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Planting Annuals and Perennials

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A perennial is a plant that lives for more than two years. Herbaceous perennials are plants that do not form woody tissue and woody perennials are plants that develop a woody base or root system from which the foliage and flower stems grow. The term perennial more commonly describes herbaceous perennials, since woody plants (i.e., trees and shrubs) are always perennials. Perennials that flower and fruit only once and then die are termed monocarpic or semelparous. However, most perennials are polycarpic, flowering over many seasons in their lifetime.

On the other hand, an annual plant is a plant that usually germinates, flowers and dies in one year. True annuals will only live longer than a year if they are prevented from setting seed. Some seedless plants can also be considered annuals even though they do not flower.

Annuals and perennials come to you from the protected environment of a greenhouse. They need a gradual introduction to direct sun before they are planted to prevent sunburning. Set your plants outdoors in a sheltered, lightly shaded spot, increasing the amount of sun they receive each day.

Start by setting the plants around the planting area, while they are still in their pots. When deciding where to place each plant, take the following factors into consideration:

Green Tip:

Grow your own vegetables. This will help to reduces carbon from fertilizers, and transportation.

When you've decided where you wish to put the plant, dig a hole that is three times the width and twice as deep as the plant pot. Add a generous amount of compost, peat moss, and 1/2 cup of all-purpose fetilizer to the original soil from the hole. Blend the soil thoroughly.

Now you're reading to set the plant. Water the plant thoroughly before removing it from the pot. Do this by placing your hand over its root ball to support it, then invert the plant. Tap the bottom of the pot with a trowel handle to loosen the roots. Lift the container from the plant.

Feather the roots out if the roots have become compacted against the pot. You may need to cut away severly damaged roots prior to planting. Use your fingers to gently pull the surface roots away from the root ball, because this will persuade the roots to grow outwards again.

Place the plant into the hole at the same depth at which they were situated in the pot. Ensure that your plant is oriented in the correct direction to maximize viewing enjoyment. Add all remaining soil to firmly set the plant into place. The new transplant should be mulched with compost or organic matter to keep the roots cool and the soil moist. You may need to set a garden stake in the hole if your plant needs additional support (to reduce wind and rain damage). If this is the case, then use stretchy material (that will not damage the plant) to tie the plant to the stake.

Monitor the condition of the plants for several days and ensure the soil remains moist. Check to make sure that your plant has sucessfully adapted to its new environment!