By Valerie Planetta
June is always a great month in the gardens! We pick up our hanging baskets and take them home for all to admire.
Usually the first month is a good one. We water and pick, and take credit for all that beauty hanging there, all lush and trailing over the pot. Then July and August hit, and we realize that the “pretty” is rapidly going out of those petunias. What have we done wrong? For most flowers, it’s a matter of knowing the plant and dead-heading it properly.
For example, take a lovely wave petunia basket. As the blooms fade and die off, we should be dead-heading them weekly. The proper way is to snip off the dead blossom right back to the stem. Don’t just pick the blossom head off, as this sends a message to the root that the plant has done its job, and it will not produce new blooms.
Valerie Planetta, Valerie's Greenhouse
The cycle for an annual flower is to grow, set seed, and then die. The “set seed” part is what we enjoy looking at, so dead-heading keeps your basket blooming throughout the summer months.
Also, be sure to give it a weekly feed of a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer.
And water, water, water! We all need more than one glass of water daily, and so do those big baskets. Best practice is to water them thoroughly in the morning, until the water is coming out the bottom of the basket. If it needs more water later in the day, give it a good drink. And that’s it!
Now keep digging and get your hands dirty, friends!