Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Flower Garden Protection And Care Tips

By Marshall Clewis

Numerous insects and diseases attack flowering plants in the garden and so regular spraying or dusting is an essential to the maintenance of bloom around the house.

Flower beds should be hoed or cultivated regularly to keep down weeds and maintain the soil in good condition. Do not use fertilizers high in nitrogen for flowering plants. High nitrogen fertilizers stimulate leaf growth and blooms will be sparse. Green Cross Lawn Green is ideal for feeding flowers.

The following are some hints to successful growing of the flowering plants listed below.

Chrysanthemums: These bushy plants add rich color to the late summer and fall garden. Plant in well drained sunny locations and fertilize frequently. Open, sunny locations prevent losses from mildew. Tall plants should be staked. Pinch off the tips when plants are small to induce bushy growth. By pinching off some of the lateral buds larger blossoms can be produced. Cultivate frequently and fertilize regularly. Spray or dust regularly to control insects and mites, using flower or rose spray.

Daffodils: Few plants can equal the daffodil for their cheerful touch to the spring garden. Plant bulbs 5-7 inches deep and 8-12 inches apart in the fall. Liberal use of bone meal is beneficial. Setting all bulbs at the same depth will produce flower stalks of uniform length. Daffodils and other Narcissi should be left in the ground until too crowded, then lifted, divided and replanted.

Tulips: Tulip beds tend to become crowded after about three years and so bulbs should be lifted and reset. Young bulbs can be planted in the vegetable garden to increase their size. Bone meal worked into the soil under the bulbs will enable the bulbs to bloom year after year without lifting.

Hyacinths: Plant bulbs 6 inches deep and 6-8 inches apart in early October.

Dahlias: Should be planted after danger of frosts is past. Large growing varieties should be spaced three feet apart, and smaller types one to two feet apart. Tubers should be placed so that the "eyes" are about 4 inches below soil level. After the tops have been frost-killed in the fall, dig the tubers and clip off the tops close to the crown, but not flush with it.

Delphinium: Can be planted in groups with the plants 2 feet apart in the group. Root clumps should be placed in ridges or hills, above soil level to avoid fungus rots. If spikes are cut back after bloom, new ones appear in the fall.

Gladiolus: "Glads" should be planted when trees start to leaf out in the spring, placing the bulbs 4-5 inches deep and 6-8 inches apart. Planting may be carried through to June to get an extended flowering period. Bulbs can be dug in the fall and replanted next spring, together with the small side-bulbs found on the old ones. Treat bulbs before winter storage with and insect powder, dusting lightly.

Phlox: These are best planted in shady locations, as blooms tend to fade in the sun. In long borders, color groups should be separated, while in small gardens, single color groups show to best advantage. Overhead watering in the evening favors mildew.

Iris: Iris like the japanese iris are best planted in the spring or just after blooming, as this gives them a chance to establish themselves before the fall. Plant 10-18" apart depending on the effects desired. Divide the clumps when the centres become too crowded and the growth weak. Do not apply fresh of even partly rotted manure to iris. Caring for japanese iris and other iris plants are very hard. The Iris Borer can be a serious pest, killing or weakening the plants. Weekly treatments of malathion sprays from early spring until just before bloom will give effective control.

Tuberous Begonias: These plants do well in shady or partially shady locations and their blooms add bright color to otherwise drab looking areas. Begonias require a soil with high humus content and plenty of moisture. Always plant them with the leaves pointed toward the front of the flower bed as the blooms face in the same direction as the leaves. Set them about 6 inches apart for mass bedding effects. The stems are brittle, so the tall ones should be staked and tied to prevent wind damage. After frost, dig tubers and store them in peat or vermiculite. They will not keep if exposed. Store in cool part of basement. Start in pots indoors in early spring and do not set out in the garden until the weather has warmed up and all danger of frost is past.

Petunias: These popular annuals do best in full sun. They thrive in many soil types, but for maximum effect they should be planted in well prepared, rich soil.

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