In the heat of the summer, our once lush planters can start to look a little droopy. Here are some tips to refresh them.
If you filled your planters with annuals early this spring, they might be starting to look a little leggy, droopy, and sad right now. Those hot August days can hit planters hard, and sometimes watering just isn't enough. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to refresh your planters and get them looking lush and lovely again!
Feed Them Regularly
Many of the annuals you purchased in the spring would have come with a slow-release fertilizer in the soil, but by now, that's all been used up or washed away. Plants in planters compete for a relatively small amount of soil, so the nutrients get depleted quickly. Watering also washes away some of the nutrients. A water-soluble bloom fertilizer, with a higher phosphorus number like 15-30-15, will help your flowers start producing buds and blossoms again. Be careful, though; planters can dry out really fast on hot days, and fertilizer can burn the roots if the soil is dry when it is applied.
Before you apply fertilizer, give your planters a good drink of plain water. Make sure your container soil is moist before you apply any fertilizer. It's also a good idea to adjust your watering schedule during this period of the summer. You'd be surprised how fast things dry out, especially hanging baskets. Check your planters twice a day on the hottest days; they may need more water than you think!
Give Them The Chop
The other common issue with planters in August is that they've probably grown a lot, and as plants compete for sunlight, or start to feel crowded, they can begin to get leggy and spindly, and some stop blooming entirely. Some judicious pruning will encourage them to produce new and bushier growth. You can prune back most flowering plants in planters. At this point in the year, you'll want to get them a good haircut, taking off up to 1/3rd of the whole plant. It might seem harsh to cut them back so hard, but it's worth it. With consistent watering and fertilizing, your planters will bounce back to having lush blooms in just 2-3 weeks.
If you're not sure about giving all your annuals a hard chop, you can take off a few little pieces here and there every few days. When you see a flower starting to die back, cut that stem back by a few inches. It'll just take a little while longer before the whole planter is looking lush again. All those fresh flowers will have your local and migrating pollinators happy and healthy for the rest of the season!
Add New Annuals
The last tip for refreshing your planters now is to add new annuals. Plants like pansies don't love this hot weather we get in August, so dig them out and replace those spent flowers with something that will bloom all the way through the fall. Sunflowers and chrysanthemums are the perfect choices for refreshing summer planters because they'll bloom beautifully until frost, and they're a great fit for a warm autumn color scheme. Plus, you can overwinter your mums and bring them out again next year!
Ornamental grasses are another striking addition to any yard, and they're great for adding some excitement to containers! Grasses offer 3-season interest, adding color, structure, and texture to your landscape throughout the long Bettendorf winter. Still looking to add some more beautiful plants to your yard? Visit us in-store to see what's in bloom today!