By Brent Gray
Petunias are annual bedding plants that are ideal for filling sunny bulb beds or supplying cascades of color in large containers. The selection ‘Purple Wave’ is a durable choice, but even the hardiest petunias will need to be cut back and rejuvenated in mid to late summer to maintain constant bloom and thick growth.
Water Garden Plants
When buying water lilies or lotus, check the bud atop each root to be certain it’s not broken. If damaged, the plant cannot grow. Lotus are particularly vulnerable.
Shear hedges after their first flush of growth. To maintain thick growth at the base, be sure that the hedge is wider at the bottom than it is at the top. Otherwise, the lower branches will grow thin in the shade of the ones above.
Cut away the faded blooms of cannas, coreopsis, Stella de Oro daylilies and stokesia to ensure additional blooms.
These gorgeous, but stinky annuals are also known as cleome. These will bloom all summer and reseed everywhere. As the season progresses, plants grow a bit leggy. Go ahead and cut them back below all the long seed pods to the point where you see a new branch beginning to sprout. It will quickly grow back and start blooming again. This will also help remove some of the zillion seeds this plant produces and keep you from having to weed out all the volunteer seedlings next spring.
Lots of tomatoes are showing signs of nutrient deficiencies now. The slow growth caused by clouds and rain allowed nutrients to leach through the soil rather than be taken up by the plants. Now the plants are in a period of rapid growth of fruit and the nutrients are not present. Apply a light side dressing of fertilizer material if your plants are pale. It is common to apply additional fertilizer to indeterminate tomato varieties as the season progresses.
Okra growers should be aware that grandma’s ad-monitions about having to harvest every other day or the plants will stop bearing are not true. The plant will continue to flower and produce regardless of the old pods hanging on. The reason to harvest frequently is for quality, not yield. Young pods cook faster and taste better than old, fibrous ones.
Temperatures are getting hot enough that some large fruited tomatoes and peppers will not pollinate successfully. The fruit already formed will continue to develop, but new flowers may not produce any fruit. Small tomatoes like cherry and grape and small peppers, particularly hot ones, will continue to form fruit.