Tips for Getting More Blooms from Your Perennials

Large flower summer garden
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A garden full of luscious blossoms is the dream of many gardeners, whether they garden organically or not. There's nothing quite as disappointing as a perennial that isn't blooming the way it should. We all have them: the daylily that blooms its head off in your neighbor's yard but gives you one wimpy flower per season; the roses that just don't live up to their reputation. Before giving up on them, try these three organic tricks to make your perennials bloom better.

Give Them Some Compost

Side dressing your perennials with compost in early spring and again in autumn will give your perennials a nice, long-lasting nutrient boost, which will undoubtedly improve your plants' overall health. Blooming takes quite a bit of energy, and an unhealthy or undernourished plant just won't have the energy to do the job. Apply an inch or so of compost, scratching it gently into the soil (be careful---you don't want to damage any roots!) all around the plant.

Provide Additional Nutrition

One of the essential nutrients required for flower production is phosphorous, which is indicated by the second number in the N-P-K ratio. So, to improve flower production, look for an organic fertilizer or soil amendment with a higher middle number. There are several commercial formulations on the market. Simply apply these according to the package instructions.

Mulch

Giving your perennials a two to three-inch layer of mulch will improve the overall health of your plant, resulting in more blooms.

Most perennials grow and bloom better when the soil conditions are cooler. A layer of mulch will help keep the soil and roots cool. That same mulch will also maintain soil moisture. Adequate moisture will help prevent your perennials from becoming stressed. Plants that are under stress are more likely to shut down, halting growth and flowering and devoting more energy to root growth.

Just be sure that you don't cover the crown with much since this can cause rot. Pull the mulch an inch or so back from the crown.

These three simple tips should help jump start your perennials' bloom rate. If you don't see any improvement during the season, consider moving the plant to another location. Sometimes, it takes a little trial and error to find the perfect home for your plants.