Guidelines for Success with Annuals
- Know your planting site – and select appropriate plants for the area in which you intend to plant. Light and moisture requirements for different plants can be quite specific. Pay close attention to your soil condition. A heavy, poorly drained, clay-like soil makes for less than ideal plant growth. Be aware of the amount of sun or shade the site receives throughout the day. Taking site and plant factors into consideration can help you garden with success.
- Tender plants – annuals purchased from inside a greenhouse will be soft and tender, not quite ready to be planted outdoors. A week of exposure in a protected area (out of wind and sun) will help “harden” plants and reduce transplant shock.
- Purchasing plants – Annuals may come in market packs, pop-out packs, trays, flats or individual pots. Look for plants that are dark green, vigorous looking specimens, with compact growth. When preparing to put the plants in the ground, gently separate one plant from another keeping as much soil around the roots as possible.
- Prepare the soil – prepare planting beds by spading deeply. To loosen heavy clay and clay loam soil add peat moss, sand, ground bark, leaf humus or compost.
- Be patient – wait to plant until after the danger of frost has passed. If possible, plant on a cloudy day to lessen transplant shock.
- Give plants their space – plant according to the recommended spacing for plant variety. Firmly tamp soil around the root ball. Water thoroughly upon planting.
- Watering tips – within the first 2-3 weeks after planting, monitor soil moisture daily. The key is for annuals receive consistent moisture in this initial period to promote a well developed root system, which leads to a healthier plant. After the first 2-3 weeks – let your watering habits be dictated by soil conditions. Always check the soil and bedding mix before watering to determine if your annuals need watering. A regular program of deep and thorough waterings to maintain an evenly moist soil and bedding mix is recommended.
- Fertilizing – A regular program of fertilizing annuals every 7 to 10 days with a water soluble fertilizer is recommended. Regular feeding helps promote and sustain quality foliage and bloom. Never fertilize a dry plant. Fertilize only at the recommended rate.
- Take care – annuals need maintenance to thrive. Correct watering, fertilizing, and pruning can make an enormous difference in how your garden will look. Removing dead leaves and flower heads will increase flowering and help guard against disease. You may pinch the tops off of taller, spindly plants to help promote branching.
- Keep out – weeds. Planted areas do best when they are weed free. Removing weeds when they are small can prevent them from spreading.
Enjoy the fruits of your labors.
A well planted and maintained annual garden will give you pleasure during the growing season!