How to Care for Annuals in Your Garden - dummies

How to Care for Annuals in Your Garden

By Steven A. Frowine, The National Gardening Association

Taking proper care of garden annuals isn’t difficult. For the most part, annuals are easygoing because they’re bred to be quite tough and durable. Grooming your flower garden on a regular basis will reward you with a lush, colorful display. Develop a routine — walk around your garden in the morning or early evening to see what needs your attention, do some light maintenance, or just cut a few blossoms to enjoy indoors.

Here are some tips for caring for your annuals:

  • Water is an annual’s number one need: All that lusty growth and continuous flowering requires fuel. A thirsty plant can’t sustain the show for long. Regular, deep soakings are best because they reliably supply water to the roots, which leads to a stress-free life of consistent growth and bud and bloom production.

  • Regular doses of plant food significantly boost your annuals. The leaves become healthier and greener, and you end up with more buds and flowers.

  • Deadhead your annuals regularly: Your annuals look nicer when you do this, of course, but removing the flowers also thwarts the plant from the energy-intensive process of producing seeds, and the plant responds by diverting its energy back into making more flowers.

  • Pinch back top growth to encourage bushy growth: To keep annuals from getting too leggy, you may want to pinch or shear them a couple of times early in the season. This process is called pinching because you can actually pinch off the top of each stem between your thumb and forefinger — but using scissors or pruning shears can be quicker and easier.