How To Make Sure Perennials Come Back

Nick Durante
by Nick Durante

Gardeners love to plant as many perennials as possible to make their springtime list of chores even easier. Perennials come back year after year and bloom for months at a time, but this only happens if you take good care of them. Many homeowners understandably struggle with how to make sure perennials come back.

The best way to make sure perennials come back is to fertilize the soil once per season and protect them from weeds. Regularly pull weeds that pop up and install mulch or a weed barrier to protect your perennial’s root system. It also helps to regularly prune your perennials while they are in season to maximize blooms and ensure they don’t get overgrown and put stress on the roots.

Make sure to water the soil before the first frost of the year so the roots won’t quickly dry out. Follow along as we explore how to make sure perennials come back.

Why Won’t My Perennials Come Back?

If your perennials won’t come back, it’s likely because the root system is in poor condition. The root system of an annual will die at the end of the season, but that’s not the case with perennials. A perennial’s root system stays intact even when the plant appears dead until it’s time to bloom again.

This isn’t possible if the roots are too damaged or eroded. Perennials will also fail to come back if the fall and winter are particularly harsh. This can also happen if you experience a drought or excessive rain for too long.

Root systems struggle to survive if they get too little or too much water, and your perennials will have difficulty coming back. Other factors such as heavy frost and pest infestations can damage perennials to the point where they won’t bloom again. You will know your perennials will come back if the roots are light and limber in most cases.

How Do You Get Perennials To Come Back?

Whether it be pruning your plants or adding compost to the soil, there are several ways to ensure your perennials come back. Let’s look at the five best ways to get perennials to come back that any homeowner can do.

1. Maximize The Blooms

You can help make your perennials come back each year if you maximize the blooms. The best way to do this is to prune your plant and regulate growth. Pruning a plant and cutting back growth can increase how many blooms the plant has.

Remove dead flowers and unhealthy branches that would hinder your plant’s growth. Fresh flowers will bloom, which makes the plant look better and helps fortify it. You can also cut back healthy sections of the plant if it’s spreading too wide and taking up too much space.

Overgrown plants often put stress on their root systems. A perennial can only come back if the root system is intact, so pruning a plant to maximize its blooms and prevent damage is worthwhile. This also ensures that you have plenty of room for other plants around your perennial.

2. Protect Them From Weeds

Weeds don’t only kill plants when they’re in season, but they also threaten their root systems when they’re dormant. They can strangle root systems, which will prevent your perennials from coming back. That’s why it’s important to treat your yard for weeds and pull them as they appear.

However, the best option is to use weed control methods such as mulch and barriers. Weed barriers stop weeds from popping up and breaking the surface. You can protect large garden beds with a weed barrier for as little as $70.

Installing mulch is another great way to deter weeds and make sure perennials come back. Mulch protects roots and enhances soil conditions as well. It costs an average of $200 to install mulch.

3. Water Before A Frost

It’s important to hydrate the soil in the fall before the frost comes. This is especially helpful if you don’t get a lot of rain in your area during the fall. Otherwise, your perennials will struggle to come back if the soil is too dry before the ground freezes.

Don’t hesitate to water the soil heavily. You will have the best results if you use a lot of water and let it run at least 2” below the surface.

4. Fertilize Your Plants

Fertilize your plants up to four times per year to make sure perennials come back. Seasoned gardeners typically fertilize their plants once per season to ensure consistent and healthy growth. The most mandatory times to fertilize your plants are May, August, and October or November.

Your late fall fertilization is important because it will give the soil the nutrition it needs to last the winter. Some vegetable gardeners fertilize their garden once per month, but that’s not necessary for everyone. Fertilizing your soil ensures it will stay healthy enough to protect the root system so your perennials come back.

5. Use Compost

Putting compost in the soil can improve the health of your perennials. Compost can give your soil the boost of nutrients that it needs to sustain itself. This is especially true if you put compost in your soil during fall before it gets too cold.

Your soil will retain nutrients long after the ground freezes, and your perennials will be more likely to come back in the spring. It’s best to mix compost with soil and pack it into your garden bed. Compost helps to enrich the soil and retain water to maintain healthy roots.

Can Dead Perennials Come Back?

Dead perennials can come back if the root system is in good shape. The flowers may die, but that doesn’t mean that the root system is dead. At the end of the season, carefully trim the perennial, so that it’s as low to the ground as possible.

Some homeowners trim their perennials until they’re level with the ground. Add bark chips and mulch to the soil to protect the roots so your perennials will come back. It will help with healthy water retention, so your roots don’t weaken and rot.

Ideally, you should replace the soil every 12-18 months. This will ensure that your soil drains well. Soil drainage is critical for perennials to come back even if the plant dies. Poor soil drainage can cause your roots to retain too much water or not get enough water, and they can eventually die.

How Many Years Do Perennials Last?

Perennials typically last between 3 and 15 years, but they can last much longer. They can last for over 20 years, depending on several conditions. The condition of the root system is the most important factor.

It’s also important that the climate stays consistent in your area. This will ensure that the plant grows consistently by maintaining healthy sun, rain, and soil conditions over the years. Factors such as insect infestations, climate change, soil erosion, and droughts can shorten the lifespan of perennials.

What Month Do Perennials Come Back?

Perennials typically come back in June. Some perennials come back as early as May if the climate is consistently warm and sunny with enough rainy days. They often continue to bloom for several months until the weather cools down in late August and early September and can stay alive until the first frost.

Summing It Up

The best way to make sure that perennials come back is to prune your plants and protect them from weeds. Install mulch or a weed barrier so weeds don’t strangle your perennial’s root system. It’s also important to fertilize your perennials at least once per season so the roots have plenty of nutrients.

Add compost to the soil when the weather cools down, so the roots will retain nutrients and withstand heavy frosts. Your perennials should come back each May or June for up to 20 years or more if you take care of them and treat the soil.

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Nick Durante
Nick Durante

Nick Durante is a professional writer with a primary focus on home improvement. When he is not writing about home improvement or taking on projects around the house, he likes to read and create art. He is always looking towards the newest trends in home improvement.

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