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Tell Your Friends

When your guests admire your lovely container gardens, please refer them to Patio Plants Unlimited. You can earn $25 off your planting service for each referral.

Get Out!

Here's a check-list of yard work to do now:

  • Fertilize your container gardens. A fertilizer high in phosphorous helps promote blooming. Look for a type with a high middle number in the analysis. If your drip irrigation system has a fertilizer canister, you can use up to 4 tablespoons of a water soluble fertilizer in it. Otherwise use a watering can or sprinkle fertilizer pellets on the soil.  I like Fertilome Rooting and Blooming (9-59-8). If you want something natural and organic, sprinkle bone meal (0-12-0) on the soil. More information about fertilizer can be found on my website.
  • Check your sprinkler system. Many of us water at night, so if you don’t make it a point to check the sprinklers, you won’t know if there’s a problem. Run through all of the zones on your timer and adjust sprays and emitters as needed.
  • Keep watch for insect pests and diseases. Many problems are easily controlled when the outbreak is still small. If you’re not sure what the problem is, the CSU Extension site has great information – or contact me for help.

"I am extremely pleased with the flowers and containers that Stephanie did "her magic" with and now dress up my patio and deck. I can see the hanging baskets from my family room window and it makes me want to come out to the deck. I didn't realize how barren my patio and deck were before. The drip system makes it even better because I don't have the remember to water! 

Fort Collins

Deadheading and Cutting Back

"Deadheading" means removing the flowers that are spent or past. When you deadhead the plants in your containers, you want to remove the dead flower and all its parts off the stem. Annual plants spend their whole lives trying to reproduce. When you get the seed pod off of the plant before the seeds mature, the plant will produce more flowers constantly trying to make more seeds.

For geraniums, get a hold of the flower ray and quickly bend it down or backward from the stem. It will snap off at the stem; if it doesn’t want to snap off easily, use your scissors and cut it off.

For salvia, snapdragons and other spike flowers, remove the spent flowers at the base of the spike or lower. If the top of the flower spike is still looking good, cut it off anyway because the bottom flowers are already working on their seeds.

Dianthus, nemesia, flowering tobacco and some marigolds have little flowers on wiry stems. When these are done, I take my scissors, hold on to the plant with my left hand and cut all the flower stems off at once. It’s best to do this in the evening so if you cut through any leaves they don’t burn in the sunlight.

The hardest flowers to figure out what to do with are petunias. When their flowers are done, they often fall off or pick off really easily. But that doesn’t remove the seedpod and further down the stem there are more flowers so you don’t want to cut if off. At some point, though, your petunias are all “leggy” – long vines with one flower at the end. This is when you cut it back. Cut off at least or more. Until you have to cut it back, just keep cleaning the spent petals off if they bother you.

Although deadheading and cutting the plants back can seem harsh, it's really like giving the plant a haircut and the plants will most likely reward your efforts with more flowers in a week or so.

Which is Better?

It's time for an update of my unscientific experiment: 
Big Box Logo
As you can see in the picture below, the baskets are hanging side-by-side so there will be no difference in sun or wind exposure. The baskets are exactly the same - 12" diameter plastic pots. Both are plugged into my drip irrigation and I will do my best to treat them equally. My basket is filled with similar plants in the some color scheme: red, white and purple. The "big-box store" plant is on the left and the Patio Plants Unlimited basket is on the right.

July Baskets At the end of July, my basket on the right has far more blooms than the big-box store basket on the left. The plants in the left planter are withered and yellow; whereas, the leaves in my basket are still green and healthy. This time, it's pretty clear that the Patio Plants basket is better than the big-box store's!

If you want to compare how the plants were doing last month, check the newsletter archive on my website.

If you have any questions about your plants or irrigation system, please contact me. I sincerely hope your patio is your own special haven.

Stephanie Selig
tel: (970) 988-3808