By Suzanne Montgomery

Opelika Observer


It was a hot July!  Most of us feel a bit wilted after being outside in the summer heat.  Some of us may not feel as enthusiastic about our gardening projects as we did in the cooler months of spring.  You can bet your plants, especially the ones in pots and planters, might need a pick up too in order to make it until those cool and drier fall months give them a healthy bloom just before frost.

You can get that rejuvenated bloom time with a few minutes – well, maybe more like a few hours, if you have a large number of plants – by giving them some light pruning and a healthy dose of liquid fertilizer.  Your plants may also need some extra water now that the weather is hot, especially if they have been planted since early spring.

Some plants are probably experiencing the problem of being root bound; a common issue when the roots of plants grow into all the existing soil in the planter.  A simple solution to the root bound situation is to step up the plant to a larger pot and add new soil.  Hanging baskets, especially, need to be refreshed with a trimming of leggy foliage and even the addition of a new plant in the basket if some have died or look bedraggled.  You can still find a good selection of plant material in the larger area garden centers that will help fill in those bare spots.

Dead heading is a very helpful form of gentle pruning and works well with annuals and perennials whether the plants are in beds or pots.  Removing dead or dying blooms from a plant not only improves the look but makes way for new growth.  Any yellowing foliage should also be removed and will help your plant appear more manicured while it regenerates itself for the next bloom cycle.

The Shasta Daisies in my garden have been blooming since the end of March and are still lovely although there are fewer blooms and the blooms appear a bit smaller.  They are still adding their beauty to my summer garden.  I periodically remove their spent flower heads, and new ones continue to appear.

Remember, plants rest too. Even annuals, which bloom only one season, need a time to rest during the summer season before setting flowers for another bloom cycle.  Lack of bloom on a green plant doesn’t mean a plant is dead or dying but simply resting.

Fertilization is important in getting the most blooms from your plants through out the summer.  Liquid fertilizer  in your watering can or hose connection will bring out a refreshed look to the garden flowers and give you the boost in bloom you need to keep plants looking good until first frost.

Among the plants that benefit from a mid season pruning and fertilization are geraniums, daisies, marigolds, petunias, zinnias, most annuals, crepe myrtles and roses.

We still have summer months ahead of us and a lot of porch time.

A little time spent in refurbishing a tired garden will pay off in spades!