Like many quarantine-crazy individuals, as soon as the garden centers and nurseries opened, you rushed out to buy as many plants as you could fit in your vehicle. The gardening and design business is hopping this year too. What a great year for plants!
You probably bought a fair number of flowering annuals for containers and garden beds. Hopefully, your plants are looking great by now. Mid-summer is a good time for a close look at annual flowering plants. With a little work to help them a long, you can keep them flowering and healthy through to the end of the season.
Deadheading and Pruning
Many common flowering annuals, like petunias, calibrachoa and marigolds, are starting to look a little leggy – producing few or just one bloom at the end of a long stem with few leaves. The look is a little less beautiful than even a few weeks ago. Many annuals, when deadheaded or pruned, will produce another flush of blooms. Deadheading is as simple as cutting off spent blooms. Cut far down on the flower stem for a neater look. Have a good look before you prune larger parts of a plant. Cut back leggy stems to the point where you see new growth or a few leaves. For nice-looking coleus, pinch back flower stems. This will encourage dense foliage growth.
This is the best time to give your plants a little boost with a fertilizer application. Check out the NPK values of the fertilize you choose (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium). It’s fine to use a balanced fertilizer like 10-10-10. Keep in mind that established, flowering plants in mid-season need more phosphorus and potassium than nitrogen to continue producing flowers. Choose a fertilizer at least with higher P and K values. 5-10-10 is fine. To apply fertilize, sprinkle granules on the soil surface, or water in with dissolved fertilizer in your watering can.
Please be vigilant about watering your plant. During mid-summer heat waves, dry spells and droughts, plants will suffer. You may need to water twice a day during high temperatures. When you see a wilted plant, please consider that a bit of an emergency! Plants which go beyond the wilting point are stressed and may die quickly. Keep a watering can handy! While away on vacation or extended periods, consider hiring a professional gardener to water properly and keep your garden looking healthy.
Protect Your Investment
So, you bought a ton of plants this year. Perhaps you invested more money in plants than you anticipated when you ventured out to the garden center in the spring. Keep that investment working by giving your plants a little TLC. Deadheading, pruning, fertilizing and regular watering will keep your plants looking vibrant. In late summer, when days are warm, but evenings are cool, your plants will still look lush and healthy, right up until the first frost.
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