Summer Maintenance of Hanging Baskets & Containers

Summer Maintenance of Hanging Baskets & Containers

         Summer is right around the corner; the days are getting longer and warmer and rain is sporadic to say the least. Most of our summer rain comes from summer storms. Some are very heavy and drop a lot of water in a short period of time, others make a lot of noise with very little rain. Our neighbors may get a lot of water while we may not get any. The point I’m trying to make is that we can’t depend on Mother Nature to maintain our container plants and hanging baskets. We must do it.

         Having pretty containers and hanging baskets throughout the summer starts with putting the right plant in the right place. A geranium placed on a shady porch is not going to be pretty very long. A nice Non-stop Begonia placed in all day sun won’t last many days. No matter how pretty the plant is in the garden shop it must be placed in the right spot and properly maintained to stay pretty for the entire summer.

         The amount of sun, wind and shade a plant is exposed to all help to determine how much water and nutrients the plant will need throughout the summer. Some plants store water in their stems, some don’t.  The point is you can’t water by schedule. You must water by need.

         A hanging basket in full sun may well need to be watered daily. A hanging basket on a shady porch may only need water every week to ten days. As I have said many times use the best water meter ever invented, your finger, to check how dry the soil is in the container. If it feels dry water if it feels damp or wet don’t water. The same thing would be true whether it is a hanging basket or a container.

         Remember when you water as the water runs through the container it tends to leach the nutrients out of the soil.  To keep the plant at its best nutrients will have to be added from time to time. How much and how often will depend on the product you use and how often you water. Personally, I use Osmocote. I throw a spoon full or two in the pot every couple of months and that works well for me. Read the label on the product you have and apply accordingly.

         Lastly, a few flowers such as Geraniums and Verbena need to be deadheaded (pinch out or prune out dead blooms) in order to continue blooming heavily all summer. Other flowers such as Petunias, Calibrachoa, and Coleus do best when occasionally pinched back If you have questions about caring for a specific plant, let us know and we’ll be glad to tell you the best ways to keep your plants looking good!

         Follow the above ideas, use some common sense, experiment and enjoy the beauty of well-tended flowers and plants.