5 Easy tips to keep plants blooming longer
Your garden is in its full blooming glory. Unfortunately, a couple of weeks from now, all those blooms will probably not look so hot. Fear not. There are a few things you can do to keep the blooms coming. Follow these tips and tricks to extend the flowers on your plants.
1. Pinch it
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Many plants benefit from pinching back. This helps the plant to stimulate growth form the side shoots and generally results in a bushier plant. To pinch back a plant, remove the top third of a stem, right above a node (the part of the plant where the leaves emerge).
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Remove the flowers off of plants as soon as they fade. Deadheading helps encourage the development of new flowers. It helps with the overall appearance of the plant and discourages the flower from setting seeds. When the plant goes into seed-making mode, flower production shuts down. Make cuts low enough to avoid too much stem from sticking up.
3. Shear it off
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Some plants respond well to shearing. Shearing means to remove a large section of plant in one swoop. This will result in a second flush of blooms. Wait until most of the flowers fade, and then shear with hedge clippers. Don't get too crazy with this method; try to stay with the natural growth habit of the plant. This will help it stay attractive until more flowers set in.
4. Water adequately
One of the biggest causes of plant failure is over-watering. Plants have different water requirements, so be sure to read the informational tag. Typically, plants in raised beds dry out faster than plants in the ground. Also, in the hottest part of the day, plants will wilt due to transpiration (moisture loss from leaves) and normally bounce back when the sun goes down. The best way to test if the plant needs water is to feel the soil.
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Plants need to eat to make pretty flowers. There are a few ways to feed a plant. Add an inch of compost to the base of the plant. You can use a diluted liquid base fertilizer to a watering can or hose attachment or sprinkle a granular, slow release fertilizer that will dissolve slowly. Whichever method you employ, the plant will bloom when it receives the correct amount of nutrients. Don't be tempted to over-fertilize; too much can harm the plant as well.
Keep in mind that even if you follow all these steps to keep the blooms on your plants longer, plants aren't supposed to flower indefinitely. Sooner or later the plants will stop producing blooms and setting seed. Keeping your plants (blooms and foliage) healthy overall is the main goal.