Spring Perennial Plant Care

It’s Time to Check On Your Perennials

2022-04-10Updated: 2022-03-17 R&S Landscaping

Many of us plant perennials because they continue to grow and bloom long after we have introduced them into our gardens.  Annuals, with their one to two season lifespans, may be exciting, but perennials are the plants that we depend upon year after year. They provide stability and a return on investment in our gardens. And they are beautiful.

Healthy, happy perennials tend to grow without much fuss which means that they can be overlooked in the garden.  Because they don’t have to be planted every year, we may not take the time to examine them thoroughly. Perennials need regular care to be healthy and to bloom steadily. 

Regular inspection, maintenance, and pruning provides this care and helps these plants flourish for many years. In the spring, it is important to take a careful look at your perennials to examine how they made it through the winter. Check for damaged, dead, or diseased stems and branches and remove these with pruning shears. 

Check the mulch in the perennials’ beds and resupply if necessary.  Mulch benefits perennials by adding organic matter to the soil, smothering seeds that may interfere with the plant’s growth, reducing weeds, and keeping the soil cool and moist.

It May Be Time to Divide and Transplant


Spring is the time to consider dividing and transplanting selected perennial flowers. Splitting the plants in early spring provides enough time for them to re-root and maintain their health.  Dividing and transplanting keeps plants from becoming gangly and unruly, helps to rejuvenate them, increases the color in the yard, and reduces the expense of buying new plants. 

Most perennials benefit from division every three to five years. Asters, hostas, irises, and daylilies are particularly well-suited for transplanting, but most perennials can be successfully divided. It is important to water plants well before division because their roots need to remain moist during the process. Use a sharp pointed shovel or spading fork to dig deep on all four sides of the plant, about 4 to 6 inches away from the plant. Pry underneath with your tool and lift the whole clump to be divided. Once removed, divide plants into 3-5 vigorous-looking sections. Clumps that do not look healthy should be disposed of.

It is important to protect the exposed roots of divided perennials and to plant them as soon as possible. Press the soil firmly around the roots to eliminate air pockets and water transplanted plants immediately and thoroughly.

Dividing perennials is an easy way to spend time in your garden. The process benefits the plants, the garden, the environment and the wallet.

Create the Correct Cut

The cut you make for your prune matters as different cuts create different results. A heading cut, done right above the leaf, promotes a burst of growth as it removes part of the shoot. 

Pinching, done with the thumb and forefinger, prevents the stem from growing as it removes a spent bud and prevents the stem from growing in that direction. Thinning, which removes entire branches or stems at the point of their origination, removes clusters of unwanted or heavy shoots and reduces the overall size of the plant. 

It is important to prune a stem in the direction you would like it to grow. The best prunes are made not too close and not too far from the bud and are cut at a slight angle to ensure healthy growth. It is important to keep the overall shape of the plant in mind when you are pruning so that you avoid cutting too closely in one area.

You want your perennial to emerge from its pruning session as an attractive, well-rounded plant.

The Correct Option Might Be Deadheading


Deadheading removes spent flowers from perennials and is done to help the plant focus resources on new, budding, or full blooms. Deadheading is usually done with hand pruners before the flower is allowed to naturally wilt and fall off and increases total bloom time for the plant for up to several weeks. It is also done to promote re-bloom or to prevent seeds from developing and spreading in the landscape.

R&S Landscaping Gardeners can  answer your questions about pruning and keeping your perennials healthy and growing well into the future. Happy pruning!

Contact the professionals at R&S Landscaping for more information about your perennial care.

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