I have planted several perennials in my garden year after year! Help!

Carol Nies
by Carol Nies
My perennials never come back for a second year, and it's getting really expensive to buy perennials that last only one year.
  15 answers
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Mar 03, 2017

    What is you location and what have you tried?

  • Annette Lutzen-Sachs Annette Lutzen-Sachs on Mar 03, 2017

    Lots and lots of reasons... How long have you been in your place? Shade, sun? Check out what's growing in neighbor's yards. I've gotten a lot of plants from the farmer's market - a little cheaper, and the plants come out of the (mostly) same type of soil I'll be putting them into. Also, are you seeing mole runs? They may not be moles, you may have voles - they will eat the roots and bulbs.

    • See 1 previous
    • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Mar 05, 2017

      Do not give up. There are a lot of perennials out there for your light conditions. Try Hucheras, Astillbes,Hostas, Small Sedge grasses,Bleeding hearts,Clematis,Hydrangea and so on. Prior to planting use some peat moss to aid in keeping the root system moist.

  • Kim Proul Kim Proul on Mar 04, 2017

    also when cleaning beds cut down don't pull out, save seeds spread in the area so new plants will start the next year, follow planting guide,to make sure planted in proper area, (full sun, shade ect.)if you admire something growing in your neighborhood stop and talk to the neighbor.Sharing plants is the best way to grow.

  • Joanne C. Wanciak Joanne C. Wanciak on Mar 04, 2017

    Might be best to just buy annuals ,if perennials do not come back for the second year. I know the squirrels ,in our area ,will eat the roots and bulbs of some plants. Can get expensive ,as you say.

  • Jane Jane on Mar 04, 2017

    Are you planting the bulbs too deep or not deep enough? Are you watering the area enough? I would test the soil and then use soil additives depending on the results. You may also want to use bulb enhancer, too.

    If all else fails, build a simple garden box with store-bought soil and additives. That may just do the trick.

  • Vik Vik on Mar 05, 2017

    She didn't say she was planting bulbs.

    Change the location of your planting bed to an area that gets full sun not just morning sun. Amend the soil with compost, etc, to improve drainage. Don't water until necessary. Feed lightly the first yr.

  • Lisa Falkenthal Lisa Falkenthal on Mar 07, 2017
    1. First: check the Zone rating of plants, and compare to your own. Do not assume the store is only carrying the right plants for your area. Second: make sure you are planting them in the right exposure, are watering to meet their needs, some want dryer, some want wetter, check soil (for nutrients and drainage). Third: follow the advice of Janet and Annette.
  • Colleen Walpert Colleen Walpert on Mar 08, 2017

    All great suggestions from experienced gardeners. I might add one thing. It is best to purchase perennials from an established nursery. Too often, people fall prey to the beautiful seed catalogs only to find find the perennials shipped to them are tiny and in poor condition. Not all nurseries are equal and some online shippers are very reputable but not all of them.

    One more thing to remember with perennials. The old saying goes. "Sleep, creep, leap". Give them a couple of years before giving up on them, they may still be establishing a good root system. They may not do much the first year, grow a little the second year and do well the third year.

    Also, be sure when planting to loosen the roots a bit. I call it tickling and add a little root stimulant (don't over do it).

    Good luck

  • Sylvia Candler Sylvia Candler on Mar 08, 2017

    Check with your local Master Gardeners' club. One or more of them should be willing to make a house call to discuss with you what plant should go where. Most of these master gardeners started out just like you and would be overjoyed to help you get started on the right path. Also, most would welcome the conversation and company.

  • Ginger the farm gal Ginger the farm gal on Mar 09, 2017

    More than likely something is eating them, if you mulch with weed shield it's a haven for varmints underground you'll find planting daffodils in among them will keep the varmints away. I also put moth balls under mulch pads.

  • Carol Nies Carol Nies on Mar 30, 2017

    the garden is in the east side of our property with nothing around it. I have tried every imaginable perennial. Some will seem to come back for one year, but die back after that and never seem like they have even gotten bigger or filled out.

  • Dfm Dfm on Mar 31, 2017

    have your soil tested, my 1st house, some one was killing "weeds" w/ gasoline and or used oil and poisening the soil in that area. the 1st few inches were ok, further down not so much.

  • Paulette Paulette on Mar 31, 2017

    The best perennials are those that you get from an established garden. Store bought rarely lasted me a year or two. I think they're forced to grow too fast and don't have good root systems. Drive around your area and look for the perennials you want and ask if they have thinnings you could dig up. April or May is a good time. Sometimes people in suburbs sell their thinnings. Check a free local paper or grocery store bulletin board. My best perennials came from the side of the road or as thinnings from a friend. And absolutely try new soil with new plantings. It never hurts. Good Luck

  • Carol Nies Carol Nies on Jun 02, 2017

    Thank you all for the comments. I always check the zone, exposure requirements and spacing. What I can see what might be the problem is my soil. My mother passed away so the gardening will be put on hold for this year, but I will do the soil test for my garden next year.

  • Michael Joseph Michael Joseph on Jun 20, 2018

    This year none of my established 5 butterfly bushes and 6 cone-flowers came back. Very disappointing. In CT zone 7. Not a bad winter but perennials didn't come back.