Jeanne Grunert is a freelance writer, blogger and book author from south central Virginia. Her books include "Plan and Build a Raised Bed Vegetable Garden" and many others, available on Amazon and wherever fine books are sold. Learn more about Jeanne, her books and her garden at


Help for Tired-Looking Containers
by Jeanne Grunert - posted 08/12/16

I don't know about you, but at this point in the summer, I'm starting to look about as frazzled as I feel. My hair turns into a frizzy tumble, my skin is partially tanned (oh, that farmer's tan!) and my garden is a jumble of weeds thanks to the unrelenting Virginia heat. Can you relate?

That said, my plants are also starting to look a little burned-around-the edges. I'm not talking about sun damage, which is an actual problem with some plants. I'm simply talking about the progression that annual flowers make in one year, from seed to flower to seed again, that makes them begin to look slightly bedraggled at this time of year.

Many annuals, such as petunias and even impatiens, can become leggy and thin as the summer wears on. The unrelenting heat, water that leaches nutrients out of the soil, and simply the cycle of life all take their toll.

If your annuals are looking a little peaked at this time of year, there are several things you can do to perk them up:

  • Trim or deadhead spent flowers from the plants. This encourages the plants to produce more buds to replace any lost opportunities to scatter their seeds.
  • Hand pick or trim browned leaves from your plants.
  • Remove any dead annuals from window boxes or containers.
  • Replace with fall flowers, with are already making their appearance in local garden centers. Pansies and some late annuals that can withstand a bit of cool weather are great to replace spent annuals.
  • Fertilize your planters or containers with a liquid fertilizer dissolved in water. A simple 10-10-10 or 10-20-10 solution is fine.
  • Water your plants well to maintain even moisture.

For many gardeners, containers, pots and window boxes create the perfect garden. Make sure yours is bright and beautiful as the season ends by giving it a 'trim and a shave' now before the fall.




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