Will my perennials come back?

by Mary Jane
(Bethesda MD)

I live in Bethesda MD. Most of my perennials have started to come to life as it is the beginning of April. However, I have 1 catmint, 2 verbena, 2 Bluebeard, and 1 iris that show no signs of life. Do you think these plants are not coming back this year? Thank you.

Dear Mary Jane,

I think it is still a bit early to know for sure if the winter killed them. My daughter from Baltimore, MD is here for the Easter week-end and tells me we have many more plants in bloom in Richmond, VA. I know you've had one of the worst winters on record with cold temperatures and lots of snow. This could have pushed back the time for the plants to bread dormancy. Here, mint and iris are just beginning to show some small leaves. Some perennials like daylily and hosta are growing faster. If the plants aren't showing new growth by early May, they probably have died. Dig around the base of the plant and check to see if the roots are dead or have rotted. If you haven't cut back the dead top growth from last season, you can do that now. Removing it helps initiate new growth. Be sure the soil drains well. Wet soil can rot the roots. Thanks for submitting your question. Nancy

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