Caring for flowering plants

Many of our flowering plants have been flowering now for several weeks… and we would like this to continue! They are qualified as seasonal plants since they are grown on an annual cycle and die in the autumn. To get full enjoyment from them, here are a few tips:

  • Watering obviously, and also fertilisation! Allow the soil to dry on the surface before watering again. Every other time, add a liquid fertilizer especially for "flowering plants". These varieties are "greedy" and need numerous nutrients to prolong flowering. Break up the soil on the surface to help the water to enter the ground and allow the roots to breath.
  • 'Deadhead' the faded and dead flowers regularly. As the flowers die, in fact, and start to form seeds, they drain the energy from the plant which could have been directed into stronger growth and new flowers. Depending on the type of stem, either use sharp secateurs or quite simply pinch off soft stems between your forefinger and thumb, always above a leaf node. As summer draws to a close, allow the seeds to form, so you can collect them ready for sowing next spring. Keep them in a cool dry place, to avoid the development of mould.
  • To make sure the plants are healthy and looking good when you come back from your holidays, do not hesitate to cut off all the flowers, even those which are beautiful or even just budding: you won't be seeing them over the holidays and this will allow the plant to "save up" and prepare new flower buds for the end of the summer.
  • Summer is also the time to take cuttings from flowering shrubs. Cut lengths (20 cm) of young stems and stick them into the ground, grouping them together in large plant pots or terrines. Place them in a cool and shady spot and wait until springtime to find out whether cuttings have taken root!

Caroline Géneau

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