Thursday, April 23, 2009

Planting Flowers

From the Lowes website:

Step 1
Success with flowers starts with choosing plants wisely. Look for short, stocky plants with few flowers and healthy, disease-free foliage. Avoid plants that are spindly, discolored, or wilted.

Step 2
Knock the plant from its pot, keeping as much of the rootball as you can. If the plant's roots are heavily entwined, you may want to cut through them with a knife or pull them apart with your hand. This encourages them to spread out into the surrounding soil.

Step 3
Although the flowers are pretty, it's best to pinch them off. Right now, the plant needs to put its energy into developing a good root system, not flowering. Pinching encourages healthier plants with more flowers later on

Step 4
Prepare the bed with a spade, working in at least 1 inch of organic matter. (Each year, add compost, sphagnum peat moss, rotted manure, and other organic matter to keep the soil in good condition or to improve it. Or top a bed each year with a 2-inch layer of compost.) The soil should be loosened to a depth of at least 12 inches for annuals; 18 inches for perennials. Smooth the soil with a ground rake. When the bed is ready, plant the flowers at the same soil level they were in the container.

Step 5
Mulch the bed with 1 to 3 inches of aged wood chips (fresh chips stunt growth), bark, grass clippings, pine needles or any other organic mulch. Gravel or stone tends to create too hot and dry a climate for most annuals and perennials. Mulch suppresses weeds, conserves moisture, and prevents many soil-borne diseases.

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