Perennials

Belgian offers hundreds of varieties of perennials, including Hosta, Hemerocallis (Daylilies), Astilbe, Butterfly Bush, Campanula, Heuchera (Coral Bells), Peonies, Lavender, Thyme, Vinca (Periwinkle) and Iris. We also carry Hardy Grasses, Hardy Climbing Vines, Groundcovers, Ferns, Rockeries and much more.

With our covered Perennial Centre there’s no need to fear the elements; even rainstorms won’t get in the way of your shopping! The Centre is open from mid-April to October, with our biggest selection of perennials being available during May and June. However we do carry a great selection of perennials all summer long! During the summer and early fall months, larger pots of perennials become available.

Belgian’s Perennial Centre is constantly and rapidly changing with every season. New plants arrive from several growers every week! Come and explore our Perennial Centre to see what additions you can find for your garden.

 

The advantage of a perennial garden is the nonstop selection of different plants. Whether you’re looking for a brightly coloured rainbow of flowering plants, or want to feature different textures through foliage, your garden’s overall look will depend on your personal choices. There are many ways to create a perennial garden and they can all add colour and beauty to your home. Perennials can also help to create privacy; using hardy vines on a fence or taller perennial grasses are great ways to soften the view of neighbours or busy roads. Create areas with groundcovers, such as Thyme or Vinca (Periwinkle) and reduce the areas that need regular mowing! We carry the Jeepers Creepers™ brand of groundcovers, which are “Down Low and Fun To Grow™”! Check out their website at www.jeeperscreepers.info for more groundcover ideas, including ones you can even walk on!

Most perennials bloom for three to four weeks each year. Choosing a good selection of plants that have different flowering times can give you non-stop colour from early spring right through to late fall. Get ideas by reading magazines and books that show fully grown mature flower beds; you’ll also gain valuable information on flowering times and the varying heights of perennials. Belgian offers the ‘Perennial Gardening Guide’ written by John M. Valleau and published in Canada. This helpful guide contains lots of information and a good selection of photographs. Belgian does not do mail orders or special orders, we suggest you come in, see what we have available and ENJOY!

For a great resource for additional perennial information visit:  www.perennials.com

Success with Perennials – General Care & Tips

Light: Perennials are available for sunny and shady locations and everything in between. Know your location, and then pick perennials to suit the conditions.

  • Full Sun: Sun all day with little to no shade. Minimal shade only in the early morning or late afternoon, not exceeding a few hours.
  • Partial Shade: Direct sun shines on the area for approximately half the day. A tree canopy that allows some beams of light through and filtered light for the remainder of the day is also partial shade.
  • Full Shade: Shade all day with little to no sun. Generally under tree canopy or along the North side of a building, hedge, etc.
  • Deep Shade: No sun; under dense canopies of trees. These locations are usually very dry.

For most sun perennials all day sun is best. If your location is partial shade, afternoon sun would be preferred over morning sun. Shade created from a tree is suitable, as long as there is more sun than shade.

Shade perennials prefer shade for most of the day. If your location is partial shade, morning sun would be preferred over afternoon sun. Deep dry shade created from dense trees may require extra watering to compensate for the trees’ usage of water.

Water: Water your plants in right after planting, and make sure to water perennials regularly until they are established. This can be one to two growing seasons, although if it is a dry season you may need to water more. Weather is the biggest factor when watering: temperature and the amount of rainfall will change when and how much you need to water. Spring and fall plantings are usually good with a weekly watering, but summer plantings will require more frequent watering, especially during heatwaves or drought. Give your plants a deep and thorough watering each time.

Established plants benefit from good deep watering every few weeks, depending on the weather and the plant. In the summer heat more frequent watering may be beneficial.

What about rain? A long, slow rain that accumulates water and absorbs deeply into the ground is the best kind of rain for gardens. It’s best not to rely on thunderstorms as most of the water rushes away and does not have a chance to absorb into the ground, leaving your plants still thirsty.

Fertilizer: A slow release perennial/annual garden food is best to add in the spring for most perennials. Just sprinkle the recommend rate (as found on the container) around your plants; avoid getting any on the new shoots or foliage of your plants. It’s beneficial to ensure you have decent soil to start with, since a good rich soil will mean most perennials are fine to fend for themselves.

