Want a nonstop parade of big, colorful blooms? The secret to growing healthy, heavy-blooming annual flowers is to put them on a special diet.
Most plants enjoy a balanced feeding from three major plant nutrients, however, annuals respond best to frequent feeding with a high phosphorous fertilizer.
Keep Your Flowers In Bloom:
- Prune bygone flowers weekly. This method, called dead-heading, keeps plants from wasting energy-producing seeds, reduces disease and encourages bushy growth.
- Choose a fertilizer with a high middle number, such as 15-30-15. Fertilizers high in phosphorous often have the word “bloom” or “flower” in their name. Choose liquid or granular flower fertilizer, or keep both types on hand.
- Feed flowers every two weeks if you are using a liquid. Water plants the day before, because plants take up nutrients best when they are already well-hydrated. Dilute the fertilizer following label directions, and drench the plants thoroughly, leaves and all.
- Feed flowers grown in containers lightly once a week. Repeated watering leaches nutrients from soil in containers.
- If using a dry granular fertilizer, lightly sprinkle on the soil between plants before a drenching rain is expected. Granular works best in climates with frequent rain. Repeat six weeks later to promote strong fall blooms.
Rejuvenate leggy petunias by trimming plants back to half their size. Follow with a heavy feeding.