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Gardening expert Ciscoe Morris explains how to take care of perennials.
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Caring for Perennials
Paul James: Generally speaking a perennial is a plant that lives for than a year. But more commonly they are thought as a huge and diverse group of flowers that live for years and years. No wonder, they’re so popular. They often vivid colors they display can paint your garden almost year round with the spectacular blooms. And oh I just love perennials. And I know someone lese who fells the same way. Ciscoe Morris is a master gardener who’s been primping perennials in the Pacific Northwest for over 30 years. What do you think Ciscoe?
Ciscoe Morris: Oh Paul, I love perennials too. You know first of all they’re always changing. Their so when the rest because you plan them, they disappear all in the winter and they come back in the spring and I’m like Oh! I’m so happy to see you again.
You know there’s a lot more to perennials and just the flowers, there’s incredible foliage color, different forms and textures. But you know you can’t just throw a perennial in the ground. I think it’s going to grow. They do need some care. So let’s talk about ways where we can keep our perennials looking just great.
Paul James: I think a planted perennial is just like putting money in the bank. You started drawing big time interest after they’ve been in the ground for just a while and the colors go richer and richer each year. And the way to compound the interest is by giving them a good solid start.
Ciscoe Morris: When you bring home that new perennial where you plant it is really important. Read the label on the plant and if it says put it in the sun, do it. If I put this dolly in the shed, I’m never going to get a flower on this thing. Another thing to keep in mind is how much water does it need. If I stick this dolly next to a bunch of Junipers or something that hate water, if I water enough to keep this dolly doing well, I may kill all my Junipers. So, read the label and keep in mind the conditions it needs.
Paul James: Once you find the perfect spot for your perennial, the first thing that should pop into your mind is compost. And I’m talking full cool compost here.
Ciscoe Morris: Compost is black gold, this is the stuff that makes perennials really grow. So we’re going to put plenty of this in here to make sure that this dolly blooms like crazy. Paul James: Perennials do with or without compost but no horsing around. There’s something else they love.
Ciscoe Morris: It’s time for the alfalfa meal. Alfalfa meal is actually horse food, so why do you give horse food to your perennials. Well, it’s full of Amino acids and growth regulators that tell your perennial, “Bloom, you fool, bloom!” Let’s get a scoop.
Typically, how much of this you use depends on the size of the plant. The best guideline I can give you is that an average T-rose needs two cups of the alfalfa meal. So for a perennial like this, well probably one cup is plenty. We got to mix it with them really well. Now one of this that you’re going to notice is that I made the whole quite a bit wider than the root bowl. Now make sure that the soil is soft and these roots get the chance to really grown in there.
Paul James: If the plant looks root bound, trip the roots a bit so they will have a chance to spread out and grow. Then okay baby, in whole you go!
Ciscoe Morris: This is perfect, I couldn’t have done it better. Now, all I’ve got left to do is add a little mulch and give it a good drink of water.
Oh lala. Now, what is doing to all damage to this flower? Believe it or not, it’s an earwig, these little buggers come up at night and chew the leave and tweed a lot of your petals. Sometimes, the whole petal is missing.
But I’ve got a secret weapon that I use to capture those guys. All you need is a good water bottle that you can get at any store. Cut the top right off and here is the real trick. Earwigs cannot resist canned tuna fish cat food. That’s right, cat food. Half a can ought to make an enticing welcome for those creepy crawlers. Take the lead, stick it back in so that the spout is pointing down into the bottle. Take the two pieces together, poke a couple holes on sides for string and there it is your very own earwig diner. What happens is the earwigs crawl right in the entry hole, fall in, and enjoy a nice dinner of tuna fish cat food, they can’t find the exit hole to get back out. You got the little buggers. Oh lala that this trap work. Asta la vista, earwig!
Paul James: And that’s about dead buggers. Let’s move on to dead __
Ciscoe Morris: Now one of the key things about perennials is that all plants in order in Earth to reproduce. So a few let them go to see, they go ahead than my job. I’m going to take life easy, get a good sun tan, and eat a little fertilizer and do nothing. So one of the key things that you have to do is you’ve got to cut it off the deal flowers to a spot where there’s some new growth.
Now this will come back up and will get a second blooming. You can’t beat that.
Paul James: Now some perennials like this Iris need to be divided every three years or so otherwise it gets so thick and it stops blooming.
Ciscoe Morris: Keep in mind that the center of the plant generally dies out because it gets so crowded so it’s the ends that make the best visions and you actually throw away on the middle.
Al right let’s give it a try. Al right let’s see what we’ve got. This middle stuff just throw away, it’s no good at all but here, we’ve got two great plants, it’s really fun talking about perennials with you today. But I want to go plant these things.
Paul James: You go right ahead Ciscoe and good gardening to you my friend. And oh! One more thing, if you’re thinking about growing your perennials from seed, you better check your patients label because it can take two to three years before you’ll see your first blooms. No worries though, nourishing center and garden centers are typically well stocked with plenty of perennials for you to pick from.
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