Maintaining Containers for Maximum Summer Blooms!

Are your hanging baskets and containers starting to get a little unruly or do they need a little help to keep the blooms coming? Here are three main steps that will ensure summer-long blooms for your baskets and planters! 

1. Water

Watering can be the trickiest part especially during excessive heat like we’ve been experiencing lately. Start by always using a pot with drainage holes. Water when the soil is dry to the touch. (To be a bit more accurate with your judgement of soil wetness, you can push your finger down in the container by the root zone.)  Continue to water until water comes out of the drainage holes. Never let your container sit in standing water.

As the plants in your container get larger and temperatures start to heat up, be prepared to water every day.  You will also need to water more quickly if it is a windy day as wind will cause pots to dry out more quickly, especially hanging baskets.  Larger pots will dry-out less quickly than small pots which might even have to be watered twice a day.

2. Fertilize

Around mid-summer, start using a water-soluble fertilizer once every one to two weeks.  Miracle Gro Bloom booster fertilizer (available at either Sargent’s location) is specifically for encouraging continuous blooms from your containers. Follow the directions on the fertilizer package and use this every one to two weeks when watering. 

By this time of summer the plants are very large and to keep them going takes more fertilizer plus any slow-release fertilizer you may have applied at the beginning of the summer has already been used by the plant.  High temperatures mean frequent watering which means more nutrients are being leached out of the soil.  A dose of water-soluble fertilizer the next time you water is a good, quick way to give your plant a “nutrient” boost!

3. Deadheading

Some plants may benefit from deadheading for continuous blooms. Deadheading involves removing the spent flowers to prevent the plant from putting all its energy into producing seeds. Removing spent flowers will encourage new flowers to form.

By Midsummer containers can become a bit leggy or open looking over time, even when you are doing everything right.  If this happens, a “haircut” may be needed.   Trim a few inches off the entire container, a light trim of an inch or two is usually all that’s needed.  If you have long trailing pieces that you don’t like, cut them off. Trimming will diminish the number of flowers for a week or two but can result in a tighter, neater looking container in the long term and you’ll have a stronger growing plant!