How to Plant Perennials

Newly planted perennials take a few years to reach their full blooming potential, but it is possible to obtain flowerbed coverage while these plants establish. Because large potted plants are older than those in smaller containers, they provide immediate coverage and do not take as long to establish. Also, annuals can be planted in flowerbeds around establishing perennials.

Materials Required:

  • Potted perennial plants
  • Transplant fertilizer (10-52-10 formula)
  • Hand trowels
  • Spade
  • Gloves


  1. Prepare the soil. For instructions on soil preparation, please see “How to Prepare an Area for Planting.”
  2. Determine the arrangement for the area to be planted, ensuring that the plants will have enough room to mature and that each plant’s growth requirements are met. Arrange the plant pots on top of the soil to find preferred placement.
  3. Water each potted plant to ensure that its root ball will not fall apart when you remove it from its pot.
  4. For each plant, dig a hole that is deeper than its pot and 1½ times bigger than the pot’s width.
  5. Remove the plant from its pot. Gently tease the roots (loosen them with your fingers) away from the soil ball.
  6. Set the plant in the hole and fill it with soil, firming lightly. Cover the plant with soil no deeper than it was while in its pot.  Ensure that the top of the root ball is covered with soil to keep the plant from drying out.
  7. Water with transplant fertilizer immediately after planting and then again every two weeks, for a total of 4 applications (the initial, plus three more applications). Do not fertilize after August 1 to allow the plants to prepare for winter dormancy.