s true. The longer-lived ones (peonies, daylilies, hosta, astilbe) can easily reach twenty years but most others are shorter-lived, living for around three to five years.

What’s the answer? After ensuring that your plants are in the right spot (right light, right soil, right drainage, right heat) and therefore not stressed, mulch helps even out swings in temperature and increase the hardiness of tender perennials.


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