Planter Maintenance: Keep Beautiful Flowers All Season Long!
Planter Maintenance Throughout The Season
Contrary to popular belief, most potting soils do not come with an added fertilizer. This is essential to provide your plant with much needed nutrients. A granular, slow release fertilizer is typically the best way to go, as you only need to use it once a season. Mix the slow release fertilizer into the top couple of inches of soil before planting. This will provide them with proper nutrients all season long. If using a water-soluble fertilizer, read the packaging for how often you should be fertilizing. Make note on your calendar the dates you should fertilize as part of your planter maintenance regimen.
What is deadheading and why should you be doing it? Deadheading is done by removing the dead or spent flowers on your plants. Removing these dead blooms promotes new growth. When you deadhead you are stopping the plant from channeling energy into these spent blooms and instead focus their energy on producing more flowers. It is very easy to do, and takes only a few minutes. Pinch the stem that the dead flower head is on back to the nearest leaf. If you take off only the spent flower, you will get new growth off of the end of the long stem you left behind. This will create a stringy, sparse look. By pinching back to the leaves, it will create bushy and full growth.
In addition to deadheading, you should cut your plants back a few times a season. Cut the plant back to about 1/3-1/2 of its current size. This may seem a big extreme, but it has a similar effect to deadheading and will promote bushier growth. It will look hacked back for about a week, but then will start to bush out and look significantly better than before its cut! If you have forgotten to deadhead for a couple of weeks, instead of taking the time to deadhead each spent flower just cut back the entire plant. This will save you time and will provide you with amazing results.
Container gardening can be beautiful all season long if you care for your plants properly. Proper fertilizing and deadheading throughout the season are keys to success. Alongside these two practices you should also be watering regularly. When watering your planters, it is essential to water deeply. Planters dry out much quicker than gardens due to the smaller amount of soil to hold moisture. In hotter temperatures, it may be required to water twice a day. Keep an eye on your plants, and if they are looking limp they need more water.