Stark Bro's Plant Manual for Autumn Blush Coreopsis

Getting Started

Acclimate

Plants grown in a greenhouse must be acclimated carefully before planting or placing them outdoors. This is especially true in hot or sunny locations. Many species should never be grown in full sun. Before purchasing a plant, learn about its sun requirements. Knowing the plants requirements can avoid any damage to the plant by incorrectly giving it the wrong conditions.

If your plant has been grown in a greenhouse, here are a few steps we recommend you follow:

  • After purchasing your plant, place it outside in a sheltered, shady spot or on your back porch.
  • Leave it there for 3-4 hours and gradually increase the time spent outside by 1-2 hours per day.
  • Bring the plants back indoors each night.
  • Water it regularly to keep the plant moist.
  • Occasionally spray the leaves with water.
  • After 2-3 days, move the plants from their shady spot into morning sun, returning them to the shade in the afternoon.
  • After 7 days, the plants should be able to handle the outdoor temperatures, if they stay around 50 degrees F.
  • After 7-10 days, your plant is ready to be planted in its permanent location. Try to do this on a cloudy day and be sure to water the plant well.
  • Observe foliage daily. If any type of leaf discoloration occurs, put the plant back into filtered light and attempt this step at a later date.
  • Special care must be taken to avoid burning the leaves.

These are general guide recommendations. Some plants take longer than others to acclimate.

Location

The best way to succeed is to plan before you plant. Let’s discuss location: Do you know where you want to plant your new shrub or grass? Avoid many future problems by considering all aspects of the planting spot, such as:

  • Sun and good soil
  • Leave space for future planting

Sun and Good Soil

Your plant would love a sunny place with well-drained, fertile soil. But it will be quite satisfied with six to eight hours of sunlight. Good drainage is required to keep your plant “happy.” If your soil has high clay content, use our Coco-Fiber Potting Medium or add one-third peat to the soil at planting time. We do not recommend planting in heavy, pure clay soils.

Space for Future Plantings

Once you’ve found out about fruit growing goodness firsthand, you’ll want to expand your home orchard. It’s important to plan so that the future growth areas will be ready when you are.

Planting

With a wide range of forms, color, flowers, and sizes, perennials can accent any garden with beauty. The benefits of planting perennials start right with your planting site and method. Follow these guidelines for a successful foundation.

Before Planting

  • When your plants arrive, plant them in their permanent locations as soon as possible. If planting must be delayed a few days, set the potted perennials in a sunny but protected spot, especially if temperatures are still cool. Make sure they’re protected from freezing.
  • Water lightly when the top of the soil dries out.

Planting

  • At planting time, dig a hole slightly larger than the pot.
  • If needed, amend the soil you’ll be returning to the hole with our soil acidifier or organic material.
  • Remove the plant by rolling the pot between your palms while gently squeezing. This will loosen the planting material from the sides of the pot. Invert the pot while holding your fingers around the stem of the plant.
  • At this point, if you see that the plant has an excessive amount of roots (root bound), you will need to loosen the root-ball by pulling or cutting about an inch off the bottom section and cutting vertical lines in all four sides of the root-ball. (Even though this cuts some of the roots, it allows the cut ends to grow outward instead of continuing to wrap around themselves.)
  • Place the prepared plant in the center of the hole, making sure the stem(s) are at the same soil level as in the pot.
  • Add the soil to the hole, filling around and under the plant, pressing in all directions to avoid air pockets.
  • Water thoroughly.

Additional Notes

  • Each perennial grows differently, but the average planting distance is at least 1 foot between every plant.
  • During shipping, some foliage may turn yellow or brown and small stems may be bent or snapped. This does not mean the plant will die. Just remove any yellowing foliage or damaged stems, either before or after planting. This allows the plant to use its energy for new growth right away.

Soil Preparation

Preparing your soil before you plant will greatly improve your plant’s performance and promote healthy, vigorous growth. It is a good idea to have your soil tested to determine if it is lacking in any essential minerals and nutrients. This can be done through your County Extension Office or with one of our digital meters.

The goal of soil preparation is to replenish vital minerals and nutrients, as well as break up and loosen any compacted soil.

When To Prepare Your Soil

Soil preparation can be done at any time that the ground is not too wet or frozen. Your trees may be planted even when temperatures are quite cool. If a hard frost is expected, it is advisable to delay planting for a while until temperatures become more moderate. Generally, as long as your soil is workable, it is fine to plant.

