Tired Summer Annuals

Halfway through the summer – have you taken a vacation yet? When you were at that condo, beach club, resort or casino did you notice the landscape?  Did you notice if their annual flower beds looked pristine?  Maybe you felt one of two feelings.  The first one being, “Wow, those flowers look amazing!! I wish mine looked like that.”  The second being, “Wow, those flower look amazing, almost as good as mine.”  Well, this tip is for those of you who wish your flowers looked as beautiful and full as those at your favorite resort or hotel.

 A frequent request that we hear from customers is that they are looking for heat tolerant, annual plants that they do not have to pay much attention to, or do much of anything to, but that will produce beautiful, long-lived, showy color. 

Well, unfortunately, the way to have full, vibrant, healthy annuals is to provide them with regular maintenance.

 Here are three key elements of maintenance to focus on in order to keep your summer annuals looking full, healthy, and colorful:

1. Deadheading & Pruning

2. Fertilizing

3. Identifying and Treating Insect and Disease Infestations 

Deadheading and pruning: Maybe you have always heard the word, deadhead and thought to yourself, “what a weird word.”  Well, simply put, this means to cut off the old flower blooms, or heads, that no longer are healthy and showy.  By doing this, you are sending a message to the plant to produce new flowers.  Some plants that will require deadheading are marigolds, zinnias and coneflowers, just to name a few.  In addition to pruning off the old blooms, sometimes it is necessary to prune out any wild, diseased or damaged shoots.  Sometimes plants need a little guidance in order to fill the desired spaces that you may have in your garden.  

Fertilizing: For annual plants, we always recommend using a water soluble fertilizer.  By using a fertilizer that you mix with water, it will be available for uptake by the plants that same day.  So if your plants look ‘tired,’ by using this type of fertilizer they should perk up in no time.  Additionally, keep up with regular fertilizing.  Annual plants require extra fertilizer since they are constantly pushing out new flowers.  Follow the directions on the label of the fertilizer that you choose. 

 Identifying and treating insects and diseases: This will be very important for the longevity of your flowers.  Sometimes aphids, caterpillars or whiteflies just seem to appear out of nowhere on your plants.  And they can do damage very quickly.  That is why it is important to regularly examine your beds and plants.  If the insect or disease infestation is caught early on, it more than likely can easily be treated.