Annuals in Heat:
Q: It's been pretty warm on my patio lately, and I've noticed some of my plants have lost their oomph, I'm seeing a little more green than flower power. What's up?
A: Great question! Now that summer is on, annual plants are flourishing, but they can require some additional care to keep them looking stellar through the summer months.
Photo by Flickr user Galileo55
Q: So you can help me spruce up my once perfect pansies?!
A: Some plants prefer cooler temperatures (violets, pansies, ranunculus, and then some), and oftentimes need to be switched out by the time summer temperatures set in. So those might be an opportunity to make some additions to your plantings.
Q: Okay, so I need to update my summer look, I can do that, but what about the rest? My Dahlias seem less delightful and most of the flowers are dead!
A: Deadheading is key, my dear - most flowers are soon followed by seeds, which can be very attractive in various forms, but removing spent flowers before they go to seed not only cleans up the look greatly, but also encourages more flowers to grow. I recommend trimming not only the spent flower, but also the stem on which it is held, all the way down to the next point of growth, to avoid a dried-out, useless stalk remaining.
Q: Wow, so just a quick haircut will keep them flowering through the summer? I can totally do that. It's getting to be a little more than I bargained for: I water every morning, but my plants look so thirsty when I get home from work, I find myself giving them another quick drink.
A: Watering once a day is not always enough, especially as plants grow and are competing for root space, as well as increased temperatures and strong sun intensity put in to the mix. If you watered in the evening hours, once the sun has start to set, I think you will find the soil will remain saturated through the night and well in to the daytime. While sometimes multiple watering sessions are unavoidable, I think you will find this helpful to save water, time and be beneficial to your flowers as well.