By Jenny Peterson
It’s June and all those plants you painstakingly put in the ground are going strong! They’re adding vibrancy and early-summer color to your garden, but are you afraid things will go downhill once the really hot weather hits? In most places in the United States, the weather is warm in June, but the days will get even hotter as the summer progresses. I won’t lie to you-summer does get a little hard on plants, so you’ll have to take extra care to make sure they perform until August or September. Here’s what you need to know:
Water: This is probably the best thing you can do for your garden over the hot summer months. Container plants will need water every day, bedding plants will need it two to three times a week, and large landscape plants can really appreciate a slow drip at the end of the garden hose while you’re performing other garden chores. A deep soaking is better than frequent light sprinklings-and remember to abide by your area’s watering guide. Some cities experience drought and will limit watering to once or twice a week.
Prune: There’s a rule of thumb with pruning and trimming-any time of year is a good time to prune off dead or diseased branches, but wait until later in the season (either fall or winter) for more severe cutbacks. Many annuals need to be deadheaded in order to keep blooming their best-just pop off the dead flower to encourage more bloom. In midsummer, try shearing back trailing annuals like petunias for renewed bushy growth.
Fertilize: Some plants like more fertilizer, some require less. Know which plants you have and what they want-they may require different types of fertilizers and varying feeding schedules, but the results of meeting their needs are worth it. Annuals typically need consistent fertilizer, but watch out-if you overfeed plants like geraniums, they will actually bloom less. Succulents, cacti, and palm trees require different types of fertilizers; read the labels on the fertilizer bags to find the type that is best for your plants.