Have your perennial flowers seen better days? Although insects or disease could be to blame, many problems stem from unfavorable environmental conditions.
Ecological issues often create symptoms that mimic those caused by pests and plant diseases. Figuring out what’s wrong with your perennials may require the assistance of an experienced plant nursery professional but, if you’re familiar with some of the most common environmental problems your flowers are likely to experience, it may point you toward an answer.
When perennials don’t get enough sun, the flowers typically lose color and the leaves begin to turn yellow and fall off. Insufficient sunlight also causes the stems to become longer and more spindly, as the plant strains to reach a light source.
Some perennial flowers prefer full or partial shade. If they get too much sun, it can lead to scorch and heat stress. Symptoms of this problem include browning along the leaf edges and yellow or dark spots between the main leaf veins.
Drought conditions can slow or even permanently stop growth in perennials. Too little water can also cause the leaves and flowers to become dull or discolored. Ultimately, the plants may appear to be dead.
Overwatering is just as much of a problem for perennials as a lack of water. Plants growing in soil that’s too wet may experience stunted growth along with yellowing leaves, spots and blisters on the stems, and rotting in the crown.
When perennial flowers don’t get enough of the right fertilizer, the nutrient shortage can slow growth and cause discoloration in the leaves. Too much fertilizer is also problematic, as it can lead to plant death.
Weed killers can cause chemical damage in perennials. Cupped or curling leaves, distorted stems and dead patches are common signs of herbicide damage. However, one brand or formulation of weed killer can cause different symptoms in different perennial plant species.
Repeated freeze-and-thaw cycles can push perennials up out of the ground, which results in root damage. In addition, the exposed parts of the plant can become discolored, seriously damaged or even killed.
Transplanted perennial flowers can experience shock from differences in the soil conditions at the two planting locations, or from root damage that occurs when the plants are moved. Perennials affected by transplant shock may turn yellow, wilt and suffer general decline.
If you’re not sure what’s wrong with your perennials, or if you need expert help nursing damaged plants back to health, the friendly and knowledgeable plant nursery professionals at Millcreek Gardens can offer effective solutions to restore the health and beauty of your perennial flowers.
Millcreek Gardens is northern Utah’s go-to resource for expert information on caring for indoor and outdoor plants. For advice on selecting and caring for perennial flowers, drop by our Salt Lake City garden center today.