Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Mid Summer Heat and Your Garden, It's Time to Rejuvenate!

Oh the Summer of 2019 will probably go down as one of the better ones we have had in a long time.  But, the heat can do some pretty mean things to your garden.  Let's do a quick review on how you can make those baskets and annuals look a little nicer than they do right now!

When May and June rolled around, everyone was just so happy to see the weather become warmer.  Garden centers everywhere were busy selling plants of every kind under the sun to people who had the worst cases of itchy fingers ever!

Who didn't go out to buy at least one or two hanging planters with bright colored geraniums or petunias?  I know I did and the garden centers thanked me.  

This is what they looked like when I bought them:

*photo from pixabay

Now that we are well into August, they are looking tired and sparse.  The stems that were so full of flower buds, have elongated into wisps of bare stems with maybe a flower or two at the end of the stem.  Nothing at all like they looked when I first purchased them.

                                            portulaca looking sad

But wait a minute, these plants can be revitalized with just a little tender loving care.  I'm here to help you make the next two to three months much nicer again with the same plants that you already have.

How to Revitalize Your Plants 

Let's get started.  

Cut back the long strands of petunias, calibracoas, or moss roses (portulaca). Dead-head your geraniums so that more flower heads will appear.  

1. Let the plant dry out just a little, so that you can remove it from it's hanging pot.
When you have the plant out, place it (soil ball and plant) into a pail of water.  You will notice that the soil around the plant has probably gotten very solid and holds the shape of the pot it was in.  That is part of the problem.  When you water this plant, the water just falls right out of the bottom of the pot.  The soil no longer holds any water close to the roots.  We need to fix that!  

2.  Take the roots and gently pry them apart (or if you are not too scared, take a knife and cut the root ball into quarters)   Do this inside the pail and place the pieces back into water.  You may notice that some of the old soil is starting to fall away from the roots.  Don't worry, that's what you want to have happen.  

3.  Get some fresh potting soil.  I like to use Miracle Gro soil.** I'll tell you why later.  Now take those quarters and place two or three back into the hanging pot.  Fill the rest of the space with fresh soil and water well.  You can even bury the crown of the plant in the new soil.

4.  Leave these plants in the shade for a day or two, just to give them some time to get over the shock.  Keep them watered well, but not drowning.  

5.  In a week, you should be able to see new growth coming up from the original root system.  In two weeks they will look like brand new plants, even though there isn't a garden center around with fresh planters.  

6.  Sit back, relax and enjoy your hanging baskets for another two months or more.  

If your hanging baskets are full of annuals, they will  keep blooming until frost arrives and that could be late October or November even.  They will slow down in blooming naturally once the long summer days are done, but they will bloom!  They will also look so much nicer than those long wisps with only one flower on the end of each stem.   

Now why do I like Miracle Grow Soil?**  I told you earlier that I would explain.  So here it is:
Purchased hanging planters from Pop-up Garden centers use plain potting soil for their planters (it's cheaper).  Miracle Gro soil is not just soil, but Sphagnum peat moss, perlite and compost.  It is also infused with Miracle Gro fertilizers that are time released for better blooms and healthier plants.  I have used this for years and I can't remember ever having a summer of disappointment with my hanging plants.  Now that I am in my apartment, I use this type of soil in all my balcony planters too. 




Annual plants are wonderful for their color, long lasting blooming period and they are not too expensive either.  So you really get a good bang for your buck.  At then end of the season, remember to compost your annuals or if you are really keen, start seed saving so that next year you can make your own hanging baskets with Miracle Gro soil from the start and seeds that you have saved.  

You can find out more about seed saving on another review right here: Let's Review The Best Proven Seed Saving Practices





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10 comments:

  1. I don't have a hanging plant from a garden center. But I do have an older Peace Lily plant in a pot from a nursery which may benefit from repotting as you describe above. Since I also want it in a bigger pot (because it's grown so big), I can try to repot it using Miracle Grow. Thanks for the gardening advice.

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    1. Oh Miss Elf, that is a perfect time to add some good soil (you know I like the Miracle Grow soil). It will help your plant as well. Just don't forget to loosen up the old soil around the root ball of your Peace Lily. I bet it will thank you by blooming continuously.

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  2. I didn’t inherit my mom’s green thumb (although my sister certainly did!). These excellent tips are so simple, even I can follow them! Thanks so much for sharing your gardening expertise in such an accessible way.

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    1. Willing and able to help at any time Margaret. These instructions can also be used for houseplants as well. See my advice to Miss Elf.

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  3. Wow. These are great tips and so timely for me. Thank you so much. I appreciate all the tips. I have lots of pots of annuals that can use this revitalization!

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    1. Take it one or two pots at a time and it will get done. Glad you could use the help, it's my pleasure to help where and when help is needed.

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  4. The heat in our region has definitely taken a toll on all of our plants, bushes and trees. It is definitely time to give them that bit of love and care. I've been using Miracle Gro for decades now, and I agree, it is the best for potted plants.

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  5. Oh I know I'm not alone in loving that Miracle Grow Soil. So many of my gardening friends swear by it too. I don't like to break a long standing love affair and I won't. I will keep buying this type of soil because I know it works. Glad you could join my little club of Miracle Grow Soil lovers.

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  6. Olivia, excellent tips! I hand't thought of removing it and working the root system like you suggested. Oh my, I'll be trying that. And I'll be sure to use the soil you're suggesting as well.

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  7. It really does help Barbara. I know that I have purchased cheaper hanging baskets (planters) in the pasts and found that the soil they use is very poor. I like the miracle grow soil a whole lot. No muss, no fuss, just gorgeous flowers all season long.

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