Caring for Summer Annuals
Whether you are interested in growing annuals to use as cut flowers, or just to add color and blooms to your garden, there are a few basic principles you can follow for a more successful growing season and a more beautiful garden.
When it comes to watering the key is consistency. You never want your flowerbeds or containers to dry out completely. This can be tough on your plants, particularly young ones. They rarely recover. One of my favorite ways to water is to use a soaker hose. It deep soaks the ground, which encourages a deep root system and a stronger plant. Then I just put a layer of mulch around them, to hold in the moisture.
Feeding is also important. To grow beautiful stands of annuals and maintain them I find that they like to be fed every 7 to 10 days. Now, there are a lot of different brands of fertilizer on the market, but I go for an all-purpose fertilizer that has a high ratio of phosphorous. Phosphorous is the middle number on the label. This will encourage lots of blooms. I also go for one that is water soluble or a liquid because this gets the nutrients into the plant quicker.
Another way to keep your flowers blooming longer is to remove spent flowers. If this seems like too much work, look for varieties that are self-cleaning, which means the dead blossoms will drop on their own.
Now at the end of the season, to encourage hardy volunteers like larkspur, bachelor buttons and globe amaranth to come back next year, I shake the plants out and make sure the seeds get scattered through the beds. Then next spring they come up and bloom again.
Drought Tolerant Varieties
If water conservation is a concern you can still enjoy the abundant color of annuals because many varieties are drought tolerant.
- Proven Winners® Diamond Frost Euphorbia
- Proven Winners® Supertunia®