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Perennial Growth Pattern
July 11nd by Anthony D'Atri

It would be a beautiful thing if you planted your perennials and received instant gratification that you made the right move, but as most of us know, this is not true. Here is a handy saying about the growth pattern of perennials.

Sleep, Creep and GROW!

As the saying goes, the first year they sleep, the second year they creep and the third year they grow. Coming from a landscaper this couldn't be more true, so don't be disappointed if by a perennial garden that seems to be stagnant throughout the first year. Most perennials spend the first year of their life after sprouting just establishing themselves, building roots and pretty much just setting a foundation for the maturation of the plant. Like a baby drawing all it's nutrients from the surrounding soil so it can to begin what we can only hope is a long life cycle of growing and dying.

The second year is when the perennials start to bloom. Aside from some herbaceous and woodier perennials that will wait longer to display their flowers, most will show signs of line in their second year. A few quick bloomers for all you impatient gardeners out there who like to see a little something something for your investment, right away can look toward perennials such as the "Blackberry Lily", "Blanket Flower", "Gaura", "Rose Campion" and "Black Eyed Susan". Though I warn you, the flowering will not be as abundant or large as they will be in the years to come.

By the third year the perennials are flowering at their full potential and will continue to grow in size if their conditions permit it. By this time the perennials have a good foot-hold on the makeup of their surrounding soil, they've set their foundation and have started seriously exploring. Exceptionally vigorous perennials are ready to be divided in the third year while other plants will thrive without division for many years.