Spring is a really busy time for flower gardeners, and the summer months bring relief to enjoy the fruits of your labor. However, if you keep up a few planned chores, your annuals and perennials will keep blooming until the first frost.
Cutting yourself a beautiful summer bouquet serves as more than a way to add some color to your living room. Most annuals benefit from regular snipping, whether you’re taking fresh blooms to brighten your kitchen or removing dead blooms. Shearing annuals promotes vigorous growth, and it helps the plant produce more flowers. Don’t try to save the last few blooms, it is better to cut the entire plant back by a third, and enjoy the new buds as they appear soon. Another benefit of trimming flowers is it saves you the chore of staking tall plants.
Keep the Water Flowing
When flowers start to fill out, your task is to supply enough water to help promote growth. Don’t let drought and heat give your flowers a beating. By midsummer, most flowers need a daily dose of water. If you have a larger plant, you may need to water twice a day, especially when temps peak.
The tiny thistle and dandelion sprouts that popped up in spring have became deeply rooted by midsummer. You have to dig those suckers out before they spread anymore. Grab your spade and plunge down at the base of the plant to take out the roots. After they are lifted, mature weeds are most likely to vanish after a soaking rain. If weeds are too tough to dig out, use a herbicide and protect garden plants nearby from overspray with cardboard.
Starting early summer, the warm humid nights may have helped grow diseases like mildew and black spot in plants. To help prevent disease, water your plants in the morning to give them a chance to dry by mid-day. Try to avoid watering your plants’ leaves. Use copper or sulfur-based organic fungicides on plants that are not very affected by disease, but take out any annual plants that show more than 50% of disease on their leaves. When applying fungicides, be sure to wait until evening to avoid leaf burn. Keep diseased plants out of your compost. Throw diseased plants on your brush pile or bury them so they can decompose naturally.
That thick layer of mulch you surrounded emerging plants with in the spring may be thin now. Moisture and heat can break down organic mulch fast, so build up a 3-inch layer of mulch around flowering plants, including container plants. The only exceptions are alpine plants, which may encounter root rot if mulch is placed too close to the plant’s crown. Instead of mulch, you could lay down grass clippings in your flower garden.
By midsummer, your annuals and roses will probably need a fertilizer dose to keep up their growth until the first frost. Focus on adding potassium to boost blossoms rather than nitrogen, which boosts leafy growth. Follow fertilizer instructions and keep a reminder in your garden journal when to reapply fertilizer.
Stake Tall Plants
If you have tall flowers, like cosmos or hollyhock, they can easily fall over or break in a summer storm. Give them support with stakes to eliminate the chance of tipping. For a clump of plants, use a half-hoop to keep them upright.