17 Common Perennial Gardening Mistakes You Should Avoid

Perennials are a smart choice for gardeners who want to avoid annual plantings. Growing perennials means you won’t have to replant every year, saving time and money!

Pests, diseases, and weeds are all waiting for you to make one lazy mistake. Here’s how not to do it:

1. Not Making a Plan For Your Garden

Planning ahead is key to successful gardening. Pay attention to what kind of light your plants prefer, make sure they have the right amount of moisture in their soil and are planted at a height that will allow them easy access to sunlight but not be constantly trampled by foot traffic!

And don’t just assume all perennials are alike! Some like sandy soil, while others prefer a loam mix.

You also need to consider how easy it will be for you in the future–perhaps these plants would have been better suited if their roots didn’t dry out easily when planted deeper.

2. Ignoring Your Growing Zone

The hardiness zones for perennials have been carefully researched and categorized so you can easily determine the best plant for your climate.

Some annuals might be beautiful, but will they fare well in an area with too many frosts? Make sure to research how much sun or shade each type needs before adding them to your garden!

3. Not Maintaining Your Plants

Growing a garden is hard work! But if you want to grow something that will last your lifetime, it needs good care.

Most perennials are beneficial for this aspect because they don’t need much maintenance and do not often die due to neglect like some other types of plants might.

If you want your plants to thrive, then it is important that they are cared for properly. They will need water and mulch on a regular basis as well as weed removal!

Do not forget about fertilizing or deadheading either- these two processes help encourage energy funneled into root development later in the season which ultimately results in more flowers being produced by this plant!

4. Not Planning Ahead Colorful Foliage

The summer is coming to an end and you know what that means? It’s time for some autumn leaves! But are your plants still looking good in their final days of glory or have they already lost all color?

One thing is for sure, you don’t want to stare at plants that have already browned and look unhappy!

What you can do about this, is plan ahead. Think about how your garden will look throughout the seasons.

Early spring is perfect for plants that bloom early like trillium and hellebore, then add a few late-blooming beauties in autumn with Russian sage or black-eyed susans to extend their color through fall!

5. Mulching Issues

A mulch volcano is a garden term that might sound intimidating, but it shouldn’t be something you strive for in your yard.

Mulching has advantages and disadvantages depending on how it’s done – when plants are mounded up with fresh chopped wood or leaves, they can struggle to get enough water and nutrients since these materials don’t drain well at all!

Mulching is an easy and effective way to improve the quality of your soil, but it’s important not to overdo it. If you mulch more than two or three inches away from each plant’s crown (growing point), there will be less risk of spreading disease.

Mulch is great for keeping weeds at bay, insulating in winter, and adding nutrients to the soil. Apply it right before fall so you have an extra layer against harsh weather or use it early spring when planting seeds!

6. Poor or No-Staking

Big plants need some help to stand tall. For example, peonies and delphiniums both have long narrow stems that will flop over once they start blooming.

To make the most of your perennial garden you should stake these plants early in the season so they don’t get too far ahead before finishing up!

7. Crowding Plants Together

You might love the look of perennials that are planted in dense clusters – who wouldn’t?- but unfortunately, all you’re doing is inviting disease.

Don’t crowd your plants when planting – remember they will only get worse if crowded too heavily!

For those who think four inches is too small, it might be worth remembering that a young plant in this pot will eventually grow to cover several feet.

When you add new plants and want them all the same height or width as your original one, make sure they’re not much shorter than six inches because otherwise, their base won’t reach any soil before being blocked by the soil above!

It’s important to choose the right planting location for your plants, especially if you want them to grow into something beautiful. Perennials take time and patience but by their third year, they will already be mature enough!

8. Failing to attract Pollinators

Many plants need pollinators to make their seeds and fruits grow, but not all of them are self-pollinating. To attract these important insects you should plant plenty for both yourself as well as other living things like bees!

