We LOVE perennials. If annuals are the candy aisle at the grocery store, perennials are the produce section: Almost as much color and much more nutritious. Our perennials are potted up starting in late February, from plugs or field-grown roots from some of the best wholesalers in the country.
We tried to do a lot of our plants from seed when we first started the nursery. Growing from seed is much less expensive but takes a lot of patience. We found that it is best left to big heated greenhouse operations growing annuals and vegetables.
Seed-grown plants also tend to be…seedy. Sometimes, that’s just what you want, like when you are filling a slope with a patch of rudbeckia, but for the best plants with the biggest blooms and a nice tidy growth habit, you want plants grown from cuttings or tissue culture. Probably 90% of the perennials that we grow are from plants that were propagated from cuttings.
We use two different kinds of professional soil mix and top dress by hand with a high-quality commercial-grade slow-release fertilizer. Plants you get from us will not need any fertilizer for a full year from purchase. We recommend using a slow release like Ozmocote the following spring, right when you see the first flush of growth sometime in April. After that, you might not need any more, particularly if you are mulching the bed regularly.
If you are keeping them in a pot, it’s very important to use a slow-release fertilizer so you don’t burn the roots or build up salts. You will need to apply fertilizer every year that they are in a pot. Usually, once per season in spring is enough.
Another thing about pots. Many people don’t think to grow perennials in pots, but most of them do just fine. To be extra safe over winter, look for perennials that are rated two zones lower than your zone. For example, if you are in zone 6, like us in Weaverville, look for perennials rated for Zone 4.
Honestly, this is probably a little overkill. In most winters, zone 5 plants will be just fine in the Asheville area. We also recommend looking for easy growers for pots that are resistant to root rot, like Achillea or Coreopsis. Ornamental grasses also do quite well in pots.
Here is a list of many of the perennials we grow starting in late February. We try new things every year, so this list will evolve a bit. Please message us if we are missing one of your favorites.
Our first crop of perennials is usually ready around mid-April, but with the addition of a new cold frame in the winter of 24′, we hope to expand our season to have plants ready for you sooner. Much of the timing depends on good ole Mother Nature.
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