Monday, July 18, 2011

Buying Bargain Blooms & Deadheading

This time of the summer you're going to find many markdown prices and clearances on plants. It's a great time to take advantage of inexpensive annuals that will perk up your landscape from now until late fall. Don't buy annuals that aren't hardy to your area that won't keep blooming. If you aren't sure, then ask someone at the nursery or store. Here are a few things to watch out for when choosing bargain plants:

1. Buy only for your location-- don't buy shade plants for a flower bed in the full sun. This time of year the sun is hot, and they'll do terribly.

2. A little bit of brown that can be cut off the plant is okay, but don't buy a plant that is too wilted or has more than a few brown leaves.

3. Don't buy plants that have any sign of disease like black on the leaves/stems or a white powdery substance on the plant.

3. Bring home your plant and cut off the brown leaves, deadhead the blooms and plant immediately, but as gently as possible, using plenty of water in the hole. Fill in the dirt without packing it too tightly, and water well.

Last week I bought petunias and snapdragons on sale. I brought them home, deadheaded, trimmed off the brown and planted them the same day I bought them. I took pictures of the seedpods, and buds to show you the difference.

This picture is a petunia that needs to be snipped off the part of the plant that has already bloomed and it's forming seeds. See that area in the middle of the four leaf sections? That's where the seed forms, so it needs to be pinched or cut off. The top of the picture shows a bud that is almost ready to open and next to it a small green bud that still has a ways to go. Notice the green at the base of those are closed, not open like the one where the seed is forming.

This next picture is a snapdragon seed pod. These are very easy to distinguish from the buds forming because they have that odd "antenna" on the top of each one. These need to be pinched off of the plant. If they aren't, then once the buds that have formed have bloomed, the plant will stop making flowers and only make seeds. Even if the entire plant is full of the "antenna" pods, once you pinch them all off it will start forming buds again, right up until a hard frost in the fall.

There is a lot of time left for annuals to bloom, and it's a shame not to take advantage of the great prices out there. Spend a little time inspecting the plants before you buy them, and a little more time deadheading and cleaning them up at home. You'll have a lot of added color for very little money.

If anyone has questions on deadheading certain plants please leave a comment or email me.



  1. What a great idea!! Wow, this is just great. So simple and easy.

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  2. Brenda I have done this many many times. If I had not injured my back a few weeks back I would have bought for a big bed that is all prenniels but knew I could not plant things. Our nursery had flats 3 flats for 9.00 last week end. I would have stuffed the large beds with annuals to fill in when the prenniels are done.



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