Page 55 - 2017-greengate-Gardensense-magazine
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Perennial plants give you a large selection of colour options and you can look forward to their return every year. They are also considerably easier to move than most shrubs.
Do not expect your perennial plants to flower the first year that they are planted. It will usually take the plant a full season to become well established and it will flower the second year.
Perennial vines will come back again season after season, unlike tender annual vines. These hardy vines flower on old or new wood, and provide excellent privacy or decoration when grown up a trellis or a wall.
Clematis
These hardy perennial vines are known for their profusion of colourful flowers. Due to the differences in pruning requirements for various clematis they are classified into three major pruning groups for maintenance.
Group A or 1 – These clematis flower only on the previous year’s growth. When blooming is finished, in June, prune off dead or weak stems.
Group B or 2 – These clematis bloom on previous year’s growth, often in early summer and again in late summer. Unfortunately, they are not hardy enough here for the summer’s growth to survive the winter - they die back to almost ground level, so they rarely bloom here. They are a challenge.
Group C or 3 – These clematis flower only on the current years growth. They are the most commonly grown, as they flower most of the summer, with little care.
Clematis need varying amounts of sun for healthy growth. Some need full sun, while others can tolerate almost total shade. Read labels or ask questions before making a choice.
Note: Clematis should be planted approximately six inches deeper than they are in the pot.
Dividing perennials
If the flower quality and quantity drops in your mature perennials this may be a sign of overcrowding, and they may need dividing. Some may simply have outgrown the place they are in, or other plants, as they grow, may be creating too much shade for sun loving perennials. Many perennials form clumps of stems. These stems are actually individual plants with their own root systems. Some perennials cannot be divided, if they grow from one central stalk. Early blooming perennials should be divided in early fall. When all the leaves have fallen, gently dig up the plant and separate the roots of the individual clumps to be removed. Replant the removed plants in an appropriate place in the garden. Later flowering perennials should be divided in the same way in the spring, as soon as they are showing growth.
Perennial maintenance
Routine feeding and watering will generally be enough to satisfy the nutritional needs of perennial plants through their growing season. Spent flowers on perennial plants should be removed, or deadheaded, to encourage flower production. Perennials may be pruned back and mulched for extra protection in the fall. This mulch should be removed in the spring. If you do not wish to mulch, leave foliage on plants, as leaves will collect snow for insulation and moisture during the winter. Dead foliage should be pruned away in the spring.
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