Caring for Hanging Baskets and Deck Planters
Containers may take a little more work, but the results are well worth it. If you follow these guidelines, you should have baskets or planters that will be beautiful for the whole summer.
Water Frequently. If the soil feels dry ½ to 1 inch below the surface, it is time to water. During hot weather this may be as often as twice a day. Apply water until it runs out the drainage holes at the bottom. If the container sits in a saucer, empty the saucer of water when you are finished. Use a turkey baster if you are unable to lift the pot to remove the saucer. Remember: Hot weather and wind can dry plants out quickly. Generally, plants do not dry out as quickly during cool, rainy weather.
Fertilize at least once a week. Watering frequently flushes nutrients from the soil. Plants in containers have limited room for their roots to stretch out, which also contributes to the need for frequent feeding. Container plants need to be fed at least once a week, and twice a week if you are having to water once or twice a day. We recommend you use a quality fertilizer with micronutrients.
Deadhead your flowers. Removing spent blossoms keeps many types of container plants blooming well. Annual flowers bloom and then set seeds, completing their life cycle. By deadheading, the plant is unable to set seed and therefore continues to bloom. Deadheading also improves the appearance of the plants. Some plants are self-cleaning and do not need much deadheading. Others need to have spent blossoms removed fairly often. Remove the entire bloom; don't just pull the petals off, leaving a seed pod. This can be accomplished by using a small pair of pointed scissors and removing the little stem that attaches the flower to the branch.
Prune or pinch your plants. The plants in your containers may benefit from an occasional shaping up by pruning or pinching back. This can help to shape your plants and keep some from appearing straggly. It also can encourage branching, which helps keep the plants full. It also encourages some plants to flower more.