Bog #5 Say Goodbye to Summer Containers?

Now that September has arrived it’s time to empty our containers and baskets of summer annuals – NOT!

 

I invest a lot of time and money in my planters and want to get the most out of them as possible. Here are a few tips to keep your pots and baskets looking their best so you can enjoy their beauty until the first frost and beyond:

 

Deadheading

 

Sounds lethal, right? Not at all - deadheading is merely removing the dead flower heads to promote more flowering for lasting color. It is not just a matter of pulling the petals off, you really have to take the whole flower stem back to the main branch, otherwise you are left with a dead stem that you will end up watching turn brown before it drops off and who really wants to do that? Deadheading often throughout the season will give you the best results. It does not have to be a tasking job, I do it as I water or in the mornings. I take a few snips here and there while I sip on my coffee. No biggie and it gives me an excuse to be with my plants longer.

 

Deadheading a petunia.​

Pinch stem back to a leaf node.

Newly emerging flower.​

Fully opened flower.

Spent flower to be removed to leaf node.

Different stages of a verbena.

​Deadheading a geranium.

Just remove spent flower parts unless the whole cluster is finished, then take the whole stem back to a leaf node.

Fertilizing

 

Feeding your plants on a regular basis will keep them looking their best throughout their season and will promote good health and longevity.  Start off right at the time of planting with a good organic fertilizer like seaweed compost (I prefer Bear Cove Resource’s Stormcast). Also use a loose potting soil that contains vermiculite and perlite as they will bond with organic matter and in turn hold more nutrients and water in the soil.

 

Continue with a fertilizing regime using either organic or synthetic water soluble fertilizer. The verdict is still out on which is better, I like using a mixture of both. I only use organic fertilizers on my containers that house edibles but I don’t mind applying synthetics to my ornamentals in pots and baskets as I feel they need the higher boost that the synthetics can give, especially those hungry petunias. I tend to plant containers very full and there is a lot of competition for nutrients between the plants so I want to give them the most I can.   I stick to organic fertilizers in my garden for all plants.

A regular fertilizing regime will ensure that your summer annuals look even more spetacular in late summer.

 

This picture was taken at a client's home over the long weekend. Can you imagine tearing apart these beautiful planters?​

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