Perennials--Super Summer Standouts

As the temperatures start to heat up, so do your perennial beds! Come June, those blooms should be just about burstin’ with enough energy to light up your gardens right through the dog days. But they can’t do all that bloomin’ on their own. It’s up to you to give ’em a helping hand. Here’s a quick-and-easy perennial to-do list:

  • Keep ’em bug- and thug-free with my Simple Soap-and-Oil Spray: 1 tbsp. of liquid dish soap, 1 cup of vegetable oil, and 1 cup of water. Mix the soap and oil together, and add 1-2 teaspoons of the mix to the water in a handheld sprayer. Shake to mix, then spray on plants to control aphid, whiteflies, and spider mites.
  • Watering wisely means paying attention to your plants, not just dumping water on them every Tuesday. Perennials need about 1 to 1 ½" of water every week or so. That means that if Mother Nature is generous, you probably won’t have to water your beds at all. But if she’s holdin’ out on you, get out that sprinkler.
  • When it comes to feedin’, my Year-Round Refresher Tonic is just what your perennials need to keep bloomin’ their best. To make it, mix 1 cup of beer, 1 cup of Plant Shampoo, 1 cup of liquid lawn food, 1/2 cup of molasses, and 2 tbsp. of fish emulsion in your 20 gallon hose-end sprayer, filling the balance of the sprayer jar with ammonia. Spray this elixir on your perennials every 3 weeks from spring through fall (in warm climates, you can use it year-round).
  • And don’t forget to stay on top of those weeds! Make a habit of pulling any weed as soon as you see it. The longer you wait, the more nutrients it’s going to steal from your perennials. And, pulling a few weeds here and there is a whole lot easier than one of those marathon weekend weeding sessions—trust me!
  • Add deadheading and mulching to the list, and you should have a beautiful bed of perennials throughout the whole summer!

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