Perennial Plant Care Guide – Aster, Astilbe, Bearded Iris, Bee Balm, Bleeding Heart

Aster

To control weeds and retain moisture, apply a thin layer of compost each spring, followed by a 2 inch layer of mulch. To encourage bushiness, pinch young shoots back. Asters need watering during the summer if rainfall is less than 1 inch per week. Tall varieties can be kept upright with a stake. After the first killing frost, cut stems back so that they’re 1 to 2 inches above the soil line. These plants need to be divided every 3 or 4 years in the spring.

Astilbe

To control weeds and retain moisture, apply a thin layer of compost each spring, followed by a 2 inch layer of mulch. These plants need watering during the summer if rainfall is less than 1 inch per week. Astilbe plants will multiply rapidly. These plants need to be divided every 3 to 4 years in the spring.

Bearded Iris

This plant needs a thin layer of compost applied each spring, leaving some of the fleshy root exposed. As the flowers fade, cut the flower stalks back to the base of the plant. To encourage a second bloom, water consistently throughout the summer and remove faded flowers promptly. In the fall, trim away dead foliage and prune back healthy leaves to a height of 4 to 5 inches. Apply a layer of mulch once the soil has frozen to prevent roots from heaving out of the soil. If heaving does occur, cover the exposed roots with soil. Do not try to force them back into the earth. The bearded iris needs to be divided every 4 to 5 years in the late summer.

Bee Balm

To control weeds and retain moisture, apply a thin layer of compost each spring, followed by a 2 inch layer of mulch. These need to be watered during the summer if rainfall is less than 1 inch per week. To keep plants looking tidy, remove spent flowers. Cut plant stems back so that they’re 1 to 2 inches above the soil line after the first killing frost. Plants need dividing every few years, or when you notice that the center of the plant is dying out.

Bleeding Heart

To control weeds and retain moisture, apply a thin layer of compost each spring, followed by a 2 inch layer of mulch. These need to be watered during the summer if rainfall is less than 1 inch per week. After the first killing frost, cut stems back so that they’re 1 to 2 inches above the soil line.

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