Taking time to plan your perennial gardens, and doing research on perennials you are interested in (learning mature size, sun requirements, etc..), will allow you to purchase your plants with confidence. You’ll be able to plant your perennial gardens knowing that your choices will be happy in their designated spots in your landscape.

Blue Mist is a spreading perennial that Queen butterflies love to see in your landscape.

The hummingbird bush is a gorgeous perennial that is drought tolerant once established.

Tips for Planning Perennial Beds:

  1. Opt for planting perennials that have a hardiness zone of 8b-9a for San Antonio. This is our optimal growing zone.
  2. Notice the blooming cycles of your perennials so that you can plan your garden beds to have interest most of the year round, filling in with colorful annuals when your perennials are not in season. Know if your perennial is evergreen or deciduous.
  3. Plan for like-minded perennials in the same beds together. This way you know that the care you are giving one perennial is the same that others need in that bed. (You wouldn’t want a perennial that needs a lot of water planted in the same bed of one that is extremely drought tolerant.)
  4. Know light requirements of your perennials. (Ask us for help with this as some perennials are brought in from out of state and their “full sun” requirement might not be the same as “full blazing San Antonio sun”.)
  5. Learn the growing habits of your perennials. You wouldn’t want to plant a perennial that grows 5 feet high at maturity in the front of your garden bed where it could block out shorter plants.

Firespike is a gorgeous perennial for your shadier areas in your landscape.

Firebush is a perennial that hummingbirds love to slurp nectar from.

Tips For Preparing Perennial Beds:

  1. Prepare your garden beds by removing weeds. Weeds compete with the root systems of perennials for water and nutrients. A weed-free garden bed is a great starting point.
  2. Dig your soil depth. For an in ground garden bed you should be trying to turn the soil to a depth of at least 8-12” so the roots have space to grow and settle. If you find you can’t get down to this depth due to limestone rock or other impediments, you may find you need to build up with a raised bed instead.
  3. Make sure your chosen garden site drains well. Root and crown rot can occur if drainage is not sufficient. You may need to build up with raised beds if you soil has drainage issued.
  4. Test your soil. Having your soil tested at this point is a step many people overlook, but by doing this, you will have a clear analysis of what your soil is lacking and what additives it needs to create a healthy environment for your perennials and other plants.
  5. Amend your soil. Most of will find we have cruddy soil here in San Antonio and we will need to add to it. For the most part, the more organic material you can add, the more productive and healthier your soil will be. Perennial beds will benefit from the addition of a 4” layer of compost or soil conditioner blended into the top 4-6” of the garden bed. Mix it all up well, then rake smooth. Your bed is now ready for your perennials to meet their new home.

Don’t forget that SAWS WaterSaver Landscape Coupon Program is a great way to find perennials that are well-suited for our climate conditions in San Antonio. You can also check out the list on the Texas SuperStars site for perennials that are highly recommended for our area.

~The Happy Gardener