How do you care for annuals over the summer?
Annuals are often the smallest plants in your landscape but their color packs the biggest punch! Annuals are generally a low maintenance addition to the landscape, but the heat of the summer does require everyone to put a bit more time into their annual care to keep them in tip top shape!
We have come up with some easy to follow tricks and tips for summer annual care.
1. Keep them watered. Bottom line, most annuals are going to require water every day. Depending on the location and the variety, you should be prepared to give them a drink with your watering wand to keep them lush and blooming. It takes a bit of testing to confirm how much water a particular basket or planter may need depending on how and where it is planted. A few more heat tolerant annuals include sweet potato vine, coleus, lantana, moss roses, salvia and angelonia. Most tropicals, King Tut (Papyrus), Bacopa and Lobelia are varieties of annuals that have low tolerance for dry conditions.
For hanging baskets, we recommend daily watering. They need to be watered until water is running through the bottom of the basket. A good test for watering is simply to put your hand into the soil, if it does not feel moist and damp, it needs water.
If it happens, that you miss watering for a day or two and your annuals start to suffer, do not lose hope. Cut them back, move them to a cool spot and feed them. Which leads us to our next tip....
2. Feed them! Ever wonder how a friend or neighbor seems to make their annuals look amazing all summer long? Odds are, it's not that they simply have a green thumb. Most likely, they have a couple tricks up their sleeve. One of the best tricks we have at The Barn Nursery is our Bloom Enhancer! This annual fertilizer is kindof a cult product here at the The Barn. Once you get try it, you realize, it's kindof life changing. Seriously! We recommend using an annual fertilizer, like Bloom Enhancer, every two weeks. It's simple and easy to do. Simply mix one tablespoon into your watering can and apply!
Tip from the Pros: Petunias are on the the most prolific flowering annuals of all, but they need a lot of food. If your petunias are petering out, give them a jolt of food and they will come to life! We recommend fertilizing your petunias once a week instead of twice a week.
3. Deadheading 101: We recommend dead heading annuals as needed, about once a week. Removing spent blooms, aka deadheading, will encourage new blooms. To deadhead, simply pinch off the spent flower right below the base of the flower, or if there is a long stem, right above the first leaf. Deadheading is by no means a required tasks, but many gardeners find it relaxing and their moment of zen in the garden. Removing dead blooms can never hurt a plant, feel free to dead head the day away if you find it enjoyable.
Tip from the Pros: Geraniums are an annnual that require dead heading. If you are looking for less maintenace, premium petunias, such as Proven Winners Supertunias, no longer require dead heading.
4. Going on vacation? There are a couple of things you can do to protect your annuals and care for them when you are out of town. Move all baskets and planters to a shadier spot and give them a good drench before you leave. Putting them all in one place will also make it easier if you have a friend or neighbor coming over to water for you. This way, they won't miss any, leaving you to come home to crispy plants. There are also a number of self watering systems, such as plant quenchers, that will slowly drip out water, keeping them moist throughout your vacation.