Some of the most eye-catching plants at Marin Art & Garden Center come back year after year, our perennials. Dahlias, Salvias, Agastache, milkweeds and Penstemon thrill us every time they bloom.
Now, before spring temperatures get too warm and days get too long is time for some critical maintenance to ensure you get the most from these faithful plants. Once they are about a third to half of their adult size, we recommend pinching them back by a third. The growing tips of most plants produce a hormone that prevents dormant lateral buds from developing. By pinching the tips, you cause the plant to temporarily cease producing the hormone, leading to fuller, stronger plants with more blooms. Using pruning shears will help make a cleaner cut that heals faster and gets the plant blooming sooner.
Brent & Becky’s has a wide selection of bare root and other perennials, and your purchase through this link supports MAGC!
Before your perennials get too big and bushy, offer them some support that you can train them along. This might be a stake for something like a dahlia, or a tomato cage for something bushy like a Salvia. When selecting the support method, be sure to keep the overall size of the adult plant in mind. The support should be large enough from the beginning to support the adult plant, so while it may dwarf your young sprout, better to let it grow into it.
Don’t forget to fertilize. Most perennials will be hungry after the cold days of winter. With a little balanced fertilizer, your garden will offer an even more spectacular show.
When you shop for plants, look out for bare root dormant perennials, plants with the soil removed from the roots; you’ll find a better selection and can plant them either directly into your beds or start them in pots. You’ll find the widest variety online, but even at most brick and mortar stores you’ll be able to find something unusual and maybe even something you’ve coveted for a long time.