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  Spring Flowers
  April 22nd, 2005

To Plant or Not to Plant

This is the time to plant warm-season annual and perennial flowers outdoors either by seeds or transplants. If you weren’t able to take advantage of fall planting, fill all beds and pots with warm-season flowers now.

Continue to feed container-grown flowers with liquid fertilizer for growth and bloom.

Fertilize cool-season flower beds with a granulated fertilizer if you see a slowdown of growth or flowering. Water it in well afterward. Deadhead flowers to keep them blooming.

Though nurseries are filled with cool-season flowers such as primroses, calendulas, nemesia, and violas, wise gardeners remember that these are the flowers that should have been planted in fall unless you live in a cold season climate.

Planted now, for the most part cool-season flowers will give only a short season of bloom – especially inland. The height of their bloom season is April, though in coastal gardens some will last through May.

Stock, snapdragons, calendulas, and Iceland poppies are not the best choices to plant right now. Heat or disease knocks them down fast.

It is sometimes very difficult to remove the beautiful cool season flowers when they are the height of bloom. If there is enough room, try interplanting with warm season annuals. By the time the new plants have matured and have started to bloom, you can remove the old spent cool season plant and enjoy a continuous display of color.

If you’re filling whole beds, prepare the ground thoroughly and choose mainly warm-season flowers.

Good choices among annual flowers to plant now from pony paks, for color in sunny spots all summer long, include ageratum, marigolds, cosmos, sweet alyssum, verbena, salvia, petunias, and nierembergia.

An incredible amount of perennials can be put in now, including achillea, agapanthus, perennial alyssum, campanulas, candytuft, carnations, columbine, coreopsis, coral bells, daylilies, delphiniums, dusty miller, dianthus, marguerites, gaillardia, geum, penstemon, perennial forget-me-nots, Pride of Madeira, statice, and Shasta daisies.

Many of these perennials and annuals make great cut-flowers as well, including cosmos, carnations, columbine, coreopsis, coral bells, daylilies, delphiniums, and Shasta daisies. In semi-shade put in transplants of begonias, lobelia, impatiens, coleus, and fuchsias.

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