Can I still plant some perennials?

Zone 53119 | Anonymous added on August 8, 2019 | Answered

I have some late season perennials I bought at a nursery close out sale. Some are in bloom and some are not.  I live in Eagle,Wisconsin Thanks for any info you can send me Kathi Kaegi

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Answered on August 8, 2019

Fall is a great time to plant perennials. Even after leaves fall in autumn, roots continue to establish themselves in the soil. Everyone loves close out sales; however, these plants may have been in the same container since spring. There is a good chance that they are rootbound. It is important to straighten the roots as much as possible. If there is a tight wad of roots hopelessly tangled, there are 2 options. One is to soak the roots in warm water and see if the roots loosen. It is OK if the soil falls off. The other choice is cutting an X one inch deep through the bottom and 4 vertical slits around the rootball. Make the planting hole wide enough to spread the roots out. If lots of soil falls off from soaking, make a mound in the center of the planting hole and place the plant on top, spreading out the roots. Hold off on fertilizer until next spring. Keep the plants watered if fall is dry to lessen the risk of winter kill. This is true of all plants, especially newly planted ones. Even without leaves, plants lose moisture to winter winds. A dried out plant is a dead plant. Enjoy your new plants!

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