Five steps to planting great annuals

Judging by their parking lots, garden centers are some of the most popular spots around this time of year.

Little wonder, too. It’s annuals season. Homeowners are grabbing up these short-term plantings that add color, spice and life to landscaping in Brookfield, Elm Grove and New Berlin, WI.

How short term? In a good year, with proper care, annuals might last six months.

Getting the longest life from annuals – and the biggest, brightest flowers possible – is a matter of simple planning and preparation. Follow these five steps to make your planting beds the ones that drivers slow down to look at:

  • Buy now: Don’t wait. Early to mid-June features the greatest variety of plants in the best health. Both diminish as summer progresses.
  • Measure ahead of time: Don’t be misled by the tiny pots annuals are sold in.  These plants will grow.  Most need at least 6 inches between them and their neighbor. Put them closer, and they’ll likely grow taller but bear fewer flowers. How much space is in your planting beds? Measure it, and buy the correct number of annuals to avoid planting them too cozily.

Planting annuals in Brookfield, Elm Grove WI

  • Plant labels: Read them, so you plant the right annuals in the right places. Sun tolerance, soil preference and moisture needs all matter. This is a small bit of planning that can make a huge difference in annuals lasting longer and flowering more brightly.
  • Prepare the soil: A good base of nutrients can really help annuals take off. Add potting soil or compost to a planting bed, and mix in fertilizer. Be sure to follow directions on the fertilizer!
  • Maintenance: Water annuals right after planting and, depending on rain, at least twice weekly. Fertilize monthly. Remove dead flower buds to encourage new blossoms. Whatever you do, don’t plant and forget!

There aren’t any tricks to growing healthy annuals. Rather, it’s about thinking ahead, preparing well and staying on top of their needs, especially watering.

Many annuals can sport blossoms continuously, given proper care … and aren’t those bright, cheery flowers the reason we plant them?

While “annuals” don’t last anywhere close to a year, they bring color and texture to our homes for a welcome time. How long, in fact, might just be up to you.

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