Stressed Out Plants?

Rain, rain and more rain…….and hail.   Yes, we know we should be happy for the rain, since we know it will be well appreciated later this summer.  We should be enjoying the rain, right?  After all, most summers, rain is almost a novelty in Colorado.  Well, the novelty has worn off.  The ground is saturated in many areas, making it difficult to get things going in the garden. Your plants may even be exhibiting signs of stress from the excessive moisture. Brown mushy leaves and stems or gray-green. crispy leaves are both common signs of too much moisture. So, what can you do?

I apologize now if this sounds a bit preachy, but  we want to help you build your garden path, not lead you down the proverbial one.  The single most important thing to do for your garden is to amend the soil. Clay soils don’t allow roots to permeate through the particles and when water-logged roots don’t stand a chance. Amending the soil isn’t the glamorous, fun part of gardening, but it is the foundation for all we hope to grow. Build a good foundation and you’ll experience great results.  Prepare minimally and you can expect success relative to your efforts.  There are times in life where there simply is no substitute for going all out.  Preparing your soil is one of those times.  Often you won’t have a chance to do more than spotty amending between plants after the initial preparation.  In other words, there’s no going back.  Well, there is, but it requires a complete do-over and a tremendous amount of additional effort.  (stepping off the soap box now)nyc

What can you do for existing garden plants showing signs of distress?  Boomerang.   Just like the name suggests, it’s a “comeback” microbial-based formula for plants that helps relieve stressed root systems.  It is filled with nutrition that is easily absorbed by plants and encourages new root growth.  Most importantly, it really works.

BOOMERANGWith the abnormal amount of moisture there are a few undesirables visiting our gardens.  Slugs.  They slither and slime all over our precious plants and then consume leaves and petals,  without any consideration to the gardener.  They can’t even stick to the same leaf.  Nope.  They have to taste all of them.  Diatomaceous Earth is the answer.  It causes abrasions to insects when they come in contact with it.  The insects lose fluids and dehydrate.  It’s an organic control that works effectively.  Bonus – it also helps control earwigs, my arch nemesis in the garden.  natural guard

All of these things will reduce your gardening stress, as well as the stress on your plants.



Perfect Petunias

Supertunia Bordeaux
Supertunia Bordeaux with Sweet Potato Vine

I love petunias! Some might even call me an addict. While there are those who think they are too pedestrian, the truth is they are one of the best choices for sunny Colorado gardens. Petunias are versatile. They can be used in hanging baskets, planters, borders and in mass plantings. They thrive in the summer sun and heat. They tolerate a little frost in early spring and fall, making them ideal for mountain gardens, too. With regular fertilization, they will bloom non-stop until a fall freeze. They’re also water-wise plants, preferring their soil dry moderately well between water applications.  An infinite choice of colors exist for our planting pleasure.  No other annual packs as much bang for the buck.

Wave Petunias
This pot was about 40″ tall and 40″ in diameter. As you can see, the Wave petunias have nearly covered it.

If you haven’t caught the Wave yet, you’ve been missing out. The original Wave petunias reach 6” tall and create a 36” carpet of blooms that hugs the ground. Easy Wave petunias are mounding plants, reaching 12” tall and spreading to about 30”. Shock Waves have petite blooms, grow to 10” tall and spread up to 30” in diameter. Tidal Wave petunias give new meaning to the word “voluptuous.” When planted every 12”, they create a hedge of flowers that can reach up to 48” tall. These are ideal for large pots and planters like wine barrels.

My favorite series of petunias is Sanguna. The colors are uniquely vivid and their flowers are large. Their spreading habit makes them great candidates for use in border plantings, and also allows them to be used as trailing plants from hanging baskets and planters. They are resilient to wind, rain and most anything else Mother Nature dishes out. There are new colors in the series this year. Be sure to look for Sanguna Radiant Blue, Sanguna Radiant Rose and Sanguna Picotte Punch. One of the more unique colors is Sanguna Atomic Blue, with its iridescent, nearly neon blue blooms.

Petunia Sanguna Atomic Blue
Petunia Sanguna Atomic Blue

The oversized, 3″ grandiflora blooms of Hort Couture’s Panache series of petunias should be on everyone’s list of plants to grow. There are some incredible colors. Venetian Red is one of the most stunning red trailing petunias.   And we can’t forget Panache Hell’s Bells.  Spectacular orange blooms really set this one apart.   If you’re a Bronco’s fan, it’s a must-have plant to go with your favorite blue salvia.

Panache Tickled Pink Petunias
Panache Tickled Pink Petunias

There are some special petunias that have been hybridized with calibrachoa. These “SuperCal” petunias combine the best traits of both plants. They are vigorous trailing plants with 2” blooms. They aren’t sticky and they shed their own dead flowers. That’s right. No more sticky fingers from dead-heading.

All petunias are not created equal. There are hundreds from which to choose. Knowing the traits of a few varieties can be helpful when trying to select the right petunia for your purpose. Most petunias can be classified as trailing, mounding or spreading. If you consider what you desire as the end result for your planting, you’ll have no trouble finding your perfect petunia.