Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Petunia Baskets

Trivia Quiz Question: We had a winner for last week’s trivia quiz question who wasn’t one of us or even a "plant!" Congratulations to Liz, who received an e-mail coupon for $5 off a $25 purchase. The answer is below. Here’s this weeks question: A collection of shrubs grown for ornamentation or study is called? Good Luck! E-mail me at leslieross@sbcglobal.net . I look forward to hearing from you!

Those Lovely Petunia Baskets

We get a lot of compliments on our Wave Petunia baskets. Weeks later we also get lots of calls about why the basket doesn’t look like it did in the store. Whenever we see any one at Countryside with a petunia basket we give information about good basket care, but sometimes we don’t catch you, so here’s the scoop. Wave petunia baskets need three things to look great even months after you take it home: 1) water when it needs it; 2) fertilizer; and 3) plenty of sun. The way to tell when a basket needs water is to push on the bottom of the basket. If it feels light, it needs water. If it still feels heavy, don’t water it. Plant roots need oxygen and over watering will effectively suffocate it. When you do water, water until water drains from the bottom of the basket. Make sure the soil is thoroughly saturated. As a result of this watering, nutrients will leach out of the soil and the basket (or container) will need fertilization. Petunias are especially heavy "feeders," and can be fertilized weekly, or even daily if you need to water that frequently. We recommend the Proven Winners brand fertilizer. It has been formulated for plants grown in containers and hanging baskets. Whatever plants you have in your containers or hanging baskets, make sure that you have placed them in the appropriate location so that they will receive the proper amount of sun. Petunias need full sun. If you don’t have full sun, we have other baskets and containers that will work for you. Finally, if the plants do get a little leggy, don’t hesitate to get out the scissors and give them a haircut. In a few weeks the baskets will look good as new. So I guess that was actually four things, but still not bad for 4 months of non-stop color.

KEZW Garden Show– What did we ever do without the internet? Some of you might know that prior to living here, we lived in Denver. My favorite radio station was KEZW. Every Saturday morning, they had a gardening show and ten years later it is still on the air. I listen to it over the internet. Obviously most of the information relates more to gardening in the Rocky Mountain region, but it is fun to listen to and it’s where this week’s trivia question comes from.

Spring is Here: Part Three: Watering
All plants will need regular watering until they are established. Most plants need about an inch of water a week. It is best to water deeply on an infrequent basis, rather than shallowly every day. This encourages the roots to grow deeper into the soil and makes the plants more resistant to drought. Over watering can actually suffocate the plant because the plant's roots need oxygen. Usually, your plants can tell you when they need water because they will wilt, but just because a plant has droopy leaves doesn't necessarily mean it's time to water. During the heat of the day a plant may be transpiring so quickly it cannot take up enough water through its root sytem even though adequate soil moisture exists. Wait until the next morning and then check the plant. If it is still wilted, then water. This is not the case for containers and hanging baskets. Water them when the container feels light.

It is best to water in the morning and to water the soil and not the plant. Put the end of the hose next to the plant and set it on a slow trickle, or better yet, set up some soaker hoses. Doing these things will help reduce fungus and mildew problems, conserve water and keep weeds at a minimum.

The Answer to Last Week’s Trivia Question
The petunia-like plant that is related to the potato is Calibrochoa, or Million Bells. This is a great trailing plant that works in both containers and hanging baskets. It is very heat and sun tolerant and will bloom all season long. It comes in a variety of colors from magenta to orange/yellow and white. Don’t forget to e-mail me with the answer to this week’s question.

1 comment:

alexaross said...

Thanks for the tips on the petunia baskets.