Jason’s Annual Plant Care Tips
If perennials are the pasta of meal planning, annuals are the sauce. Annuals provide a constant flavourful impact throughout the summer. Here’s how I make the most of these long lasting punches of colour...
Now that you’ve filled a bed with just annuals, or perhaps planted blocks of colour at varying heights, maybe you’ve even tried planting annuals en masse around some shrubs or grasses – Let’s focus on the 2 pillars for annual success and keep them looking their very best throughout the summer into early fall.
I could write a whole section on watering annuals, because it really depends on so many factors (weather, soil type, location in the garden etc). The ultimate rule of thumb is flowering annuals need regular moisture in the soil to grow and bloom beautifully. Unfortunately, annuals aren’t all that forgiving if they don’t get the water they want, when they want it. On the other hand, drowning your annuals has the same effect. Because fast, consistent growth is critical, it is important to read the tags and follow the instructions for watering. Overall consider adjusting your watering as follows:
Water Less: Cooler temperatures, cloudy or overcast conditions, low wind and rain.
Water More: Warmer temperatures, bright sunshine, high wind, no humidity or no rain.
Living on the West Coast, we know that the plants won’t be starved for water throughout the Summer with all the rain we’ve been getting this year. Equally as important as watering is feeding your annuals effectively and consistently throughout the Summer. I can’t stress enough how much of a difference this makes to your garden. If you don’t fertilize your annuals, you won’t get the wow factor. If you haven’t been fertilizing, you can start now and make massive improvements to your plant quality. Perennials, trees and shrubs, container gardens, hanging baskets, annual flower beds use up all the nutrients in the garden. Within 8-10 weeks of planting new plants in fresh soil there’s a good chance that the plants have used all the nutrients from that soil. A liquid or a granular fertilizer can make huge improvements and make any stressed plant that’s looking anemic, perk right up and restore it to its vibrant, healthy self. I think of the effects of fertilizer on annuals similarly to how my kids would get if I stopped feeding them - they would be grumpy and lethargic - HANGRY. That’s exactly how you need to think of your plants needing fertilizer. They need to be fed, they can't just sustain themselves on water alone.
After you’ve gotten into a rhyme of watering and feeding, once a bloom has finished flowering: pinch it off— take off old leaves, check for pests, and take your 3 pronged trowel to loosen up the soil. Most of all, enjoy those vibrant layers of texture and colour!
Enjoy your colourful landscape and feel free to send us a picture. We would love to see how your West Coast Garden is shaping up this year!