To make life easier for these winged helpers, plant pollinator-friendly plants in your perennial garden. Planting them can be an act that you do with happy thoughts and intentions!

Bee balm (a type of herb) or lavender are just two examples—both add beautiful color to landscapes while also being great sources of food for bees when they need it most during the summer months.

9. Getting Too Preoccupied With “Rows”

A monoculture garden is not only boring, but it can also encourage pests and diseases. Pests will decimate your entire row of plants instead of just one or two planted here and there because they like that particular plant more than others!

Planting plants in groups can create a more beneficial habitat for creatures you do want around, like birds and insects.

For example, planting shade trees on one side of your house will give those who live under it shelter from harsh rays as well as provide protection against strong winds that would otherwise flatten them!

10. Planting Too Deep – or Not Deep Enough

When planting any kind of plant, depth is important for success. But what about perennials? You’re committing them to a lifetime in your garden and if you don’t give these hardworking plants the right starting conditions–they’ll never grow as you want them to!

Dig your hole about three times as wide as the container but only plant it at ground level. You can also put in an inch or so above if you plan to mulch and don’t want any of those pesky weeds coming up through there!

11. Ignoring the Plant’s Full Potential Size

Make sure to check the labels on your plants before you put them in a pot! Your shrubs and trees might only be ten or twelve inches tall, but they could grow rapidly up to several feet high.

If this happens make sure that their mature size is taken into account when planting because otherwise there will be too many issues with relocating them later down the line.

12. Not Deadheading and Weeding

Deadheading your plants is an essential part of maintaining them and ensuring they thrive.

If you find this task inconvenient or difficult, know that there are some types of flowers (and veggies!) wilder than others: specifically, those with shorter stems will need less deadheading. Otherwise, deadhead your plants on a weekly level.

The same goes for weddings. Left unchecked, weeds will make your perennial garden appear messy- and they’ll compete with you for light, water, and nutrients too!

Mulch can help suppress weed growth in the long run, but in the short term, we need something tangible like a sturdy pair of gloves to take out the weeds with our own hands.

13. Being Too Ambitious

When you start a new garden, don’t go too big in your first year or two. You need to be patient and build up from small so that it has enough space for the years ahead when growth is more expansive.

Purchase plants as small as possible, because they’ll be much less expensive. Some perennials can be purchased in six-inch cell packs and will quickly grow into strong plants that are great for your garden!

If you’re skilled at gardening then maybe even some of these from seed might work out well too.

14. Getting Flower Fever

A garden that relies solely on flower petals will fade into obscurity when the last bloom dies.

Instead, consider planting some attractive plants with variegated or colored leaves to add beauty and texture throughout your yard!

15. Wasting Water

Instead of wasting water, or overwatering your plants, consider drip irrigation. It is a great way to ensure that all of your plants get as much water as they need.

It may not be ideal for those who don’t like getting their hands dirty, but it’s worth noting what type and how much each individual plant needs before you decide whether or not this system might work best for you!

16. Inaccurate Pruning

Be mindful of how you prune your plants! While it is necessary for some perennials, be careful that the technique works with what type of plant you have.

For example: remember that different types bloom on new wood this year or last year depending on their species, and this can mean cutting off fresh blooms, so you have to be extra careful.

17. Not Caring For Soil Quality

Soil is the foundation of everything we do in gardening. Without it, our plants will not thrive and would likely die young – regardless if they’re annuals or perennials!

So make sure you pay close attention to what type of soil conditioner works well for your yard, and make sure you maintain it, amend it, and build it from scratch again and again if needed.

It is important to give your perennials the best chance of survival by making sure that their soil has proper nutrients, water retention, and drainage. This can be done before planting a single one!

Learning to garden is a beautiful thing. But it’s not always perfect, so we wanted you to know these common mistakes that are often made when starting out in the world of gardening and ways you can avoid them. Hopefully, you’ll find this information helpful!

You may also like...