Get More from Garden Plants with These Easy Tips

green plant and hands caring them

Perennials, annuals, and even bi-annual plants can be eased into blossoming a second time, reseeding themselves, and producing other garden plants effortlessly for gardens that reach their full potential try these simple chores.

Divide and Conquer

Every two years, perennial plants can be divided which means separated into two (or more) separate plants. Favorite plants can be burgeoned in new or different areas of the garden when these plants are divided and replanted somewhere else. Hosta, peonies, delphiniums, lavender, calla lilies and phlox love being divided. Most perennials do; so, don’t skip this simple chore, and favorites of the garden will multiply fast. Once a garden is established, enjoy sharing divisions with friends and neighbors, or join The Audubon Society, where people putting together a garden will appreciate divisions to create habitat out in the yard.

Don’t Always Deadhead

Allow annual plants to reseed by not clipping, pinching, or cutting dead blossoms during a season of bloom – typically best at the end of an established bloom time. The left-on flowers will form seed pods, which will drop off and work their way into the soil, rooting over the winter, and growing up into new plants come springtime.

This effortless way to plant isn’t always recommended as some gardeners can’t get off deadheading worrying that the seed – or seed pod – forming process takes too much energy or nutrients away from the plant. For annuals, however, which won’t be back again next year, anyway, it is an enjoyable way to watch well-liked plants return. Plants to let reseed include:

  • Lettuces, Flax, Blue-eyed Grass, Foxgloves, Violets, Pansies, Cosmos, Cilantro, Hydrangea, Bleeding Heart, Annual Poppies, and many more.

Gather and Dry Seeds from Plants Already in the Garden

Gathering seeds and drying them, not only gives the gardener a complete experience of creating life out in the garden as an artist creates art from a blank canvas, but some plant seeds actually have a complete use of their own separate from the plant’s use itself. Coriander, for example, is a spice that comes from the seeds of the cilantro plant. After blossoming occurs, round seeds are easily picked off the tall stems, dried, and ground (or used whole) to add spice to cooking.

Annual sweetpeas actually form a pea-like pod that can be snipped from the vine, opened, and the seeds removed. Set these seeds away from moisture to dry, and plant for more spring and summer sweetpea blooms. Flax, sunflowers, lettuce seeds, and many more can be gathered for planting again in the spring.

Quick Chop for Fall Blooms

Some perennials, bi-annuals, and annuals like to be chopped off at the base after blooming and will grow up again giving another full season of bloom in the fall. A simple whack of the clippers can give such plants as foxgloves and delphiniums an entire new season of bloom. Cut all the way down to about one inch above the soil right after spring season blooms look spent and ‘done’. Continue to water and fertilize as with the rest of the garden, and come fall a new crop of these lovely blooms will stand tall in the garden to be enjoyed until about the end of October.

Root New Cuttings with Organic Rooting Compound

Quick pruning of an established shrub can amount to new shrubs planted into other parts of the garden. This is done by ‘rooting’ a branch of the pruned shrub in rooting hormone after which it can be planted out in the yard. Rooting hormone powders can be purchased at the store, however, they often contain harsh chemicals and such a tiny amount is needed that these organic versions might be a better choice:

  • Honey
  • Curly Willow Bark

Steep 1/4 cup of organic honey or a branch of curly willow cut into 1 inch pieces with diagonal cuts, making a ‘tea’ by adding 1 quart of boiling water. Cover immediately with an airtight lid. Refrigerate to keep the compound fresh and use within one week’s time.

Cut the pruned branch diagonally, a cut about two inches long; so that, the layer just underneath the ‘bark’ but above what is termed ‘the wood’ is exposed. Soak the entire cut in the organic rooting hormone compound at least 24 hours – up to 72 hours. Plant, mulch, fertilize as usual. Be sure the particular season to plant and zone advice are being adhered to. Honey is an especially good organic rooting compound for rose cuttings.

With these chores done, the joys of garden favorites multiply and fill the vacant places in the garden, effortlessly (well, almost).

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