Did you know? Most flowers, herbs, veg, and even some trees, have an average expected lifespan. Some plants, called “annuals” naturally die after only one year, usually soon after flowering. With this in mind, farmers harvest the plant whole plant and start afresh with new seeds for each new crop.
Long-lived plants, which are called perennials, can keep growing for three or more years. Perennial flowers include Japanese roses, periwinkles, and coleus. Perennial herbs include mint, basil, and Indian borage. Perennial vegetables include Brazilian spinach, Malabar spinach, and sweet potatoes.
Although perennial plants are typically low-maintenance, they can grow wild and look “leggy” with an accumulation of dead leaves and thick, untidy stalks over time. So how can we keep our perennial plants looking their best after a few seasons’ growth?
Step 1: Out with the old, in with the new
Snip away and clear dead leaves and branches from your plant. Unlike animals, plants have a limited capacity to heal themselves and instead have the superpower of growing replacement parts. By removing dead, old or sick parts of the plant you will actually stimulate the plant to grow new, fresh leaves and branches. This also works for dead flowers. By removing old flowers, you will stimulate the plant to produce more new flowers.
Step 2: Don’t forget to tip your plant
Don’t worry, you won’t need to work out a percentage of your receipt. Tipping your plant is pinching or snipping off the tips of branches, a type of pruning. The “tip” can be a few millimeter’s long to many centimeters long, depending on how much you need to remove to get your plant back into shape. For best results, don’t remove more than 2/3 of a branch at one time. Regular tipping stimulates the production of new branches, keeping your plant looking lush and bushy.
Step 3: It’s never too late for a fresh start
After a long time enjoying your herbaceous perennial, you may notice the stem and branches are starting to get thick and ugly. Maybe the plant is struggling to produce abundant growth like it did before. These are signs that it’s time for a fresh start. Take a few stem cuttings and place them in water or directly in your BG pots. They will soon produce new roots and start growing vigorously again!
By following these three steps it you can rejuvenate your perennial plant to look it’s best, basically forever! But how to freshen up other perennial plants that grow leaves straight up from the roots without making stems and branches? We’ll cover them in a future post.