Perennial Plant Care Guide – Peony, Phlox, Rudbeckia, Salvia

Peony

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. 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. For the first winter, after the ground freezes, apply a 4 to 6 inch layer of protective mulch to prevent roots from being heaved out of the ground. Remove the protective mulch in the spring. This winter mulch is not necessary after the peonies have established.

Phlox

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. To encourage plants to bloom again, cut back old flower stems as flowers fade. Tall garden phlox needs to be divided every 2 to 3 years minimize disease and promote vigor. After the first killing frost, cut stems back on tall phlox so that they’re 1 to 2 inches above the soil line.

Rudbeckia

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. These plants need to be divided every 3 to 4 years in the spring.

Salvia

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 encourage a second set of flowers in the fall, some types can be sheared back after flowering. 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 to 4 years in the spring.

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