How To Prepare Your Soil

  • Roots grow faster when they’re spread out. Dig the hole deep and wide enough so the root system has plenty of room to easily expand. Keep the topsoil in a separate pile so you can put it in the bottom of the hole, where it’ll do the most good.
  • To loosen the soil, mix dehydrated cow manure, garden compost or peat moss (up to 1/3 concentration) into your pile of topsoil. Make sure the peat moss you get is either baled sphagnum or granular peat. You can also add our Coco-Fiber Potting Medium or 2 or more inches of organic material and work in evenly with the existing soil.

Your lawn can provide you with ideal organic materials such as grass clippings and shredded leaves. Not only will the grass and leaves break down to provide soil nutrients, but they will help loosen the soil as well. You can gather these in the fall with spring planting in mind.

Common soil amendments:

  • compost
  • sand
  • manure
  • lime
  • peat moss

Adding organic materials, such as our Coco-Fiber Potting Medium and compost will improve most every soil type. Organic materials bind sandy soil particles so they retain moisture and nutrients better. They also break apart clay and silt particles, so that water can infiltrate and roots can spread.

Soil Types

  • Clay and silt soils are made of very small particles. They feel slick and sticky when wet. Clay and silt hold moisture well, but resist water infiltration, especially when they are dry. Often puddles form on clay or silt soils, and they easily become compacted.
  • Loam soil is a mix of sand, silt or clay, and organic matter. Loam soils are loose and look rich. When squeezed in your fist, moist loam will form a ball, which crumbles when poked with a finger. Loam soils normally absorb water and store moisture well. Loam soils can be sandy or clay based, and will vary in moisture absorption and retention accordingly.
  • Sandy soils contain large particles that are visible to the unaided eye, and are usually light in color. Sand feels coarse when wet or dry, and will not form a ball when squeezed in your fist. Sandy soils stay loose and allow moisture to penetrate easily, but do not retain it for long-term use.

Care & Maintenance

Fertilizing

Once established, a handful of bone meal worked into the soil in spring can be beneficial for your plants.

Pruning

Pruning your perennials can provide several benefits: improved flower quality, better plant health, and shaping/size maintenance.

Pruning Tips

  • When pruning phlox, wait until they finish flowering (usually late spring) to schedule any trimming, so flower buds are not cut off. Shear the tips of the stems 1 to 3 inches across the mat of phlox, so what remains has a smooth shape and texture. Brush away the trimming with a brushing or sweeping motion with your hands.
  • It’s unnecessary to prune Lily of the Valley, as it tends to go dormant or die back in late summer or early fall. To maintain vigorous growth and flower production, you will want to divide these plants every five years.

Dividing Plants

Most perennials need to be divided to maintain vigor and maximum flower production. Plants that bloom from mid-summer to fall are best divided in the early spring, before new growth begins, and ones that bloom in the spring or early summer should be divided in the fall, immediately after flowering.

  • Dig around and under the entire plant and carefully lift from soil, try not to damage roots anymore than you have to.
  • Divide by carefully breaking apart by hand or a sharp knife.
  • Divide in such a way that each new division has three to four buds (eyes) that will produce new shoots.
  • Replant as soon as possible.

Spraying

Spraying is important to the survival of your plants. To handle potential diseases and pests, reference the guidelines below to know what you should spray, and when you should use it.

Before you begin, read and follow all instructions on labels.

Phlox

  • Bonide® Copper Fungicide Spray or Dust for leaf spot.

Watering

Water requirements can vary greatly from plant to plant, but there are some general guidelines you should follow.

  • Most perennials require watering until they’re well established.
  • Once plants are established, water only during dry periods.
  • During times of drought, water weekly until soil is completely moist.
  • Apply water directly to soil level to avoid causing diseases.

Winterizing

Thankfully, perennial plants are not usually injured by winter temperatures; but frost heaving can result in damage to the crown and root system. To help avoid this:

  • Mulch around the plant about three inches thick with clean straw, evergreen boughs or other loose coarse materials.
  • It is best not to use leaves or grass clipping, as they may compact too much around the plant.
  • Apply the mulch after the ground freezes usually late November and remove gradually as new growth begins in the spring, usually early March.