We are very lucky in Calgary, as September in the city is usually very nice. This means we can enjoy our yards and gardens for a few more precious weeks. And although perennials are wonderful for their ability to return each and every year, annual flowers have that little extra pizzazz. They are bright, cheerful, and just make you feel good by adding a splash of the tropical to the city.
There are a couple tried and true ways to extend the life of your annuals as long as possible. With a little extra care and attention, you should be able to keep your blooms healthy and happy for a while longer.
Deadhead to Encourage New Blooms
Deadheading is the term used for removing dead and or dying flowers from an annual flowering plant. Extend the life of your annuals by removing these after your flowers have bloomed. This will help encourage new growth. When a bloom dies, it loses its petals and begins to form what are called seed heads. The plant puts its energy into developing seeds rather than developing flowers. When you deadhead, you are removing the seeds, which tricks annuals into thinking it must produce more. Hence, it will work hard to bloom again.
The best way to deadhead is to snip off the stem below the dead flower and above the first set of full and healthy leaves. Sometimes it might be easier to cut off the top few inches of the plant entirely, depending on the type of annual. But be careful to watch out for buds, you don’t want to cut those off! If you spot a bud, cut the stem just above them to give them room to grow.
A Fall Fertilizing Can Help Too
Adding a bit of fertilizer to your pots can help extend the life of your annuals as well. A liquid fertilizer is the easiest way to help get the nutrients down to the roots of your plants. While you’re at it, give your perennials, shrubs and trees a shot as well. When we come to perform your fall clean-up, we will fertilize your lawn to give it extra fortification to get through the winter.
Watch Out For Frost
If you can, bring your pots of annuals inside overnight at the first hint of frost. If you can’t bring them in, make sure to cover them. Invert a bucket or a crate over top of them and drape a blanket over top of that to trap heat inside. Another option is to tip lawn furniture over top of your pots to make a bit of a teepee, then drape a blanket over top of that. Some stakes can provide the same sort of structure. If possible, group your annuals together so that they can provide each other warmth and protection.
When frost is expected, water your annuals during the day when it is warm. Make sure the depth is at least one inch. Do not get water on the leaves, as the drops will freeze the fastest. Although it may seem like it should be the opposite, water actually help to conserve the heat of the day, the warmth of which will radiate up during the night to keep the top of your plants at a more moderate temperature.
Annuals with fleshy, watery stalks like begonias and impatiens will not survive after being frozen. More hardy varieties, such as pansies and marigolds, should be ok.
Don’t Forget to Compost!
When your annuals have finally kicked the bucket, don’t forget they are compostable. It’s so nice to be able to throw out annuals into Calgary’s green bins rather than in the garbage. They will be broken down at Calgary’s state-of-the-art facility to become rich and wonderful compost for the spring, completing the circle of life.
Mirage Landscaping is a family-owned company specializing in residential and commercial lawn care services for these southeast Calgary districts and communities:
Auburn Bay, Chaparral, Chaparral Valley, Copperfield, Cranston, Douglasdale, Heritage Pointe, Lake Bonavista, Mahogany, McKenzie Lake, Mackenzie Towne, Maple Ridge, New Brighton, Odgen/Lynwood/Millican, Parkland, Riverbend, Sundance, Walden, and Willow Park.
We are your outdoor ally all year round. Get started today by contacting Mirage for a fast, free project quote.