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Monthly Archives: July 2018

July 23, 2018

How to Deadhead Plants to Promote Blooms All Season Long

This time of year our long-lasting perennials and annual plants can start to look a little sad, especially with the lack of rain we’ve been experiencing here in Vermont. To help give your plants a boost and promote blooming throughout the rest of the summer, it’s important to deadhead spent blooms on a regular basis and give plants a shot of organic fertilizer. We’ll talk about which plants to deadhead and how:

Why Deadhead?

The science behind deadheading is pretty simple. As a flower finishes blooming, it typically puts its energy into going to seed to regenerate for next season. If you leave the spent bloom on the plant, it will do just this and not produce any more blooms. If you pinch the spent bloom as soon as it’s finished, the plant will put that energy into producing more blooms. This is the case for annuals and perennials alike; so the more you can get out there and deadhead, the more blooms you’ll enjoy!

A simple way to remember where to deadhead is to pinch the plant (or use pruners) right above the leaf set of the spent bloom.

Deadheading Annuals

Most annuals that you get from your local nurseries to pot up in containers, windowboxes, or to fill in the front of your garden beds are supposed to be long-blooming varieties and will benefit greatly from regular deadheading. This list includes:

  • Geranium
  • Marigolds
  • Annual Salvia
  • Petunias
  • Cosmos
  • Zinnias
  • Canna Lilies
  • Begonias
  • Scabiosa
  • Snapdragons
  • Sweet Peas
  • Annual heliotrope

This is a list of the most common annuals that should be deadheaded, but if you have an annual growing that isn’t on this list, chances are it will benefit and bloom longer by cutting off spent blooms.

Deadheading Perennials

Most gardeners are familiar with deadheading annuals, but aren’t sure which perennials to deadhead. The philosophy behind deadheading is the same with perennial plants, although the list is a little shorter of which plants actually will put out more blooms after pinching spent ones. Some of the most common varieties to deadhead are:

  • Geranium
  • Coreopsis
  • Roses
  • Campanula
  • Blanket Flower
  • Yarrow
  • Bee Balm
  • Columbine
  • Delphinium
  • Lavender
  • Hollyhocks
  • Lupine
  • Daisies
  • Purple Coneflower

This is a list of the most common perennial varieties that may produce more flowers with regular deadheading. Deadheading can also be done to improve appearance on plants that won’t rebloom (to get rid of the brown, spent blooms) and can also be done the same way.

Just like with any garden task, the more frequently you get out there and deadhead the better the results. If you take an hour (or less) two times per week to check on your garden beds and containers, you can pinch spent blooms as soon as they’re finished and help keep your plant healthy and flowering all season long.

July 8, 2018

Summer Garden Maintenance

Summer in Vermont is always a mixed bag; either we have cool, rainy weather or (like this year) it’s unseasonably hot and dry. Despite the weather we’re given, there are several things you should always be doing in your mid-summer garden to help keep your plants healthy and growing strong. We’ll talk about some of the most important maintenance tasks for your summer garden.

Summer Garden Maintenance – Watering

Watering in summer, no matter what the weather, is extremely important. Here are a few tips to watering that will help keep your plants free from sunburn, mildew, and disease:

  • Although it may be tempting to set up a sprinkler in your garden, spraying the tops and foliage of the plants could result in them burning. The best way to water your plants is underneath the foliage right at the roots. If you’re looking for an automatic way to do this, soaker hoses are an affordable (and water-friendly) solution.
  • Water in the morning if possible. This lets any water that got onto the foliage dry before the sun reaches its peak in the afternoon. Watering in the evening is the second best option but if it’s extremely humid, this could cause root rot or your plants to become diseased.
  • Don’t water every day! This is a common misconception that gardens need to be watered on a daily basis. Many perennials are tough and don’t need constant watering. Check the soil in your garden beds and if a couple inches down the soil is dry, water. If it’s not, let it be.
  • Containers and raised beds should be monitored more closely than regular garden beds as water drains more regularly. Keep an eye on these parts of your landscape every day and check to see if they need a good water.
  • Water thoroughly. It’s better to soak your plants a few times a week than simply sprinkle them every day. A good soaking is important so the root systems get enough water, which means your plants will grow larger and more healthy.

Summer Garden Maintenance – Weeding

Many gardeners dread weeding, while others enjoy the monotony. Regardless of your feelings for this task, it’s extremely important to keep your garden beds weeded — especially in the summer.

Regular weeding helps create more airflow through your plants which helps with preventing disease. Weeds also can take water and nutrients from the soil that would otherwise be going to your plants, so that is another reason to stay on top of weeding in the summer months. Map out your week by sections of your garden so you’re not trying to tackle everything at once. If you spend 10 minutes a day on small portions of your landscape, it won’t feel so daunting and can be extremely manageable. If you really hate weeding, our expert gardening team can do it for you!

Summer Garden Maintenance – Deadheading

If you have annuals in hanging baskets, containers, or in your garden beds, deadheading is an important task to keep up on. Deadheading (removing spent blooms) helps the plant produce more blooms instead of putting its energy going to seed. If you continue to deadhead throughout the summer, most of your annuals should put out blooms all the way through fall.

Summer Garden Maintenance – Enjoy!

Summer gardens, especially here in Vermont, can be the most impressive of the season and it’s important to take time to enjoy the fruits of your labor and reflect on the beauty around you. And with a little regular maintenance in your gardens, your landscape will surely be a thing of beauty and color.