Many of us are eager to plant our favorite blooms in the spring, but as summer approaches and lingers on we begin to lose interest in our outdoor plants. Before long, they have crispy leaves and dead blooms. And we get it — gardening isn’t for everyone! But we also know what an investment plants are, so we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite tips on how to keep outdoor plants alive all summer long (or at least until the first of August).
Choose Climate-Appropriate Plants
No matter how hard you try, you can’t have success with a bloom that was never intended to grow in your region of the country. If you’re new to gardening, ask a trusted source like the folks at your local nursery or even a neighbor with an admirable yard. Find out what works well in your area, and start there. If you’re going to experiment with a new type of plant, start small so that if it dies you haven’t invested too much. But if it thrives, you know what kind of plant to buy more of next year.
Be Strategic With Placement
When shopping for plants, pay close attention to the sun portion of the instructions. It’s easy to forget once you’ve gotten home, but if you keep the insert that comes with the plants you’ll have a good idea of where to place them and how much sunlight they should get.
Deadhead When Needed
Some plants, like petunias and geraniums, require deadheading when the blooms die. This means you’ll need to pinch or cut off the stem below the dead bloom just above the healthy leaves. It’s believed that dead blooms weaken the plant, so deadheading ensures that you’ll have a healthy, full plant instead of a sickly, vine-y one.
Water, Water, Water (But Also Don’t Over-Water)
In most cases, plants die in the summertime because they don’t get enough water. Establishing a routine for watering will help you stay consistent, and it’s best to water your outdoor plants first thing in the morning. If you water them too late in the day, the sun will soak up all of the water before your plants have a chance to. When you water, be sure you’re watering the soil and roots and not the blooms themselves. This will keep your plants from looking burnt and will also ensure that they’re getting a good drink. In the heat of the summer, your potted plants should be watered daily — maybe even twice daily. You can also add a little water to the saucer on really hot days for additional moisture.
Have A Game Plan for Summer Travel
Watering plants tends to be a higher priority before the business of summer travel hits. Plan ahead and ask a neighbor or friend to water your plants while you’re away. Move any potted plants out of direct sun before you go, and make sure they’re watered really well before you leave. If you have a sprinkler system, you can even set up a drip irrigation system for your potted plants and set the schedule to automatically run while you’re away.
With a little bit of planning and dedication, learning how to keep plants alive for most of the summer is well within reach. And come August, you’ll be the envy of the neighborhood!