Flower Care

Allium

Deer resistant. Allium come in many shapes and sizes and bloom at different times too. Plant in the Fall for blooms in the early Summer. The flowers bloom for a long time in the garden and also work as a great cut flower lasting for several weeks in a vase. They are an easy keeper and return year after year with little care. Plant bulbs 2 to 3 times the depth of the bulb. The tiny bulbed Allium can be planted side by side, but for the larger flowers (listed on this website) it is best to plan them 4” apart in groups of all the same variety together for best visual effect. For the Schubertii variety, the heads are at least 13” across and the stems are 18” so they should be planted in rows such as along a border of a garden for best visual effect at about 12” to 18” apart.

When the flowers are finished, cut the spent bloom off but do not cut the leaves as they need them to store nutrients for next year’s growth. Very little water is needed during their dormancy period. Water them as they begin to push through the soil in the Spring and feed with a bit of bulb fertilizer around the base of the plant.


Anemone 

Deer resistant. In zones 6 and higher Anemones can be planted in the Fall or the Spring. Soak the bulbs for a couple hours before planting them to a depth of 1-2" in well worked soil with added compost. Full sun or partial shade and it must have good drainage. Anemone grow well in zones 4 and above and do best with long cool Springs. No need to dig up the bulbs for winter storage, they can stay in the ground for many years and will bloom each Spring.

Daffodil (Narcissus)

Deer resistant. These are super easy to grow and will naturalize in many places as long as they can get 6 hours of sun a day. Around trees, in fields, along pathways, or even in containers. Plant them in masses and you will be rewarded with wonderful early Spring colour. They require well draining soil and water while the plant is in bloom, but keep the soil relatively dry when it is dormant during the Summer. Provide some bulb fertilizer around the base of the plants in the early spring just as they being to grow.

Plant bulbs in the Fall 4” deep and up to 4” apart, but can be spaced closer if you are looking for a blanket of blooms look.

Divide every three to five years, or whenever you notice that flowers are smaller in size or number. Divide the plant when the foliage is dying but still visible so you can see where to dig


Dutch Iris

Deer resistant. In Fall, plant Dutch Iris bulbs 3” apart and 4” deep in light, fertile, well-drained soil. They prefer bright, sunny locations but can live in partial shade and enjoy low nitrogen fertilizer. Because they have small delicate flowers, it is best to plant them in large groups to optimize their beauty. Winter hardy in zones 4 to 9. They can also be planted in the early Spring.


Foxtail Lily (Eremurus)

Deer resistant. When planting the foxtail lily tuberous root, choose a location in well-draining soil that has been enriched with compost or other organic matter. Good drainage is important but don’t allow them to get overly dry. Plant the roots in the Fall about 4” deep with spacing of 2 ft between plants. Make a wide hole and plant with the crown facing up and roots down. Keep the crown within a couple inches of the soil surface, but cover the remaining tuberous roots well.

They take a few years to get established but once they are, they require very little care. If they become over crowded, divide them carefully in the Fall.


Hyacinth

Deer resistant. One of the earliest to bloom is the Hyacinth. They have an old fashioned charm and many have a strong, clean scent. Hyacinth flower bulbs need to be planted in Fall so the bulb experiences winter temperatures and breaks dormancy. Plant the bulbs 4” deep and 4” apart. Great in groups and can also be planted in containers. Hardy in zones 3 to 9, this perennial will come back year after year as long as it has fertile, well draining soil. Hyacinth need full sun (at least 6 hours) to bloom. Feed bulbs every spring with bulb food. Scratch it into the soil around the bulbs and water in. Once flowers are finished blooming, cut off the flower stalk but leave the foliage. They will produce and store energy for the following year’s growth


Poppies (perennial)

Deer resistant. There are varieties of Poppy that are perennial and varieties that are annual as well. The Oriental Poppies that we sell are perennials and sold as a bare root. Once planted, they don't like to be disturbed. They will bloom for many years in full sun with good drainage and an annual feeding of compost. In the Spring or Fall, dig a hole twice as large as the root and add some compost. Lay the roots carefully in the hole (horizontally is fine) and cover the crown with 3" of soil. Tap down to remove any air pockets. Poppies like cool weather and after flowering around June, will die back completely in the heat of the Summer. It is important to water very sparingly during their dormancy. Too much water will kill them. They will grow some new green leaves when the weather turns cooler in the Fall. They are very hardy to zone 2. Full sun is best.


