by Connie Oswald Stofko
No, it’s not too late to plant perennials!
In general, you should plant perennials by the middle of September, said Mark Yadon, vice president at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses.
You want to give the plant enough time to establish roots before the ground freezes. Depending on the winter, you might be able to plant later, but you should be safe if you get your perennials in by the middle of September.
Now is a good time to plant perennials because the days are getting cooler. It’s easier to keep your new plants watered, and your plants will be less stressed than if you had planted them earlier, he said.
I’ll add another reason to plant perennials at the end of summer: You don’t have as many gardening chores now as you did earlier this year. In the spring, you’re mowing your lawn twice a week while rushing to get all your tomatoes and zucchini planted and hurrying to pot up some annuals, too. Now you can pop a few perennials into your landscape in a relaxed way.
You can see what perennials are blooming now, too. If you shop only in May or June, you may be swayed by what’s blooming then. But what about late summer and autumn? Don’t you want color now? Butterfly bush, which you can read about below, is blooming now. You can enjoy the flowers in your garden right away instead of having to wait until next year.
One final reason: Many perennials are on sale at this time of year. See below for details on the White Tag Sale at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses in Williamsville.
Perennials for sun & shade
There are many different perennials that you can plant now.
We’re highlighting two — one for sun and one for shade. Both will look great in your garden now.
Butterfly bush for sun
Butterfly bush or buddleia is a large, showy plant that attracts butterflies.
As its name suggests, butterfly bush is more of a shrub than a perennial, Yadon said. It doesn’t die all the way back to the ground as a perennial does, and it does bloom on old wood.
A butterfly bush can get to be four or five feet tall. In early spring, it can be pruned to shape. You can prune it to get a shorter, bushier plant, or let it grow taller with a looser shape, which would give you an English garden look, he said.
Mischler’s has several varieties: ‘Nanho Blue’, ‘Nanho Purple’, ‘Pink Delight’, ‘Black Knight’ and a variety labeled simply as Red.
Coral bells for shade
Also known as heuchera, coral bells grow well in shade and have leaves in many different colors.
What you might not know is that they are almost evergreen, keeping their leaves after a hard freeze, Yadon said.
“They’re great for containers in autumn,” he said. “I plant them with mums and ornamental peppers.”
When the mums and ornamental peppers are done, the coral bells still have lovely leaves. Yadon then adds greens for a Christmas look. In the spring, you can continue to grow the coral bells in the container or plant them into the ground.
Mischler’s has two varieties: ‘Palace Purple’, which has darker purple leaves, and ‘Marvelous Marbles’, which has green leaves with green spots.
White Tag Sale on perennials at Mischler’s
Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses is holding its White Tag Sale on perennials at its garden center, 118 South Forest Rd., Williamsville.
Gallon pots of perennials that are marked with a white tag are $5, which is 50 percent off.
The selection of plants in the sale will vary as the sale progresses.
Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. They are closed on Sundays and on Labor Day.