Perennials

Perennials

We are proud to offer such a diverse selection of perennials, here at Casey's and strive to help you choose the right selection for your garden needs. We offer a 90 day nursery stock guarantee on all of our perennials and shrubs.

Perennials provide a bridge between the permanent structure of shrubs and the temporary color of annuals. A well-sited perennial can provide years of interest at a relatively low cost, which is easily shared with friends. Experiment with lots of variety at first to discover what does best in your garden.

Bed Preparation for Perennials

Prepping your beds before planting perennials can save you a lot of time and effort in the long run. You can have healthy perennials that grow with ease when you prep your beds. Preparations include making sure you weed before planting, having a well-draining soil, and adding enough organic matter to have long lasting effects on your plants.

Eliminating Weeds:

This will be your first step.  By eradication your garden of weeds, you ensure that your plants will not be competing for nutrients and water.  Hand pull existing weeds, and spread a pre-emergent weed preventive onto soil.  You can also lay mulch around your plants after all bed preparation has been done.
NOTE:  Using black plastic underneath mulch coverings is now discouraged by professionals.  Soil is a living, breathing organism, and plastic products do not allow the soil to expire oxygen.  It becomes moldy and water bogged.  Black cloth is a better alternative, and more eco-friendly as well!

Well-Draining Soil:

After weeding, start by adding either vermiculite, gypsum, or perlite to your soil.  This will help create a lighter soil.
NOTE: Adding sand into your existing soils, does not help with drainage.  The amount of sand needed to improve drainage is immense and extremely costly.

Adding Organic Matter:

Any type of compost would benefit your perennials immensely.  Cow manure, mushroom compost, pro-biotics, bone meal, blood meal, pot ash, fish emulsion, kelp meal, green sand, or bat guano are all wonderful options to add to your perennial beds for long lasting fertilizers. 

Why Choose Native Plants?

Perennials

Native plants provide the best source of food and cover for wildlife and are ideally suited to the soils and climate they evolved in. Because of this, they generally require minimal fertilizer, little supplemental water after they are established, and no pest control. Native plants also help build and maintain our declining native wildlife and bug species.

We carry the American Beauties® collection of native plants. They make it easy to use trees, shrubs, vines, grasses and wildflowers in your landscape that are beautiful and good for wildlife. Native plant experts and wildlife experts have teamed up to create four gardens guaranteed to bring life to your landscape by providing food and habitat for a variety of desirable critters.

Read more about the American Beauties Collection >

Monarchs

Due to the decline of the monarchs' natural habitat, their numbers have dramatically decreased.  By planting native milkweed (the monarchs host plant for larvae) you can help bring back the monarch population.  You can also plant other butterfly loving perennials, listed below. 

Honeybees

Honeybees are another creature whose host plants are being destroyed.  By planting natives, or a variety of flowering plants, you can help the honeybee.  Avoid using chemicals on flowering shrubs and perennials, and remember that 1/3 of our food supply comes from honey-bee pollinated plants.

Perennial FAQ's

Which plants can I grow to attract hummingbirds, honeybees and butterflies?

Remember: The right way to attract hummingbirds, honeybees, and butterflies is to have a succession of flowering plants, for season long food, as well as habitat for them to hydrate, feed, and reproduce.

Plants to attract Hummingbirds: Ajuga, Alcea, Aquilegia, Asclepias, Buddleia, Clematis, Delphinium, Dianthus, Dicentra, Digitalis, Hemerocallis, Hesperis, Heuchera, Hosta, Lobelia, Lupinus, Lychnis, Monarda, Nepeta, Penstemon, Phlox, Physostegia, Salvia, Scabiosa, Veronica
Plants to attract Butterflies: Acanthus, Achillea, Agastache, Alcea, Allium, Anaphalis, Aquilegia, Ascelpias, Aster, Astibe, Aubrieta, Boltonia, Buddleia, Campanula, Catanache, Centaurea, Cheiranthus, Chrysanthemum, Cimicifuga, Coreopsis, Delphinium, Dianthus, Echinacea, Echinops, Erigeron, Eupatorium, Filipendula, Gaillardia, Gaura, Helenium, Helianthus, and most importantly, Milkweed
Plants to attract Honeybees:  Black eyed-Susan, Goldenrod, Joe-pye weed, Lupine, Penstemon, Coneflowers, Lobelia,  Rhododendrons, Sage, Stonecrop sedum, Sunflowers,  Wild Indigo, Columbine,

What can I do to encourage my clematis to bloom?

Clematis

Clematis love bright sun and cool roots. When the stems of your clematis are around 6-8" tall in the springtime, pinch out the central tips on all of the stems. This will encourage blooming up the entire stem of the plant as well as encouraging a bushier vine. This also is the time to give your clematis the first of a bi-annual fertilizing. (The second should be given around the end of June) Use clematis fertilizer or any other good perennial fertilizer.

My mums are trying to bloom - should I remove the buds again? How late can I pinch them back and still have them bloom early enough to beat the frost?

Garden mums and hardy asters should be pinched or trimmed back from spring until early July for late summer and fall blooming. Our rule of thumb is to leave the plants alone after the 4th of July. Once the garden mum gets past this date it will naturally prepare itself for late summer or fall bud set and bloom.

How do I divide perennials?

As a general rule, perennials should be divided every 3 to 4 years to keep them blooming vigorously. When perennials become crowded, they tend not to bloom as strongly as in previous years. Most plants can be divided in early Spring just when the new growth emerges from the soil.The best method of dividing perennials is to use a garden fork, or spade. Dig up as much of the root ball as possible. Cut root ball into pieces using a sharp knife or spade depending on the size of the clump. Each piece must contain roots and top growth. 4" divisions will produce nice plants the next season for most perennials.

When is a good time to plant perennials?

Typically you will want to plant a perennial in the early fall or early spring when it's not as stressful on the plant to produce a root system. But in our ever changing climate, you can plant a perennial any time of the year, as long as you keep it watered consistently.

What is a biennial?

A biennial is a plant that has a 2 year life cycle. This means the plant blooms in its second year of life, and then dies afterwards. Most of your common biennials will self-seed. Examples are: Foxglove, Lupine, and Hollyhocks.

How should I plant a perennial?

  1. Dig a hole twice as wide as the width of the plant. Put only as deep as the container the plant came in.
  2. Put the plant in the hole up to the crown of the plant. If deeper, it can lead to crown rot, poor blooms, and stunted growth. Too shallow and the plant will dry out faster and also lead to stunted growth.
  3. Water until established, 1 inch a week, between rain and your own watering.
  4. Mulch around root zone (NOT right up against trunk) to help with water retension.

Which perennials need to be protected during winter?

Non-hardy perennials, or recently planted perennials should be protected.  In the Bloomington-Normal area, protect perennials that are cold hardy to zone 5b and lower (Zones 6a-10a plants).  Use an 8-12 inch layer of coarse, textured mulch that will not pack down during winter.  Do not mulch until soil has frozen, sometime in late October, early November, or corwn rot and delayed dormancy will occur.  Remove winter mulch in spring, just before, or as soon as new growth begins.