Poppies (Breadseed)

Deer resistant. Breadseed poppies come in many varieties and are all annuals. They self sow very easily and produce very large heads that are good for drying. The seeds can be used in baking. In the Fall or Spring, prepare the planting area with a good layer of compost mixed into the soil. Scatter the seed on the top of the soil and pat down. Poppies seed needs light to germinate so don't cover. They will flower in June/July. If you find an abundance of self sown seedlings in areas that you don't want them in, they can be moved quite easily by shoveling a large amount of soil up with the seedlings in clumps and moving them to a different location. They will be limp for a few days but if you water them very well, they will revive and grow to bloom in their new spot. Full sun is best.


Tulips

Not deer resistant. Although tulips are a perennial from a botanical perspective, many centuries of hybridizing means that the bulb’s ability to come back year after year has weakened. Therefore, many gardeners treat them as annuals, planting new bulbs every autumn.

Tulips like full sun or partial shade, they don’t like a lot of heat and hate to have wet feet. Soil must be well draining and fertile, so add lots of compost. Plant the bulbs 6” or so deep. Planting Tulip bulbs side by side like in an egg carton will give you a mass visual display come Spring. However, if you like a more whimsical look, plant them 4”-6” apart. Never deliberately water a bulb bed unless in a drought. Wet soil leads to fungus and disease and can rot bulbs. But keep in mind that the bulbs will need regular moisture, which is normally accomplished by Fall and Winter rains and snow. If the ground is too dry in the Spring when the leaves push through the ground, make sure to water them. A dry Spring will lead to stunted growth.

Tulips make a great cut flower if picked when the bud is just starting to show colour. Most of today’s varieties do not make good perennials, so cutting the entire length of the stem (including some leaves) is best for a bouquet. Should you wish to try to keep them as perennials, cut only the bloom from the top once it has finished. Do not cut the leaves as they are needed to regenerate the bulb. For the most success in having them come back the next year, fertilize well in the Fall.


Ranunculus 

Deer resistant. These flowers do best in areas with mild Winters and long cool Springs. Each tuber will produce 20+ blooms and are wonderful as a cut flower. In zones 6 and higher the tubers can be planted in the Fall and will bloom in the early Spring. Pre-sprouting is not necessary when planting in the Fall but care is needed so they have shelter if your area has a lot of rain over the Winter. If they get too wet for too long they will rot. In zones 4 and higher they can be planted in the early Spring and will bloom in early Summer. Pre-soak before planting. (very detailed instructions can be found on pre-soaking and pre-sprouting on Youtube, watch several and choose the method you like best)  Plant in well draining soil with some compost added, 1-2" deep, with the "legs" pointing downwards. They can also be planted in pots. Will bloom for 4 to 6 weeks. Once the leaves have died back, dig out the tubers and allow to dry for a few days then store in a cool dark place in a mesh bag for planting again the next Spring. Or simply treat them as annuals and re-plant new tubers each year.

Lilies 

Not deer resistant. Plant Lily corms in the Spring or in the Fall, in well draining, rich in compost soil to a depth of 5-6" and about 6 - 8" apart in full sun to partial shade. Water well. Different varieties of Lilies flower at different times so choose several types to extend the blooming season. Lilies are hardy and can remain in the ground over Winter. Every 3 or 4 years dig up and divide your Lily corms in the very early Spring.

Calla Lilies need to be dug up and stored each Fall as they typically will not survive the Winter. Replant the corms again in the Spring.

Peonies (herbaceous and Itoh)

Deer resistant. Different varieties of Peonies flower at different times, so choose several from each flowering time frame (early, mid, late) to have flowers continuously for 6 or 7 weeks. Although they take 3 to 5 years to establish themselves well, these plants will last for decades with little care. The roots can be planted in the Spring or the Fall in full sun. Dig a hole and mix in a generous amount of compost. Lay the root carefully into the prepared hole and cover with more compost. THE CROWN OF THE PEONY SHOULD BE 1 - 2" BELOW THE SURFACE. The eyes will send out new shoots from the crown and it is very important not to plant deeper than 2". A Peony will not flower if planted too deeply. Water well. You will get leaves the first Spring, in the second Spring you might get a bloom or two, and the third Spring you will notice many more stems. Have patience and you will be rewarded.

