How to articles
How-to plant perennials
The secret of success when planting a perennial is to make sure that the soil is well prepared and the roots are firmed in properly. After planting, always cover the soil with a mulch to prevent competition from weeds and help retain moisture around the roots of the plant.
Avoid getting mulch on the plant because it can scorch the foliage and encourage rotting. Also watch out for slugs and snails, which find the warmth offered by the mulch irresistible.
When to plant?
Container-grown hardy perennials can be planted at any time of the year, except when the soil is frozen or waterlogged. Autumn planting is best on light soils, but for all others wait until spring.
Five steps to success
1. You will need to dig a hole at least twice as wide and slightly deeper than the perennial's container. Mix the soil you've removed with well-rotted organic matter (compost) and leave to one side.
2. Nearly all perennials need to be planted at the same depth as they were growing in the pot. Check the hole is the right depth by laying a cane or piece of timber across it. If the plant is standing too high you'll need to remove some of the soil in the bottom of the hole, or if it's too low then top it up a bit.
3. Gently tip the plant out with one hand on top of the compost to support it, taking care not to damage any emerging shoots. Then ease the perennial out of its pot.
4. Position the perennial in the centre of the hole then fill in the gaps around the sides of the plant with soil mixture, firming it down gently – to get rid of any air pockets and make sure it's secure.
5. Water the perennial well. Then cover the soil with a generous layer of mulch like well-rotted garden compost or manure to help prevent weeds and reduce the amount of water loss from the soil. Keep the mulch at least 5cm clear of the plant.