Summer Container Gardening


Visit us, and you’ll be impressed by the gorgeous, huge containers at the entrance and throughout the Gardens. You, too, can keep your containers overflowing with beautiful annuals until frost:

• Monitor for watering daily. As the temperatures rise, and the plants get larger, plants (especially those in hanging baskets or small containers) need more water. Check the soil. If it feels dry an inch or two down, it’s time to water.

• Fertilize. The Gardens’ staff fertilizes our containers with an all-purpose, balanced (such as 10-10-10) water-soluble fertilizer once a week.

• Deadhead. Removing the spent flowers on some species, like annual geraniums, improves appearance and encourages rebloom. Most annuals will perform fine without deadheading, but with others, pinching or trimming off spent flowers can be very beneficial.

• Remove dead leaves and other debris. Like deadheading, this improves appearance and can reduce insect and disease problems.

• Monitor often for pest and diseases. Catching harmful insects or spotting a fungal leaf spot early can help in its control. Often handpicking insects and removing infected leaves, if caught early, can get you through the growing season.

• Consider pinching or cutting back. Some annuals, like petunia or salvia, may get leggy and unattractive in containers by mid-summer. Cutting them back half way promotes fuller, more attractive plants and more flowers.

— Prepared by Aaron Steil, Manager of Public Programs