Soil Preparation: Have your flowerbeds prepared before planting. A loose, richly organic soil is best for most perennials. Some beds may require the addition of soil – 3 way mix, black earth or top soil is ideal for this. Adding manure or compost is also beneficial to add nutrients to the area. Soil with a high content of clay and/or loam should be lightened with peat moss. Amending the soil before planting is the easiest way to prepare a good foundation for your garden, and is easily done when there are no roots or plants in the way.

Mulch: Mulch looks good and, even better, it retains moisture and discourages weed growth. Just add 1 to 2 inches of mulch on flowerbeds after planting to complete this beneficial look. Add 1” every other year to keep the look fresh and weeds at bay. Keep the mulch a few inches away from the bases of your perennials to maintain air circulation around the plants.

Planting: Keep the light requirements of your perennial in mind when picking a location. Soil should be amended prior to this time; i.e. adding peat moss, manure and/or bone meal. Dig your hole approximately one and a half times the size of your root ball. Remove perennial from its container, gently loosen the roots and place it in the hole. Fill in the rest of the hole with amended soil, maintaining the pot’s original soil level. Build a basin with soil around the plant to catch water around its roots. Water regularly until established. Mulch to help retain moisture and reduce weed growth.

Maintenance: Each perennial has its own individual needs. Use the grower’s tags to find out what your plant requires. Below are some basic guidelines for most perennials.

  • Weed regularly, especially newly planted areas.
  • Deadhead (remove old flowers) – On flowering perennials that look a little ragged, prune part way back after flowering with the exception of bulbs (like lilies, tulips, daffodils, etc.) or peonies. Many other flowering perennials respond well to summer pruning.
  • Stake taller plants by the beginning of June and tie up the stems as they grow.
  • Monitor for insects and diseases. Click here for information regarding Plant Problems, Insect and Disease Solutions.

Click here for Information regarding plant problems, insects & disease solutions

Dividing: Dividing is usually best done in the spring just as the plants are starting to show signs of growth. Divide perennials when the middle of the clump starts to thin or die out; this is usually every 3 to 5 years with most perennials. This is especially good to do with Tall Bearded Iris and Siberian Iris. To divide, dig around the clump and lift it out of the ground. Knock off some of the soil, then use a spade or knife to slice the roots of the plant in half or quarters, depending on the size of the plant. Each piece should have a good chunk of the roots and eyes (growing shoots) to produce the new growth. Plant one of the divisions back in the hole (amend or add new soil if needed) and use the others to fill in areas of your gardens, start new garden beds or share them with your friends!


Clean Up –Fall or Spring?

It doesn’t typically matter for perennials to be cleaned up in the fall or the spring. The timing is primarily up to you; undoubtedly when you have the most time and/or the weather is nice is a great time to clean up your flowerbeds. Pruning by hand is the best way, however for larger gardens using hedge shears or a line trimmer (especially for larger grasses) makes the task easier. If you choose to clean up in the spring, many perennial leaves like Hostas and Daylilies usually just pull right off with no snips required! There are some perennials that are best left until spring when it comes to trimming, such as Coral Bells, Bergenia, and many rock garden or alpine plants. Just a quick clean-up of brown or icky leaves and these perennials are ready for another year!

Before you trim, consider winter interest. Many grasses look wonderful with a dusting of snow on them. Perennials like Sedum and Russian Sage look great with their dried flower heads. If you find you don’t like the look, simply wait for a mild winter day and just chop them off.

Hardiness Zone: At Belgian Nursery we are located in a Zone 5 Climate. To determine your hardiness zone simply use the chart below, which refers to the lowest winter temperature in your area. It is best to choose plants that are suited to your zone or colder. Plants with borderline hardiness should be planted in a protected area with added mulch and shelter for winter.


USDA Hardiness
USDA Hardiness˚F˚C
Zone 1Below -50Below -46
Zone 2-50 to -40-46 to -40
Zone 3-40 to -30-40 to -34
Zone 4-30 to -20-34 to -29
Zone 5-20 to -10-29 to -23
Zone 6-10 to 0– 23 to -18
Zone 70 to 10-18 to -12
Zone 810 to 20-12 to -7

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