Tree Peonies

 Deer resistant.  Tree peonies grow well in zones 4-9. They need to be deeply planted, in an area with excellent drainage.
         They are slow growing, taking about 10 years to mature.
Be wary of planting in areas where snow can fall from roof lines and where snow gets piled by shovels or plows. If your tree peony is planted in such areas, precautions should be taken to prevent the branches from breaking. They also like some protection from wind while in bloom.
They like at least 6 hours of sun per day but prefer a bit of dappled or shade in the hot afternoon. This will prolong the life of the flowers.
PEONIES ARE COLD-HARDY PERENNIALS. They should be planted the first chance you can get a shovel in the ground, regardless of frost or freeze potential.  
Spring planting occurs from the time the ground starts to thaw, through mid June. Fall planting occurs from late August until the ground freezes solid. Do not mulch your peonies; they need the cold to flower in the spring, and mulch will insulate peonies from the cold.
Plant tree peonies 5 feet apart at center. Dig a hole 2 feet deep and add some rich compost. This will seem like a huge hole for a small root, but remember that this will grow! Your tree peony prefers to be planted and left in one location for generations, so it is worth taking the time to do it right. Remember to amend your soil with some rich compost.
Grafted tree peonies should be planted so that the GRAFT IS SIX INCHES BELOW THE SURFACE OF THE SOIL. This deep planting allows the tree peony to grow its own root system and prevents the grafted herbaceous root from growing herbaceous shoots.
Once planted, press down on the soil to remove air pockets around the root adding more compost as you go and water your tree peony in well. During the first two growing seasons after planting a new tree peony, ensure that it gets a good soaking every two weeks. This will allow the plant to get enough water while the root system becomes established. Remember that peonies do not like wet feet, so good drainage is important. The soil needs to dry out fully between waterings. Watering daily or the use of foliar sprinkler systems can cause rot. It is essential that your peony be planted in well-draining soil so that the water does not pool around the plant. Established peonies are incredibly low maintenance and require little to no supplemental watering, except in times of extreme drought. It is possible that a tree peony will not produce growth above ground or leaf out the first spring. This can be very scary but typically the tee peony will start to take off the following spring. Even it they do leaf out the first year, do not expect much out of your tree peony. Peonies are very resilient and hardy, but do take time to establish and become a mature flowering plant. Please check YouTube for more in depth videos on planting and care of tree peonies.





Delphinium

Not deer resistant. Plant your Delphinium in a large pot or directly in your garden in April and May in full sun. They can tolerate a very light frost as a seedling. Delphinium require good draining soil and rich in compost as they are heavy feeders. All Delphinium that mature over 3' tall should be staked to protect against wind. Dig a hole and put compost and a handful of bone meal in the bottom. Remove the plant from the plastic pot and place the plant in the hole and cover with more compost just to the top of the soil line. Press the soil around the plant to get rid of any air pockets. Water well. In June and again in August give each plant a handful of fertilizer high in phosphorous. Over the Summer water at the base of the plant to limit water getting on the leaves. Powdery mildew happens occasionally on Delphinium so spray liberally with a mixture of 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp liquid non detergent soap in a gallon of water.

Cut your Delphinium flowers right after they have finished blooming and they will grow another set of blooms in late Summer or Fall. Sometimes three sets of blooms are possible. Once frost has hit in the Winter, cut the stems back to no more than an inch above the soil line. Collect any dead or broken leaves to tidy the area around the plant. There is no need to mulch unless colder than zone 3. In the Spring your Delphinium will start to grow again. Every 3 or 4 years, dig up your Delphinium in the early Spring just as shoots start to immerge and divide into smaller plants.

Dahlias

Deer resistant. There are many ways to care for Dahlias and to store them, this is one method. Dahlias need good draining soil and a soil rich in compost as they are heavy feeders. Dahlia tubers should be planted in the Spring in a full sun location from mid April to end of May, once frost is no longer a danger to growing shoots. Dig a hole and put compost and a handful of bonemeal in the bottom. Place the tuber into the hole and cover with 3 to 4" of soil and compost. No need to water until shoots start emerging. In July and again in August, give each plant a handful of fertilizer high in phosphorous.

Cut Dahlia blooms often and cut them with a long stem to encourage more flowers with long stems continuously over the Summer.

At the end of the season, when one or two frosts have killed off the foliage, cut the stem down to about 6". Carefully dig up the tubers, making sure to account for growth over the season. Hose them off and trim off the hairy roots. They can now be split into several tubers, (making sure they all have a neck and eyes) or you can wait until Spring to do this. Here is a simple site with easy to follow instructions: https://summerdreamsfarm.com/dahlia-tuber-and-splitting-guide 

Tubers need two things when they are dormant. Humidity and a cool location. Cardboard boxes with peat moss, plastic totes with vermiculite, styrofoam cooler boxes etc. Many mediums and many storage boxes work. Just make sure the storage area is a consistent 5 to 8 degrees C all the time and that the humidity remains slightly moist around the tubers. Check on them every month to make sure the conditions are still good.