The Pickel Landscape Annual Primer

Primulas

Annuals are plants that grow, flower, produce seeds, and die in one growing season. They are inexpensive, easy to grow and provide a great, big, splash of color. Most annuals provide a longer-lasting flowering display than perennials or bulbs. A wonderful variety can be purchased from any Lowe’s, Home Depot, or local garden shop. Annuals are usually sold in “flats” consisting of about 12 plants. When purchasing avoid plants that are already in full bloom. Plants in full bloom will take longer to become established once planted. Make sure not to purchase any flowers with pale or yellow leaves. Leaf color can identify whether the plants have been over/under, fertilized, or watered. Annuals can be planted in beds, containers, or flower beds for a display of color and a supply of cut flowers.

Set aside a day for planting annuals because it is important to plant them as soon as possible. If you cannot plant them the day of purchase, be sure to place the flats in a location that gets plenty of suns. Be sure to water them thoroughly until you plant them. Before planting soak the soil of the bed where you are planting. Dig a hole and plant the annual no deeper than it was in the pot from the nursery. Break the roots up gently before placing them in the hole. By breaking up the roots, you encourage new root growth and place more roots in contact with the soil. Once finished planting, water the bed thoroughly. When planting in hot, sunny weather shade your plant for the first couple of days to prevent wilting and remove it in the late afternoon. If you have deer problems, or your animals eat flowers, spray with “Liquid Fence.” This is a product, made of all-natural products that animals do not like the smell of. It will need to be re-applied after any rainstorm.

During the growing season be sure to “deadhead” to remove faded flowers and encourage new blooms to form. Once flowering has ceased remove the plants and compost any that are not diseased. Prepare your soil in late fall by turning it over and tilling in rich compost or worm castings. By following these, easy steps you will have an amazing display of flowers all season long.