Monday, July 12, 2010


Taking care of annuals is easy as long as you follow some important steps:

  • Buy your annuals as close to the time you are going to plant them as possible.  If you can't plant them right away, be sure to water them every day.
  • Most annuals grow better and bloom earlier if they ARE NOT in bud or bloom when planted.
  • Look for healthy, dark green plants; make sure they aren't tall and spindly.
  • Make sure your plants have been watered when you take them out of their plastic pots or flat.  If they don't fall out easily, push them up from the bottom.  If they're in peat pots, you can plant the entire pot, but I always cut out the bottom and make a few breaks in the sides.  Also, make sure the edge of the pot is BELOW the soil level.
  • Plant by watering the ground, then stabbing your trowel in the soil and pulling the soil towards you.  Set the plant in, remove the trowel, press the soil around the roots firmly, leaving a slight depression around the stem to trap the water.
  • Plant late in the day, or on a cloudy afternoon to reduce transplanting shock.  (Petunias don't seem to mind being planted in sun, however).
  • Care for your transplants by watering well after planting, and again daily for about a week until they are well estalished.  Gradually reduce watering to once a week.  NOTE:  Make sure you don't over-water, though, because you could actually "drown" the plant if it becomes water logged.
  • Most annuals like a light application of fertilizer, like 5-10-5 or 4-12-4.  Ideally, it should be worked into the beds before planting, but a light side dressing can also be applied.
  • Water about 1 inch of water per week.  If it is extra hot, or WINDY, you may need to water more  (wind really dries out the soil).
  • Pinch back the growing point with your thumbnail and index finger to make the plant bushier.
  • Deadhead regularly to prevent formation of seeds, which drain the plant of its energy.
  • Succession plant if necessary to keep flowers all season long.  (To have a continued supply of color, plant several batches of annuals, about 2 weeks apart.  I do this with my gladiola corms, as well).

Annuals are a fun part of the garden to give that continued "lift" of color that we need in a garden full of perennials.    My favorite to use are petunias, lisianthus, spider flower, zinnias,  lantana, hollyhock and foxglove. (The last two are really biennials, but I treat them as annuals).  I have had them all at one time or another in the garden, and they all did well.  Lisianthus is hard to grow from seed, however, having about a 60-70% failure rate from seed. Plants are the way to go, but they are a little pricey because of their failure rate.  I also grow hollyhocks and foxglove as annuals because they take two years to bloom usually, and then they die back or just don't look as good after that.  Have them in two stages--a first year plant and a second year plant if you always want one blooming. 
Susanne Holland Spicker Mother, Grandmother, Homemaker, Gardener, Teacher, Photographer

Passion is defined as the love of, or the object(s) of affection and emotion. I am passionate about family, friends, flowers, food, photography and fabulous music! This blog is dedicated to those loves.

No comments:

Post a Comment