culture and maintenance |
controlling insects and diseases | asexual
FLOWER BED: PERENNIALS
Ch. 14, pp. 20 - 21
Controlling insects and
Although perennials in general are healthy plants, there are
occasionally some problems. It is advisable to select resistant
varieties. Plant perennials in conditions of light, wind, spacing,
and soil textures which are suited to them. Remove spent flowers,
dead leaves, and other plant litter, as these serve as a source of
reinfestation. It is advisable to know the major insect and
disease pests (if any) of each specific plant type grown, so that
problems can be correctly diagnosed and treated as they arise.
Asexual propagation of
Division. Most perennials left in the same place for more
than 3 years are likely to be overgrown, overcrowded, have dead or
unsightly centers, and in need of basic feeding and soil
amendments. The center of the clump will grow poorly, if at all,
and the flowers will be sparse. The clump will deplete the
fertility of the soil as the plant crowds itself. To divide mature
clumps of perennials select only vigorous side shoots from the
outer part of the clump. Discard the center of the clump. Divide
the plant into clumps of three to five shoots each. Be careful not
to over-divide; too small a clump will not give much color the
first year after replanting. Divide perennials when the plants are
dormant, just before a new season of growth, or in the fall so
they can become established before the ground freezes. Stagger
plant divisions so the whole garden will not be redone at the same
time; good rotation will yield a display of flowers each year. Do
not put all the divisions back into the same space that contained
the original plant. That would place too many plants in a given
area. Give extra plants to friends, plant them elsewhere in the
yard, or discard them.
Cuttings. Many plants can be propagated from
either tip or root cuttings. Generally, tip cuttings are easier to
propagate than root cuttings.
Select second growth of dianthus, candytuft, and phlox
for cuttings. Make tip cuttings 3 to 6 inches long. Treat the base
of the cutting with a root stimulating hormones. Leave all foliage
on the cutting except the part that will be below the soil line.
Insert one cutting per peat pot. Place peat pots of tip cuttings
in a lightly shaded place. Cover with a sheet of clear plastic.
Check regularly to make sure the cuttings do not dry out.
When cuttings do not pull easily out of the soil, they
have begun to root. Make holes in the plastic sheet to increase
the exposure of the cuttings to the air. This will harden the
cuttings. Every few days make new holes, or enlarge the holes.
Make root cuttings of phlox, baby's breath, and
oriental poppy. Dig the plants in late summer after they have
bloomed. Select pencil-sized roots; cut them into 4-inch sections.
Put each piece in a peat pot. Prepare a tray of peat pots as for
seeds, except the soil mix should be 2 parts sand, 1 part soil,
and 1 part peat moss. Water thoroughly.