Pinch and Prune
The container garden is really easy to care for. However, since plants are more prominently displayed than in the garden, they require regular attention to keep them looking their best.
To keep plants neat, remove faded flowers and yellow leaves as soon as they appear. If you go over your plants a little each day, it is easy to keep them well groomed.
When geranium blossoms fade, remove them with a firm snap of the fingers or with pruning shears or scissors. Cut off faded petunias to prevent seed formation (not needed with Wave petunias). Do the same for marigolds, verbenas, snapdragons, zinnias, stocks, and other annuals as well as hardy flowering trees and shrubs, tropical plants, perennials, and bulbs.
Some plants, including ivy and other trailers benefit from pinching to shape them and prevent legginess. In addition, taller plants like phlox and fall asters, remain shorter and produce smaller but more numerous flowers, over a longer period of time if pinched back once or twice.
Water With Care
Container plants that are exposed to wind and sun dry out quicker than those in the ground. While there are no exact rules about watering, the best way to determine if your containers needed watering, is to examine them daily and water when the soil feels dry.
During hot spells, most plants need daily watering, except those in small clay pots, which may require it twice. During cold, wet weather, though, be careful not to overwater as rotting can occur. Think of how you feel – in hot sunny weather, you want lots of water while in cold, wet weather, the last thing you need is wet feet! And remember that window boxes and other containers near houses or under trees can stay dry in spite of an all-day downpour.
Unglazed containers dry out quickest. Wooden tubs, window boxes, and planters dry out more slowly; metal is the slowest of all. Groupings of plants, arranged close together, shade one another and help prevent excessive moisture loss.
If you go away for a weekend during the summer, consider moving plants into a shadier, cooler location so that they’re not over-exposed to hot, dry weather.
A good feeding program will result in healthier plants with more bloom. In the confined soil areas of containers, plants utilize nutrients sooner than they do in the garden; so, in general, feed plants every two weeks with a balanced chemical fertilizer, such as Miracle-Gro, following directions on the package.
What’s Your Garden Personality?
We spotted this quiz in Canadian Living and think it rings true. What type of garden personality are you? And remember Greenway can help you, no matter what!