Quiz time: What’s the deadline for planting perennials in WNY?

agastache, phlox and aster
These perennials, from left, are agastache, phlox and aster. Photos by Connie Oswald Stofko

by Connie Oswald Stofko

I like gardening quizzes because they’re fun. If you get the answer right, you feel smart. And if you don’t know the answer, you learn something new.

See the answers and explanations below the questions.

1. What is the deadline for planting perennials in WNY?

  • A. Memorial Day
  • B. June 15
  • C. Middle of September

2. What is the best way to water your plants?

  • A. Place a hose near the base of the plant and let the water come out slowly.
  • B. Spray the leaves and let the water drip into the soil.
  • C. Use a sprinkler.

3. How can mulch help your garden?

  • A. Make your garden look neat and attractive.
  • B. Hold in moisture.
  • C. Keep down weeds
  • D. None of the above.
  • E. All of the above.

4. What is the difference between an invasive plant and an aggressive plant?

  • A. The terms can be used interchangeably.
  • B. An aggressive plant is one that spreads faster than you’d like. An invasive plant is nonnative and can cause harm to human health, the environment or the economy.


1. C. The middle of September is a general guideline. You want to give the perennial enough time to establish roots before the ground freezes. How late you can plant depends on where you live and what the weather is like.

2. A. Place a hose near the base of the plant and let the water come out slowly. Other good answers are irrigation systems, drip hoses or soaker hoses, and this clever tip using milk jugs. These are all ways to get water to roots of the plant while keeping the leaves dry. Plants take in water only through the roots, not the leaves. And moisture on the leaves can encourage plant disease.

3. E. All of the above. Did you know mulch can do all that? Using mulch can be especially important if we have a dry summer. See more here.

4. B. Sometimes invasive plants are also aggressive, but the terms shouldn’t be used interchangeably. See more here.

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