We’ve all celebrated the beauty of our annuals when they’re first planted in the spring, thoroughly enjoying the beauty the flowers add to our landscaping. And we’ve all experienced that moment of frustration in July or August when the plants, whether in containers or in the ground, start looking a little tired and worn out.
Annuals, which go through their entire life cycle in one season, can become overgrown or a bit spindly, making them appear to be much less attractive than when they were first planted in early spring. This is not unusual as this trait is pretty common with many annual flowers which, when growing, have a tendency to get much larger than we’d like.
When annuals are planted in containers, where often a mixture of flowers are planted together, some of the more aggressive flowers can begin to choke out or minimize others. Pruning spring and summer annuals is simply part of controlling their size, which in turn, generally creates a more compact and lush plant. And let’s face it; because these plants have a short life, we all want to get as many beautiful blooms out of them as possible.
Many gardeners hesitate to prune annuals, as it often requires some of the flowers over the outer structure to be removed. There’s nothing to be worried about though, as these will soon return after these seasonal flowers begin to react to the pruning.
Often gardeners are leery about pruning their annual flowers. You can be managed pruning selectively by thinning or selectively pinching by just taller areas within the flowers or you can manage more of a global pruning by pruning the entire flower or group back to the same area. Regardless of which way you choose to prune, we suggest that you follow up with an application of water-soluble fertilizer, such as Ferti-lome Root & Bloom, or other recommended, well-balanced fertilizers that have a high middle number “phosphorous.” This type of fertilizer is a highly concentrated plant food that helps promote brisk blooming, root development and larger blooms.