Hello there!! Well we are in July now and we are getting to the point where you may be seeing some undesirable changes to your hanging baskets. Do you know what I’m talking about? Leaves may be yellowing, the plants may look a little gangly, or you might even have a beautiful green hanging baskets but NO BLOOMS!!
Whats going on you ask??
Am I doing something wrong?!?
No! We are just at the point of the summer where hanging baskets need a little extra TLC.
First off, if your baskets seem to me a little leggy don’t be scared to take a pair of scissors and trim up those long branches to even out the basket. A good trimming does great things for your basket! Also, we have been very warm here lately so make sure that your plants are getting plenty of water! Petunias drink….and drink……and drink! You want to make sure you are watering them at least once a day in this heat, possibly 2-3 times!
If the foliage on your basket seems to be a little yellow its time to fertilize! Fertilizing is probably the 2nd most important task (second to watering) for your baskets. These plants grow at very high rates and it take a lot of nutrients to do so. There are many different options out there for fertilizing. Here at the farm we have our liquid fertilizer; thats the blue stuff that came in a milk jug with your basket. You still want to be using this at least once a week; 3-4 times a week being ideal. You can bring your gallon out to the farm to refil it for just $1 at any time, or while you are here stop and grab a bag of our granular water soluble fertilizer.
This is a concentrated form of the fertilizer that came in your jug. Using this product is as simple as taking a tablespoon (or a milk jug capful) and mixing it into a gallon of water. Then use this solution to water your baskets, pots, and flower beds. As I mentioned before, doing this 3-4 times a week will give you the best results!
We also carry a time release fertilizer, with this product you take 1-2 tablespoons and sprinkle it down onto the soil in your baskets. This product works by slowly releasing fertilizer every time you water; it does so for about a month. Using this product together with the water soluble will create amazing results! Similar products to these would be a water soluble Miracle Grow product or a time release such as Osmocote.
Another problem you may find with your baskets now are little pests called aphids. Aphids are small green winged bugs that like to make meals of your petunias! They look something like this:
One great and all natural way to get rid of aphids is to add ladybugs to your garden, a ladybug’s favorite meal is aphids. You can find ladybugs at many home improvement stores as well as many different online outlets. If ladybugs aren’t your ‘thing’ or if they haven’t been giving you the results you need stop into the store and get an insecticidal soap, this product will wash the aphids away…literally!
Lastly, the most common problem hanging baskets have this time of year…...the dreaded CUTWORM! These pesky little critters can remove every bloom from a basket overnight it seems! Cutworms are small green worms that eat the buds and blooms from your petunias. When this happens you are left with a basket with bright green foliage but no flowers! Heartbreaking I know!
There are a few common signs to look for to determine if these guys are whats attacking your basket… take a look at your blooms on your baskets, do they have nice bite marks out of them like this…….
And do you see little black droppings around your blooms like this??
Then lastly, early in the morning or close to dusk, take a good look and see if you find any of these…..
(in this photo you can see 2 of the worms, one (on the flower) is green, the other has a slight purple hue…any guesses what thats from??? Yup, from eating the purple flower!)
This is the critter that’s destroying your blooms!
Now that you have identified the problem….what can you do to fix it?? Thats where we come in. We have a few different products here at the farm but the most popular and our favorite choice would have to be Captain Jacks Dead Bug Brew. This is a great, all natural product.
Captain Jacks contains Spinosad (spin-OH-sid), a product first isolated from a naturally occurring soil dwelling bacterium that was collected on a Caribbean island from an abandoned rum distillery. Spinosad is listed as Organic with the USDA so it is a great option to use in organic and all natural gardens. Not only will it help control these pesky worms but it also kills foliage-feeding caterpillars and worms such bagworms, borers, beetles, caterpillars, codling moth, gypsy moth, loopers, leaf miners, spider mites, tent caterpillars, thrips and more! It is also great protection for all vegetables – especially cold crops such as broccoli, cauliflower, etc.
Captain Jacks comes in multiple forms, including ready to use and concentrate.
I hope that I helped clear up some problems that you might be facing with your hanging baskets. We always want to you acheive the best results possible with any plant you take home from our farm. If you still have questions after reading this, please dont be afraid to give us a call! 503-792-3524. You can even bring your basket in, we will take a look at it, and tell you which route we think is best for you to take to get it back to its beautiful blooming self!!
Enjoy the sunshine everyone!
Until next time