The Q&A Archives: Flowers Not Blooming

Question: This spring I planted marigolds, trumphet vines, bouganvillas, and geraniums. The marigolds promptly died and the remaining three haven't really blossomed. Haven't a clue as to what I'm doing wrong. Watering too much? Too little? Whatever buds start seem to die off before flowering.

Answer: If you're having problems with nearly all of your plants, I'd venture that their cultural needs aren't being met. Marigolds are especially tough plants, and the others should respond to reasonable care. Soil conditioning is especially important; we usually suggest that 3-4 inches of organic matter be spread over the garden bed and mixed in to the soil prior to planting in the spring. This organic matter (compost, leaf mold, aged-maure, etc.) will loosen the soil, making it easier for the plant's roots to penetrate. It will also help retain moisture and release nutrients right at the plant's roots during the growing season. If you didn't amend your soil, the plants may be struggling to stay alive instead of developing and producing flowers. Another important consideration is location. Most plants that produce flowers appreciate full sunshine. Those you've mentioned require it - if they're in a shady bed, they'll just pout. Unless the weather is really hot, your plants need about one-inch of water per week. If the soil dries out easily, or if the plants show signs of wilting, water more frequently. When you do water, make sure the entire root zone gets wet, not just the top of the soil. When you water deeply, you'll encourage deep roots, which will make for healthier plants. Hope the above guidelines will help your garden be more successful

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