HOW TO GROW PERENNIAL PLANTS
WHEN YOU RECEIVE YOUR PLANTS
- Remove plants from the shipping box. Take off the plastic shipping bags and water plants thoroughly, if dry. Your plants are well-rooted and ready to plant outside in your garden.
- For best success, plant perennials immediately after receiving them
- If you are unable to transplant them right away: place the plants outdoors in a spot receiving morning sun only; too much afternoon sun can dry out the plants. Check soil moisture daily, but water thoroughly only when needed. To keep the soil moist but not soggy. Plant no later than 7-10 days after you receive your plants.
We carefully pack your plants to arrive in excellent condition. However, even careful packaging can’t protect against damage as a result of rough, careless handling. Plants can often recover from a rough trip, as they are very resilient. However, we are committed to your gardening success and are happy to assist you with any concerns.
Please report any damaged plants or problems immediately to Customer Service: Contact Us
Learn More: How Our Plants Ship. Take a look at what to expect when you order from High Country Gardens.
Most perennial plants go into a state of dormancy, or winter rest, as a result of the cold temperatures and shorter daylight hours of winter. These sleeping plants lose their stems and leaves and are dormant, not dead! They will re-grow from their roots with the arrival of spring.
We carefully inspect dormant plants before shipping to make sure their roots and crowns are healthy and ready to grow. You will have best success if you plant dormant plants in your garden right away! Don’t keep them in a pot or up pot them. Your plants will do best if they can “wake up” in the garden (their new home).
After planting, water the plants thoroughly with our recommended root stimulator combination of Saltwater Farm’s SeaCom-PGR and SuperThrive ®. Apply one or two times until new growth begins to show. Dormant plants need less frequent watering than those in active growth; water only as the soil dries.
Dormant perennials will begin to wake up and grow 2-8 weeks after planting, depending on how quickly the soil warms up.
Certain perennials wake up from dormancy much later in spring than others. These include Asclepias (Milkweed), Ceratostigma (Hardy Plumbago), Chilopsis (Desert Willow), Coreopsis (Tickseed), Echinacea (Coneﬂowers), Helianthus (Maximilian’s Sunﬂower), Liatris (Gay Feather), Oenothera (Primrose), Perovskia (Russian Sage), Phemeranthus (Fame Flower), Salvia pitcheri, Zinnia, woody shrubs, and many ornamental grasses.
A special note about successfully transplanting Zinnia grandiﬂora and Phemeranthus calycinum: These plants won’t begin to grow until warm summer weather has arrived. The long thin string-like roots are brittle and do not like to be disturbed when transplanting, so don’t scratch out the root ball. Continued watering during cold weather will rot the roots. Don’t start to water regularly until the weather warms and the plants begin to grow.
Learn More: How To Care For Dormant Plants. This helpful article includes a guide to dormancy in individual plants.
Great gardens start with great soil! Good soil preparation is essential to successful gardening. Healthy, living soil should have good tilth, nutrient content, and a viable population of beneﬁcial microorganisms. We recommend using natural and organic ingredients to prepare the soil and maintain soil fertility.
It is always a good idea to have a soil test to identify your soil type (sandy, loam, silt, clay etc.) and ﬁnd out your soil pH. Reach out to your local gardening extension program for soil testing resources.
Soil drainage is a very important factor to consider when planting Salvia, Agastache, Lavender, Penstemon and other perennials that like "well-drained" soil. The essential element in well-drained soil is oxygen, which is just as important as water in growing healthy plants. Soil that is water-logged does not drain well and is anaerobic (oxygen deficient) resulting in drowned and rotted roots. In addition to enabling more oxygen to get to plant roots, there is another great benefit to improving drainage: it takes more heat to warm up water than it does to warm up soil, so you can count on an earlier start to your planting season if your soil isn't water-logged.
Learn More: How to Create Well-Drained Soil
When Planting into Existing Flower Beds, use small amounts of each amendment listed below in individual planting holes.
When Preparing New Flower Beds or Digging Individual Holes into Unamended Soil, the following soil amendments should be added to loosen the soil and add nutrients. Loosen and work in the amendments to a depth of 12”.
- Mineral Boost Fertilizer (Formerly Planters II) - Use 2 lbs. per 100 sq. ft. of bed area or a small amount (a tablespoon) in each planting hole. This natural product boosts the trace mineral levels in the soil and creates healthy microbial populations in the soil.
- Yum Yum Mix® Use at the rate of 4 lbs. per 100 sq. ft. of bed area, or a handful in each planting hole. This organic fertilizer adds a complete spectrum of nutrients to the soil. Organic fertilizers feed the soil micro-organisms that digest the ingredients and release available nutrients to plant roots.
- Compost: Add good quality, thoroughly cured compost to the soil at the rate of 1⁄2 to 1 cu. yd. per 100 sq. ft. of bed area or a generous handful to each planting hole. Some compost is more concentrated than others and should be used according to the label’s directions.
To order soil amendments, just call our toll free number (800) 925-9387 or Order Garden Goods Here
Planting Xeric and Very Xeric Plants
These plants dislike oil that is rich in organic matter and water retentive. When planting use only Mineral Boost Fertilizer (Formerly Planters II), Yum Yum Mix , and rock phosphate. Don’t use compost when planting, or fertilizing. With continued use, this will make the soil too rich and water retentive.
Xeric plants need excellent soil drainage especially in areas with 30” or more of rainfall per year (or over the winter months). Water retentive soils (clay, clay-loam or silty-clay) need to be amended with very coarse sand or gravel to improve drainage. Mix one shovel of soil (1 part) with one to three shovels of drainage material (1 to 3 parts) to ﬁll a raised bed or build a berm (soil mounds). The more rainfall your region receives the more drainage material should be mixed into the soil.
In addition to drainage material, mix Mineral Boost Fertilizer (Formerly Planters II), and Yum Yum Mix® into soil at recommended rates.
- Plant Success is a soil drench with a variety of beneﬁcial mycorrhizal fungi, bacterial species and biostimulants. The mycorrhizal fungi and trichoderma expands within surrounding soil and increase root’s ability to absorb water and nutrients. This is essential when planting into disturbed, compacted soils (yards in subdivisions or building sites). Plant Success is very beneﬁcial for xeric native and adapted xeric plants. For best results spread onto the soil surface after planting. (See label directions for how much to use).
Water Retention in Arid Climates (Regions with Hot, Dry Summer Weather)
To improve water retention in arid climates, mix water holding granules into the soil at planting time. Use 1 teaspoon of dry granules per 8” x 8” hole, or 1 tablespoon of dry granules per 12” x 12” hole. These will hold extra water in the planting hole for improved transplanting success. These granules can be used with xeric and non-xeric plants. These granules can be used with xeric and non-xeric plants.
Soil Acidity (If You Live East of the Mississippi or in the Paciﬁc Northwest)
These acidic soils need lime added to bring soil pH up to neutral (pH 7). Many of our plants are native to alkaline soils and need to have soil acidity reduced (a soil test can conﬁrm your PH levels).
A Note About Getting Xeric (Waterwise) Plants Off to a Good Start
Some gardeners prefer not to enrich the soil for xeric Penstemons and other native plants that are used to growing in poor, humus deﬁcient soils. Instead, they simply loosen the soil with a shovel before planting to open the soil for improved water and penetration. However, we strongly suggest you improve the soil with Yum Yum Mix and Planters II at the recommended rates.