by Beth Cook, Mammoth Cave Transplants:
Do you have you flower beds and containers planted? Or perhaps you received a hanging basket for Mother’s day. What do you need to do to keep them thriving and healthy? There are several things you can do to maintain your flowers and help extend their bloom.
Watering is the most imperative step in maintaining your flowers. Do not rely on rainfall to keep your flower beds or outdoor pots watered. When the temperatures are high, pots will need to be watered daily in most cases. Keep the soil moist in your pots but not soggy and do not let them dry out. Remember over watering can be as harmful as underwatering. For your flower beds you should water them if it hasn’t rained in 7-10 days. When watering, direct it to the soil or base of the plant. When foliage gets wet on certain plants, it makes them susceptible to diseases.
Fertilizer. Your flowers will not grow to their full potential if you do not regularly fertilize them. For flowers in pots or hanging baskets you can use a water soluble fertilizer like Miracle Grow at least every 7-14 days. You can also use a pelletized or granular time released fertilizer. Either type you prefer to use will work. Plants just need that extra boost to keep them looking good. They can become deficient in certain nutrients and begin to yellow or their growth can be stunted without fertilizing. For your flower beds, you can use organic matter such as compost or manure that will nourish your soil. You can also use your water soluble or granular fertilizer in these as well. Some granular fertilizers can feed your plants for up to months at a time. To know exactly the nutrients your soil needs, do a soil text to determine what your soil is lacking.
In order to promote more blooms, you need to deadhead or trim off the dead or spent flowers from both annuals and perennial plants. When you do this the plant puts its energy into a new bloom instead of the old bloom. Some plants are easy to pinch off the blooms others you may want to use a clean pair of garden scissors. Make sure to follow the stem down to the next leaf or set of leaves. This just makes it look neater and not an empty stem showing. Deadheading your flowers helps keep your plants looking neat as well as your garden. Most importantly it you will have more blooms! If your plants become to leggy, you can always give them a haircut and trim them back considerably to encourage a more bushier growth habit.
Also be sure to watch for insects on your plants. As you are watering or deadheading your flowers, keep an eye out for bugs that could be detrimental to your them such as aphids. Be sure to treat them as soon as you see them to prevent any more damage to your flowers.
And last is mulching. In you flower beds you can add mulch to help maintain moisture and reduce weeds. Plus, mulch gives your garden a tidy, orderly look.
Planting flowers is only half the battle. If you want them to keep looking good, maintaining them properly is critical in their success. If you have questions regarding maintaining your flowers, we are glad to help here at Mammoth Cave Transplants!
“The Earth laughs in Flowers” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson