PLANTING BARE ROOT PLANTS
Loosen the soil to a depth of 8-12" and then dig a hole about 4" deep. Set the plant in the hole, positioning the crown (where the roots and stem are joined) just below the soil surface. Fill the hole and water well to settle the plant. Be sure to check instructions on the package for plant-specific recommendations about planting depth.
PLANTING STARTER PLUGS
Loosen the soil to a depth of 8-12". Dig a hole about 3" deep and position the root ball inside the hole. The top surface of the root ball should be even with, or just slight below the soil surface. Fill in around the plant and water well to settle it. Check instructions on the package for any plant-specific recommendations about planting depth.
PLANT IN GROUPS
Most perennials look best when they are planted in groups of 3 to 5 plants that are the same type and variety. When possible, arrange the plants in rectangular, triangular or circular shapes. This will give your garden the most natural look.
Most plants grow best in fertile, well-drained soil. If your soil is heavy clay or extremely sandy, adding peat moss, top soil or compost will improve the texture and fertility. Good drainage is critical for healthy root growth. Soggy soil will cause bulbs to rot and deprive plant roots of oxygen.
OFF TO A GREAT START
Perennials need to establish a strong root system before they can fill out and begin producing flowers. Once they do so, they will come back stronger each year. This settling in period varies, according to the type of plant. Peonies, for instance, may need 3 years before they hit their stride. Other perennials, such as rudbeckia, take root quickly and will usually bloom the same year they are planted.
During their first growing season, new perennials will benefit from being watered during dry weather. Mulching the soil surface will help the soil retain moisture and minimize the need for additional water.