How to Plant Perennials

Your guide to bringing beautiful growth, year after year.

If you’re looking for beautiful growth in your garden, you really can’t go wrong with perennials. And the fact that these plants come back for years to come–major bonus. Perennial plants can also be forgiving, so they are a great option for those new to growing. When it comes to perennial planting, you’ll want to keep these things in mind.

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Where to Plant

When you’re determining where to plant your perennial there are some important factors to keep in mind. First things first, what works well in your area? A great way to find out what perennial plants will grow well in your area is by determining your plant hardiness zone. This will let you know which plants will most likely survive the winters in your area, coming back ready to bloom once spring returns. To learn more about finding your zone, check out our plant hardiness guide.

Next, you’ll want to ensure your perennial will get the proper amount of sunlight. Many perennials vary in their light needs, so you’ll want to check what your plant needs to grow. Sun-loving plants, like dianthus, flourish when they receive at least 6 hours of sunlight daily. Shade lovers, like hostas, are the opposite, preferring shadier quarters that are protected from getting too much sun.

When deciding on where to plant, it’s also helpful to group plants together with similar water and care needs. Planting drought-tolerant plants near each other keeps the soil from getting too much water, whereas plants that need regular drinks can soak up those extra waterings together.

Also, when it comes to water–whether you decide to plant your perennial in a pot or in the ground–you’ll want to make sure that area drains properly. Roots that constantly sit in soggy, wet soil can lead to root rot, which can kill plants.

See what your Greendigs perennial plant prefers on their product page on

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When to Plant

As far as timing goes, perennials can typically be planted at any time after the last frost through early fall and will fare just fine. However, it’s helpful to do a little extra research and check what time of year will have your perennial growing best.

For perennial bulbs and bare roots, It’s also important to know when your plant will begin blooming. For summer-blooming perennial bulbs and bare roots, you’ll want to plant them after the final frost in your area. Spring bloomers, on the other hand, will need to get started in soil during the fall, a few weeks before the first frost.

Get Growing

Once the where and when is figured out, it’s all about the planting. When planting or transplanting a perennial plant with some growth, you typically want to dig a hole that’s twice as wide and no deeper than the container it came in. Depth can vary for perennials grown from a bulb or bare roots, so you’ll want to check their ideal planting depth. Some sprout better when planted only 1’’-2’’ below the soil’s surface, while others require 3x that depth, preferring to be snuggled up 4’’-6’’ deep underground. Once you’ve got a space prepared in the soil, place your plant, bulb, or bare root in the hole, then backfill the empty space with soil. Lightly firm the soil around your plant to remove any large air pockets, then give it a thorough watering.

For a full rundown of planting bulbs and bare roots, read our guide to planting them.

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