As we start to say goodbye to the vibrant annual blooms that covered our gardens and landscapes, it's time to shift our focus to the next phase of Iowa gardening: post-bloom perennial care. This guide will explore the ins and outs of nurturing your precious perennials, including renowned beauties like iris, daylilies, and peonies. Whether you're a seasoned gardener or just dipping your fingers into the soil, these tips will ensure that your landscape remains a haven of natural beauty and sustainability long after the flower petals have fallen.
What is the General Life Expectancy of Perennials in Iowa?
Unlike those one-season wonders more commonly known as annuals, perennials are the gifts that keep on giving, coming back year after year. However, their lifespans can still vary. On average, most perennials will grace your garden with their presence for about three to five years, though many perennials can outlive these estimates with proper care and a sprinkle of TLC. Ultimately, your perennial's lifespan depends on how well you understand your specific plant's needs and cater to them accordingly.
What is the Best Fertilizer for Perennial Plants?
The best way to give our perennial pals the nutrients they crave is by using organic fertilizers. The magic of these foods lies in their ability to provide your plants with a steady stream of nutrients without harsh chemicals that can harm your garden and the planet at large. Look for a good slow-release granulated fertilizer or compost and mix them into the topsoil during the growing season. We like Espoma FlowerTone. This nourishing boost will fuel your perennials, promote strong root development, and enhance their resilience against pests and diseases.
Perennial Care Guide: Iris, Daylilies, and Peonies
Now, let's get to the heart of the matter: how to care for your irises, daylilies, peonies, and other perennials to keep them flourishing long after their blooms have faded!
While your perennial blooms may be starting to fade, don't start hacking away at their foliage just yet. Those leaves are the solar panels that recharge your plant's energy reserves, so wait until they turn yellow or brown to start cutting things back. Trim the leaves to about an inch or two above the soil line so the plant can channel its energy into nourishing the roots for next year's splendid display.
Deadheading is a simple act that can work wonders on all your flowers. When your perennials have finished flowering, simply snip off their spent blossoms to keep your garden looking tidy and encourage your plants to direct their energy towards producing new blooms instead of wasting it on seed production. You can then dry your snipped flower heads for use in crafting or a gorgeous fall floral display!
Even after flowering, our perennials can sometimes fall victim to unwanted visitors, so call in some of nature's best exterminators to keep those pests at bay without resorting to harmful chemicals! Introducing ladybugs, lacewings, beetles, and other pint-sized predators to your garden is a perfect, all-natural way to protect your plants from harmful (and annoying) insects.
Fall Bulb Planting Preparation
With your perennials finally taking a bit of a breather, fall is the perfect time for bulb planting. We recommend preparing the soil for your spring bulbs ahead of time by adding compost or Coast Of Maine Lobster Compost to create a cozy environment for your future blooms to establish strong roots before the winter chill sets in.
Caring for your post-bloom perennials is a labor of love that rewards you with a beautiful and thriving garden all year round. Following our perennial care guide will equip you with the knowledge and techniques that will ensure your flowers continue to flourish year after year. If you're ever in need of a bit of extra flower care advice, stop by and see us; we've got everything you need for year-round perennial care right here!