Set plants 12 to 18 inches apart. Choose a sunny or lightly shaded location (many varieties, including the pastels, prefer partial shade as they tend to fade in direct sun), and in soil that is well-drained and moisture-retentive – but not likely to become waterlogged.
Water well during periods of drought; we also recom mend a summer mulch to conserve moisture. Annual applications of a fertilizer high in phosphates are also recommended. If slugs pose a problem, apply slug bait around the crowns just before or as shoots begin to emerge. Cut flower stems after blooming. Divide reblooming types every 2 years.
Tips for gardening in particularly hot, dry climates:
The dry, sparse appearance of bareroot perennials can be alarming to the novice gardener, but in reality ordering bare root is often the smarter choice. Foliage and blooms can be seductive, but the health and long-term potential of a plant truly lies in its roots. Bareroot plants have several advantages over plants in containers—bare roots are less likely to be harmed in the shipping process, their timing is easier to control, and they are field-grown for larger, healthier root systems. This why Wayside Gardens has had great success with bare root plants, and you can too!
It is safer to ship plants in bareroot form because there is no risk in harming new growth, and therefore the plant actually has a better chance of making it safely into the customer’s garden.
And thanks to refrigerated storage, the timing of bareroot perennials can be precisely controlled. “(Bareroot perennials) are dormant,” explains JPPA Lead Horticulturist Benjamin Chester, “But as soon as they leave the refrigerated storage they’ll begin breaking dormancy.” And once the plant ‘wakes up’, it is ready to begin the growing season in earnest, which means it will quickly catch up to the level of container plants.
The most important benefit of bareroot perennials is that they can be field grown rather than confined to containers. The bareroot Cherry Cheesecake Hibiscus pictured hereperfectly illustrates the difference between a field-grown perennial and a containerized one. Wayside Gardens used to offer this variety in a quart container, like the Monarda next to it. But the Hibiscus was simply too cramped in that space, so Wayside switched to growing it in the earth and selling it bare root. The result is a thick, fibrous mass of roots that used to fill up several cubic feet of soil and which, even in its bare, pruned form would be too large to fit back into the 1 Quart container. What a difference a little space makes! While small and slow-growing cultivars can start well in containers, large and vigorous cultivars need more room to stretch out and develop a solid root system.