The Q&A Archives: summer flowers

Question: I planted some summer flowers under my tree which are not doing so well and wanted to know the best flower to plant in that area that will last until august? Either annual or perennials would be fine. how about gerber daisy? any suggestion would be fine. I technically do not have a green thumb if that helps. Even my marigolds (which are in the sun) are doing poorly.

Answer: Unfortunately, gerber daisies are quite difficult to grow as garden plants and generally stop blooming when the summer weather turns hot.

Impatiens and begonias usually do best in shady sites as summer annual flowers and will bloom all season. Sometimes planting under trees is made more difficult due to roots in the soil that compete for water and nutrients. If there are tree roots where you are trying to plant, you might have better success by using a large sized planter and putting the flowers in that.

For all of your annual flowers, soil preparation is important to success. Loosen the soil thoroughly before planting and add organic matter such as compost and/or milled spagnum peat moss. After planting, use an organic mulch two to three inches thick in a flat layer over the root area, and water as needed to keep the soil slightly moist. You may also want to use a general purpose granular fertilizer or slow release granular fertilizer per the label directions.

Most annual flowers including the above do best if planted a week or two after the last frost so the ground has had time to warm up. They also need to be conditioned or hardened prior to planting so they do not have transplant shock. If your plants came right out of a greenhouse and were not acclimated for a week or so, they may be in shock. Or, if you planted too soon and they were frosted, they may have suffered some damage from that. Hopefully they will recover.

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