Perennial Care

Perennials started popping up earlier than normal this spring.  And our steady rains have helped mine thrive and I hope yours have, too.  But we still need to make sure we do what’s needed to help them succeed through all the conditions a Minnesota summer will throw at them.  Here are some great perennial care tips from our friends at the Minnesota State Horticultural Society.

Remove Last Year’s Growth

This is important but the timing depends on your priorities. We hope you’re interested in helping pollinators and other insects. If you are, June is a good time to do this.  If you prune too early, you may disrupt pollinators that have created nests or hibernated in plant stems during the fall. Cutting the stems down too early could destroy eggs or kill the pollinators who are still in hibernation.

Remove Mulch

Mulch helps insulate gardens during the winter. But, once it gets warm, it isn’t as important and can generate mold in wet conditions.  


The great news is that perennials do not need regular watering. The Horticultural Society says to check and see if the soil is dry 4 to 5 inches down or if the plants seem droopy, then give them a good drink.


Dividing a perennial that has been established for is a great way to reinvigorate the plant in spring. The Society says you can tell if a perennial needs dividing by looking for a “doughnut” in the plant when it emerges.  If there is a hole in the center of the plant as it comes up in spring, it’s a good time to divide the plant.


The good news for people trying to keep their yards and gardens natural or even organic, is that many perennials don’t need any fertilizer. The Horticulture Society references prairie plants-such as coneflowers, rudbeckia and blazing star-doing best in a lean soil. Others can do well with just a light sprinkling of organic compost.

LUNSETH’s Landscaping team provides advice on how to choose the best perennials for your gardens as part our design and installation services.  Contact LUNSETH for a quote on landscaping opportunities for your yard.

Winter Love for Untidy Lawns & Gardens

A yard without leaves and a garden without dead stalks sticking up all winter long brings a sense of satisfaction. But at Organic Bob we promote a love of untidy lawns and gardens. These organic materials serve to nurture the soil and also provide shelter for pollinators.

Our friends at the Pollinator Friendly Alliance explain that most pollinators stay over winter, looking for shelter in both plants and the ground. “During cold months, dead plant stems, old bark, cane, leaves, and undisturbed soil are the secret winter homes of pollinators. Leaving piles of leaves, compost or wood help all manner of creatures including salamanders, beneficial insects, and pollinators. Many solitary bees like mason bees burrow under tree bark or wood piles. Some have gorged like bears to make it through the winter; others wait in suspended animation as larvae, pupae, or eggs.

“Something you should be aware of as you begin to tidy up your garden for winter – especially burning or removing the plant stems, you may be destroying hibernating bees or bee nurseries. So, it’s important to leave plants standing until late spring when temperatures rise and nectar and pollen is available.”

If you have a question about keeping a pollinator friendly yard, contact the experts.