Preparing Perennials For Winter
Tips for growing hardy perennials:
In cold winter areas, stop fertilizing perennials by midsummer to help slow their growth and begin the process of hardening off for winter. After a growing season of enjoying the colorful blooms from your perennial garden, late fall is the time in cold-winter regions Zones 7 and colder to prepare the beds for winter. In warm winter areas, fall is a great time to plant perennials. Taking care of beds in fall will help them thrive next spring and summer. Gardeners in warm-winter areas need only to keep the beds cleaned up and replace diseased or worn-out plants as needed. Once the first frost strikes and foliage begins to yellow and die, cut back the foliage. Also dig and store tender perennial bulbs in a cool storage area that does not freeze such as dahlias and gladiolus that can’t survive the winter in the ground in a cold climate.
In dry-winter areas that don’t freeze, water perennials once a month to keep them alive and healthy. Perennials that have finished for the season, cut back stems to 6 to 8 inches from the ground. After the ground freezes, remove old mulch and replace it with hay, evergreen boughs, or floating row covers. This extra layer protects tender perennials and helps catch and hold snow, which will also insulate the bed.