Do you suffer from annual envy? If you witness large beautiful annual flowers in the yards of others, full of colorful blooms, then look at your own efforts and want to kick a tree, the answer is probably yes. I, too, have experienced annual envy, but rather than take out my frustration on an innocent maple, I have learned from my mistakes and discovered some important rules to follow to ensure my annual flowers are just as full and gorgeous as those tended to by landscape professionals in my neighbor’s yard.
Dig a Big Hole
Many annuals come in groups of six when you buy them and are quite small, so you may assume they only need a small hole. This would be a mistake. Annuals’ roots aren’t particularly strong and if your soil is dense or full of clay, they will have trouble extending beyond the little hole you dig. For each annual, dig a hole a bit deeper – and twice as wide – as what you are planting. With less compact soil around them, your annuals roots will more easily extended and strengthen, allowing more growth promoting nutrients to reach the leaves and flowers.
Water, Water, WATER!
Unlike perennial flowers which can be almost left alone once they are established, annuals need to be watered regularly whether they have been in the ground for two weeks or two months. As mentioned previously, the roots of annuals aren’t very strong and they don’t penetrate deep into the soil. This means if there isn’t any moisture in the top few inches of soil, annuals will quickly dry out and fail to thrive. Keep an eye on the weather forecast and be strategic – if you haven’t had any rain and it doesn’t look like there is any on the horizon, you need to give your annuals a daily drink. Try to avoid watering during the hottest house of the day as the sun will quickly suck up any moisture. Watering in the morning or early evening is best.
Fertilize Those Flowers
If you dig a nice hole and water your annuals regularly, you should end up with a decent display. However if mere decency is not acceptable and you strive to be the landscape king or queen of your block, you must fertilize those flowers. While there are many acceptable general plant fertilizers, I really like Miracle-Gro’s Bloom Booster Flower Food since it is a targeted mix to promote a plethora of flowers. Bloom Booster comes with a measuring spoon and then all you need is a watering can. If you give your annuals a dose of Bloom Booster every 7-14 days, your efforts will be rewarded with fabulously fetching flowers.