Maintaining Common Flowers
by Ruth S. Foster

Annuals Water daily during summer for the first month after planting out. After that, move to an every 2 or 3 day schedule, depending on how much rain, sun, and heat the bed receives. However, water on any day that is very hot and sunny, especially in summer, because it takes only one hot day to wilt an annual. To keep abundant flowering, fertilize with 18-18-18 or 20-20-20 liquid fertilizer. Also useful on annuals are the new slow release, coated fertilizer pellets, especially 14-14-14.

Petunias Remove dead flowers to keep buds forming. Cut back to 3" in late June.

Geraniums Remove dead flower heads.

Pansies Cut flowers regularly to promote more bloom. Will peter out in hot weather.

Impatiens Needs no dead-heading. Will bloom all year if watered and shaded from hot mid day sun. Only New Guinea Impatiens tolerates full sun.

Dwarf Marigolds Need no dead-heading, however the color is very hard to use well with other flowers. Should be used with white, blue and green only. No pink or red with marigolds, unless you like Mexican-type exuberance.

Spring Blooming Bulbs After the flowers fade, leave the foliage to brown and die, so the plants can make energy to bloom the following year. If possible, pick dead flower heads before they go to seed. Plant annuals to hide the unsightly browning foliage.

Roses Water regularly and deeply. Remove dead flower heads. Use an all purpose insect and fungus spray regularly whenever insects or spots on the leaves appear, usually every 2 to 3 weeks. Fertilize in spring and again in June, but not after June 30th in cold regions. Some varieties are more hardy and resiliant than others.

Insects, Diseases, or General Malaise Pesticide recommendations change almost yearly, as new ideas and substances are developed. One current idea, Integrated Pest Management or IPM tries to catch problems as soon as they appear, and treat them with the least toxic materials as well as cultural methods that inhibit the specific pest or disease. For instance, do not spray water on roses because the leaves are subject to fungus infection. Instead water roses on the ground. See Pesticide Primer or call your local government extension service for the latest specific recommendations.