Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Secrets Of Keeping Annuals Blooming

By Thomas Fryd

Annuals such as zinnias, marigolds, snapdragons, scabiosa, salpiglossis, China pinks, petunias and many others during August reach the peak of their flowering and will be benefited by a side dressing of a complete fertilizer early in the month. Also, to keep them flowering continuously it is necessary to remove spent blooms before they set seed. Seed production is the final phase of the life cycle of an annual. By preventing the production of seeds, the blossoming period and life of the plant can be extended considerably.

Garden chrysanthemums begin to set flower buds during the shorter days of late summer. Fertilizing now will contribute greatly to development of the plant and the flowering season which will start soon and continue for an extended time. Well fed plants have sturdier stalks and foliage and the blooms will be bigger and more brightly colored. Flowers will keep better and last longer when cut for bouquets. Encircle each plant with a scant handful of a garden type complete commercial fertilizer. It is not necessary to cultivate it into the soil, but it should be watered down.

Rose Troubles

Shoots that come from the under-stock of roses should be cut off as soon as they are observed. Inexperienced rose growers often are unaware of this undesirable growth which although not extremely common does occur now and then. Very often it is difficult to identify. However, any shoot that grows exceptionally vigorously and has leaves unlike those on the other canes, can be suspected. If still in doubt, carefully remove soil at the base of the cane to determine if it starts below the graft or budded area. If it does, cut it off to the root.

Powdery mildew is more likely to occur on the foliage and flowers of creeping rosemary plants at this time of year. This disease along with black spot makes it necessary to continue dusting or spraying with a creeping rose fungicide once a week and after every rain.

Old canes of climbing rambler roses that produced a crop of flowers in July should be cut off at the ground to encourage new canes which will provide next year's blooms. The ever-blooming varieties of roses generally do not produce enough growth each year in the North to require much if any pruning out of old canes. Canes seldom survive long enough to require cutting out.

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