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Plant Perennials!


By Paul James

That’s right. Now’s the time to get perennials in the ground, because soil temps are nice and warm. In fact, I checked just this morning and they were in the upper 50s throughout Tulsa County, which is perfect for root growth. And they’ll remain plenty warm for several weeks even if air temps drop to seasonal levels. So start digging.

As with trees and shrubs, which I wrote about two weeks ago, fall planting allows perennials to divert their energy from growing leaves and flowers into rapid root development, which allows the plants to emerge in spring with stronger, well-established root systems.

If you’ve been pondering perennials for some time but haven’t made the commitment, now’s the time. They’re available for sun or shade, come in every color imaginable, and nearly all of them — certainly those that flower, which is nearly all of them — attract pollinators. What’s more, perennials aren’t all that fussy.

And unlike annuals, which don’t make it through the winter, perennials will survive for years to come. Just keep in mind the ultimate heights of the plants you choose, as some get quite tall and need to be planted toward the back of your bed. 

In addition to the hugely popular (and tried and true) daylilies, coneflowers, black-eyed Susans, and blanket flowers, consider some lesser known choices such as Agastaches and Penstemons, as well as Salvia greggii such as ‘Furman’s Red’ or those in the “Mirage” series. And whatever you do, don’t forget a few Coreopsis. And some Sedums. Oh and Dianthus for sure. Ditto yarrow. 

For shade, you gotta have Hosta, right? And ferns. And coral bells. Plus hellebores and more. Seriously, the list of shady characters is a lot longer than you think.

And the truth is, you really can’t go wrong with any of them. Nor will it take long to discover your perennial favorites.

Happy gardening, ya’ll.

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