Summer Growing Tips for Annuals
Summer is finally here, and we can all enjoy the bright sunshine and hot temperatures on our patios, balconies, pool decks, and backyards. It’s also a prime time to enjoy all our planters and garden spaces, though with the excess heat and humidity we will all have to add a few more items to our gardening “To Do” lists. Here are some of our top tips to keep those beautiful annuals hanging baskets and bedding plants looking their best throughout the summer!
Watering on a regular basis is required to keep your plants healthy. During hot and dry periods, like we often get in July and August, extra watering for all of your plants will be necessary. Hanging baskets, pots, and planters can dry out very fast as they have limited soil to hold in the moisture, so be prepared to water once or even twice a day on hot summer days.
During the high summer heat, water all of your plants very thoroughly to ensure they get a good drink all the way to the bottom of their roots. Try to get all your watering done in the morning as the midday sun can evaporate moisture before it can get absorbed by the roots – mulching your garden beds can help reduce this evaporation (plus it will help keep weeds at bay!)
Fertilizing your annuals will help promote stronger, healthier plants and encourage more blooms. Feed annuals every two weeks with a water-soluble all-purpose or flowering plant fertilizer. Try using Miracle Gro water soluble – it makes a real difference! A slow release fertilizer (at recommended rates) is great for in the garden as well as your baskets and planters. During a summer heat wave we’re all watering more frequently which flushes the nutrients out of the soil, so some annuals like Wave Petunias and Mini Trailing Petunias (Calibrachoa) will need a water-soluble fertilizer every week to give them sufficient nutrients.
Most annuals benefit from regular grooming, like deadheading (removing fading or dying flowers) or trimming back to keep the plants full, bushy, and constantly flowering. Simply pinch or cut off the stem below the spent bloom and just above the next set of healthy growing leaves. Deadheading will also help conserve the plant’s energy, keeping it focused only on the beautiful blooms and healthy growth instead of spent or “dead” flowers. Be sure to remove faded flowers on a regular basis to promote new buds and keep your plant healthy and beautiful. Some vigorous varieties, such as Sweet Potato Vine and German Ivy, can have their long growths trimmed back to encourage a fuller looking plant.
Some annuals do not require deadheading, like Wave Petunias and Mini Trailing Petunias (Calibrachoa), but still benefit from occasionally pinching back older stems. Remove a few random branches from various spots on the plant every 2 to 3 weeks to encourage new growth and ensure you have fresh blooms all season long. This method can be beneficial for most trailing varieties in baskets and planters.
This is one of the most important things you can do for your garden: Enjoy It! It can take a lot of work to make your garden spaces look gorgeous, no matter how big or small they may be, so take the time to bask in your efforts and enjoy the beauty that can be found in natural spaces. Head out onto the patio, balcony, or yard and have a seat in your favourite chair in full view of your beautiful work. Listen to the buzzing bees and singing birds, watch the butterflies flit from bloom to bloom, and enjoy your own personal oasis. Fill a large glass with ice and add your favourite beverage, or better yet get someone to bring it directly to you – after all that care and grooming, you deserve a rest!