This time of year can be a challenge for gardeners no matter how passionate you may be about plants. Annuals are beautiful and can give you months of color if you treat them right, but by late August, you’re just tired. Sound familiar? Here are a few simple tips to keep things looking nice and avoid the uphill battle it can sometimes feel like.

First, make sure you’re keeping up on watering. By late summer, your hanging baskets and planters are (hopefully!) burgeoning–you should have plenty of plant material falling out of your containers. Lots of plants means lots of water, though, and if you forget for just a couple of days, it might be too late to save them. Spare yourself the headache of trying to revive toasted annuals by moving any containers to a spot you’re sure to notice–and water–them each day. Also, for hanging baskets, water until the water drips out the bottom of your pots. A few squirts of water might have been enough early on in the year, but not now!

Second, give your flowers a haircut. By late summer you may have annuals that have started to get “leggy” or stretch and become unsightly. For plants like geraniums, pick off any flowers and buds and chop back long stems. With warm weather they’ll bounce back in no time and you’ll end up with much more compact, full plants. For trailing plants like petunias and million bells, don’t be afraid to give them a haircut either. Trim off 1/3 of the length, and again, you’ll end up with fuller, more vigorous plants in no time.

Finally, keep up on fertilizing. This is really the most important step. Like I mentioned in my main article this month, now is the time to start using Jack’s Blossom Booster or Petunia Feed if you haven’t already. At Vander Giessen’s we love Jack’s Classic 20-20-20 as a well-balanced “staple” in fertilizing your flowers, but as we get later in the season, you don’t need to encourage so much plant growth. Instead, you’re likely more interested in keeping them blooming–right? That’s why Jack’s Blossom Booster is so great–it will still fertilize for plant growth, but it does so at a lesser rate and does more to encourage blooming. For your petunias, million bells and bacopa, Jack’s Petunia Feed will help to promote additional flowering and keep the leaves from turning yellow as they’re prone to do this time of year even with regular feeding.

You’ve put a lot of time and effort into making your home look beautiful with flowers this year. Now that the weather is finally nice, take a few simple steps to keep them looking great the rest of the season–you’ll be glad you did!