Soil Preparation for Perennials

Perennial plants live in the same place for many years, so it's important to start them out in good soil.
customize a soaker hose with various fittings

customize a soaker hose with various fittings

Tammy Algood displays some of her favorite soaker-hose connectors.

Photo by: James Calloway

James Calloway

Tammy Algood of the University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service offers tips for planting and caring for garden perennials.

Scabiosa and coreopsis are sun-loving perennials that thrive in hot summer sun. Scabiosa will tolerate some shade and still bloom profusely. Coreopsis will bloom throughout the summer and fall if regularly deadheaded. Both do well in Zone 4 through 10.

Before planting perennials, most gardeners will need to amend the soil to improve its texture and drainage. Perennial plants live in the same place for many years, so it's important to start them out in good soil.

Tammy advises digging generous holes so you can amend topsoil as well as the subsoil. Dig down at least 12" to 18", and transfer the soil from the hole to a wheelbarrow. Remove any rocks or debris. Add perlite and vermiculite to improve the soil's drainage. Dump the amended soil into the planting hole.

After you've finished planting, set up soaker hoses to surround the plants. Soaker hoses deliver water near plants' roots, and very little is wasted due to evaporation.

Various fittings are available to customize soaker hoses to conform to any garden situation, and it's easy to fit the parts together.

Once the irrigation system is in place, mulch the soil to slow weed growth and moisture loss and to protect the hoses.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Preparing Soil for a Garden

Learn how to thoroughly prepare soil for a successful garden.

How to Maintain Garden Hoses, Sprinklers and Watering Accessories

Here's the dirt on garden hoses, specialized attachments, sprinklers, watering accessories, and how to tame an unruly hose.

Perennials That Love Shade

These 10 plants will add color to your shade garden and return year after year.

How to Determine Your Gardening Zone

The newly revised USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map can help pinpoint your gardening zone to within a half-mile of your home.

To-Do List for Fall Gardening

October and November are good months to do some gardening and landscaping. Here are just a few things a gardener could -- or should -- be doing.

Fall Gardening, Planting and Lawn Care Tips

The gardening season isn't over when the weather gets cooler.

20 Outdoor and Gardening Products You Need This Spring

Get outside and decorate, grow, camp or maintain your yard with one of these cool products.

10 Best Perennials for Shade

Looking for something to plant in that shady area of your garden? These perennials thrive without sunlight and add great garden color in beds, borders and containers.

Get Social With Us

We love to DIY. You love to DIY. Let's get together.

Consult Our A-Z Guide

Everything You Need to Know

Browse a full list of topics found on the site, from accessories to mudrooms to wreaths.  

How-To Advice and Videos

Get video instructions about kitchens, bathrooms, remodeling, flooring, painting and more.

Watch DIY Downloads Now

Watch DIY Network LIVE

Don't miss your favorite shows in real time online.