Annuals are brightly colored flowers that are available seasonally in Bergen County. The varieties include pansies (very early), petunias, salvia, impatiens, geraniums, begonias, marigolds, snapdragons and many more. Most varieties come in a rainbow of colors and usually become available in early May. If you’re not sure when to plant properly, Mother’s Day is a good guide. Rarely do temperatures drop so far after Mother’s Day that your one-year-olds are harmed.
Planting flowers should start with plant selection. Most yearbooks like a specific exposure. For example, Impatiens do not tolerate full, hot sun and dry soil, while Petunias love full sun. Be sure to observe the area you plan to plant and pay attention to the presence and duration of sun or shade. When choosing your annuals, also consider the potential size of each plant at the time of maturity. Typically, a 6 to 12 inch gap between each plant should provide enough room for the plant to grow. Always leave at least 6 inches from the edge of the bed to avoid growing over the lawn where mower and edge damage is possible.
Next we should focus on the floor. Most annuals need rich, loamy soil with very good drainage. If you don’t have a very good soil to plant in, we recommend modifying it by mixing in peat moss or replacing it with topsoil.
Watering guidelines for flowers
Drainage is also very important for a healthy annual garden. Water can be a flower’s best friend or worst enemy. Too little water and annuals die quickly. too much and you will “drown”. If the area you are planting tends to have “puddles” or if the water is there after rainfall or prolonged watering, then you have poor drainage and need to fix the problem. Sometimes simply raising the bed by adding soil can do the correction.
Additional watering should be done regularly. Here, too, different types have different requirements. Most come with their information on the label, or you can ask your local supplier. Flowers that prefer “hot and dry” still need water. For these plants, we recommend letting the area dry completely, waiting a day or two, and then adding moisture. DO NOT keep the soil saturated. Flowers that prefer moist soil need to be watered daily, especially during the hottest summer months. When the plants wilt, it may be time to water. If you see wilting and have watered consistently, you may be watering too much.
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Varieties like petunias and marigolds can be “dead-headed” to improve flowering. After the flower is used up, snap it off and another flower will replace it. You can also pinch back petunias and certain other varieties when they get “leggy” so they can renovate themselves and get fuller. Just shorten a third of each stem.
Annuals can be planted almost anywhere you need more color. There really is no right or wrong place. Plant them in pots to add color to a deck or patio, window boxes, or the bed areas. They don’t need to be planted deep – just as deep as the root package they come with. If you take the plant out of the container and see that the roots are tightly wrapped in a mass, it means that it is “root-bound”. Just cut a cross in the ground and feather the roots apart before planting. Water immediately after planting and feed with fertilizer, available from your local supplier. Also – don’t forget flower fertilizers – it really makes a difference.
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