The Q&A Archives: Stunted Plants

Question: A lot of plants that I start in my gardens do not get a big as the seed packets say. For instance I've planted Cosmos and it said the plant would be 3 to 6' tall. Mine grew to a whopping 6" in height. What am I doing wrong?

Answer: You may not be providing optimal conditions for your plants. Make sure that sun-lovers get full sun all day, and shade-lovers get mostly shade. If your soil hasn't been amended with organic matter, the plants may be struggling for moisture and nutrients. Finally, be sure to provide ample water during the growing season. To get your flower bed off to a good start this year, spread 4-6 inches of organic matter on top of the bed and work it in a good 8 inches. You can use compost, leaf mold or peat moss. By incorporating organic matter you'll help the soil retain moisture and nutrients for the roots, which will help your plants grow big and sturdy, and reach their full potential. Apply at least one inch of water to the bed each week; more if the plants begin to look wilty. Try to give plants ample room to grow. If they're overcrowded and have to compete for light, water or food, they won't have any energy left to grow and produce blossoms. Hope you have a spectacular flower garden this year!

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