Water Efficient Annual Plants

February 28, 2010 at 10:36 pm Leave a comment

Annuals and summer in Ontario are a synonymous theme. We have the pleasure of enjoying beautiful hanging baskets and colourful annual garden beds through out the streets and in porches all season long.
I am often asked how to keep those annuals staying fresh and vibrant right until the end of the season.  The answer is water and fertilize regularly. For some of us, our environmental conscience may not feel good about watering every day, as this is not the most efficient use of our drinking water, so here are a few tips to displaying annuals without giving your plants too much of our drinking water through out the summer season.
You can start by picking more drought tolerant Annuals like Geraniums, Marigolds, Portulaca, Strawflower, Cosmos, Dahlberg Daisy, Gazanias, and Bachelor Buttons.
If your heart is set on some of the more thirsty varieties, try using soil sponges, or add a ½” layer of mulch on the soil, to help minimize water evaporation. Mulch also works well in annual beds to keep the moisture in. If you don’t like the idea of mulch showing in your annual bed, try the black cedar mulch, or cocoa bean shell mulch, these will blend in with the soil colour more effectively. Every year, there are more versions of mulch coming out, just visit your local garden centre to find them.
Dead head your annual plants regularly. When the flowers die back, you should pinch them off (usually near the bottom of the stem) to help the plant work efficiently. By doing this, the plant will put its attention into creating new flowers, rather than sending energy to the dying portion
Some environmentally conscientious gardeners keep a rain barrel to help maintain their garden during the dry season, but if you prefer, you can put a bucket out on a rainy day for future use (remember to put a cover on it after,  to minimize evaporation and to not attract the mosquitoes.
When you focus on planting annuals without using a lot of our drinking water, it is possible to have colour all season long, while not watering it every day.

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Entry filed under: Annuals, Drought Tolerant, Summer, Water. Tags: , , , .

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