How can I keep my annuals alive for the longest time possible? They seem to die so quickly after I buy them, even though I water and keep in shade of sun as required.

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  1. KelleyG wrote on :

    One of the best pieces of advice I ever received about planting is from my father-in-law who is an avid gardener on the west coast is to look around and see what grows best in the yards of your neighbors. As my colleague says, we often buy what appeals to us in garden centers, instead try to focus on your climate, the soil — is it good does it need some help by adding compost or nutrients and the type of plants. Follow my colleague’s advice on dead heading etc., to keep the blooms too.
    If watering is a concern, possibly over-watering? A moisture meter for approximately $5 can help you figure out when to water or just put your figure into the soil up to your first knuckle, if it feels moist the plants are fine if it’s dry they need a drink, the moisture meter just helps you determine where your plants are at quickly and keeps your nails clean, I use mine when I’m in a hurry and all dressed up.

  2. Helene Wollin wrote on :

    I assume you are in Texas from your name – one of the tricks with annuals is to go with things that are closer to natives from your own area. For example, I don’t bother with things like Sweet William because they really only work in a maritime climate like the Pacific Northwest; on the other hand, pansies grow like crazy in my area in the spring because we are relatively cool and moist then. You might want to contact your local County Cooperative Ext. for suggestions for annuals that might be more in tune with your climate there. the other thing is that annuals have one job and one job only: bloom, set seeds, and die. To be blunt, most of us go to the garden center, look for the prettiest, most floriferous six packs and buy those, only to get them in the ground and they poop out pretty quickly. Better to go with things that have a couple of blossoms so you know what you’re getting, but some buds. They will then last longer for you. The other thing to do is, as soon as your annual flowers start to look a little tired, just past their best is to ‘deadhead’ them – pinch or cut off the blossoms themselves, and feed the plants. This will fool the plant into ‘thinking’ that it has not completed its job and needs to make another flower so that it can make seeds. You can keep annuals going longer with that technique.

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