By Miles Graves, Horticulturalist
Two of the most exciting times of the year for garden enthusiasts are spring and fall. These times of year allow us to fulfill the old adage…. “Out with the old and in with the new.” As the days get shorter and temperatures get cooler, its time to discard those summer flowers and start planting our winter annuals. Adding color to your planting beds, pots, or hanging baskets can make a huge impact in your yard and throughout your community. Whether you’re looking for bright colors with Pansies and Violas, or looking to wow with the newest Kales and Cabbages, here are a few tips to help ensure that your flowers will look their best through the fall and winter months.
- Ideal planting time is late October into mid-November. This ensures that hot summer temperatures are behind us and won’t damage the newly planted flowers.
- Consider the location. Pansies prefer full/partial sun while Violas will tolerate shady areas.
- Bed preparation is the most important part of the planting process! Be sure to add a light compost to your planting bed. Sand is also a good amendment to break up heavy clay soils and improve drainage.
- Plant the flower on the high side. Having the top of the root ball sticking out ¼- ½ ” out of the ground will prevent stem rot which is one of the leading causes of flower decline in our area. Gently rake the soil back around the new planting and lightly press, but there is no need to hard pack or tamp the soil.
- Water your new flowers every day for the first week. After the first week you may reduce the watering back to 2-3 times per week.
- Add mulch around your flowers to improve moisture retention in the soil, help prevent weeds, and to give it a nice finished look.
- Fertilize every 2-3 weeks with a water-soluble fertilizer like Miracle Grow with help you grow a healthy plant with beautiful blooms.
Following these simple tips will have you well on your way to enjoying beautiful flowers all season long.