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Caring for Flowers

Flower Care

Most annuals that have short blooming periods do not require any additional care during their growing cycle.  Flowers that bloom through out the summer, or ones that bloom extensively, will perform better with a little help.


Fertilization

Once in bloom we do come back and re-fertilize some flowers by mixing a mild compost or commercial fertilizer into the soil at the base of the flower.  One popular choice is to use processed chicken manure that has a low nutrient content so as to not burn the flower.  Pictured is some processed fertilizer that is a 5-4-3 mixture.  But at times we also use what you can find and we also use a 10-10-10 from the home improvement store.  Generally we only apply additional fertilizer once in the mid growth cycle of the flower.  For perennials we do also apply fertilizer in the late fall.

 

One not so secret to bountiful flowers is foliar feeding.  This process is when you apply a mild fertilizer to the leaves of the flowers.  This has been around forever in the form of Miracle Grow plant food that is put into a garden sprayer and applied.  We also like to use a pump sprayer to do the same thing.  We use this method for very productive flowers like zinnia's every two weeks.  Be sure and follow your fertilizer instructions as spraying fertilizer is too high of a concentration will burn your plants.


Dead Heading

Lastly one trick to profusive flower production is dead heading your flowers.  Remember that the goal of your plant is to produce flowers so it can make seeds.  Once flower heads start to wither pinch them off so the flower will produce additional flowers.  If you let spent blossoms linger your plant will think it's jobs is done and start to slow down, or stop, new flower production.  Once your season is at it's end you can let your flowers wither and produce seeds for next years planting.


Bug Control

Finally a bit on pest control.  To be honest we have never found an organic solution that really works.  We have tried them all, Neem Oil to Insecticidal Soaps.  Generally we ignore what the bugs do to the flowers and through trial and error grow what works in our area with minimal intervention.  The only time we spray is when the Japanese beetles get out of control.  They generally attack one kind of flower and inevitably once per year we have to apply something to get them under control.  This is a personal choice and we take great care in trying to apply pesticides so as not to affect beneficial insects like bees and ladybugs.