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    The Perfect Plants for Non-Perfect Planters

    By Sara Richmond Walls     

    Purchasing a home was intimidating for my husband and me for a variety of overwhelming reasons. In addition to worrying about paying a mortgage and cleaning additional square footage, we were bombarded with plants. Chlorophyll everywhere. Shrubs, and trees, and grass. Oh my! I had never cared for plants before. The family that owned the house before us left us two large planters on the front porch full of yellow pansies. Since then, I have grown to rely on three plants to add touches of color around my home: pansies, petunias, and hostas. I do not claim to be an expert, but, here is what I have discovered on these three favorites.

    Pansies

    We purchased our house in May, and by the middle of summer, the yellow pansies were wilted and brown in the planter on my porch. Why? The piedmont North Carolina sun gets hot in the summer time, and, I learned that there was not enough water to keep them alive. So, I pulled them up, and tried again in September. I went to a home improvement store and bought two flats. I added fresh soil to the planter. I didnít measure how deep I planted the flowers; I just put them deep enough so that the soil encased around the root was covered completely. Then I watered, and fed them with Miracle Grow. And they grew! I watered them regularly. In addition, I picked off any dead, wilted or torn blooms. And they were a success.

    Petunias

    Around April, I filled my planters with petunias. The process went exactly as above. Petunias require a little bit more effort in maintaining. Petunias must be picked back in order to keep the blooms coming. Pinch off the area below the bloom in addition to the bloom to prevent the maturation of seeds. When the petunia puts all of its energy into creating seeds, then there is little left for producing more flowers. Youíll find that theyíre sticky and sometimes it helps to water just before you pinch off the flowers.

    Hostas

    When it comes to areas beside your house, hostas provide a great filler between shrubs. At first I hated the ones that lived in the bed beside of my house. They were huge and started eating away at the sidewalk beside the house. I decided I needed to separate them, and in the process I learned that hostas are incredibly hearty. In separating the four hostas on the side, I was able to put four in a backyard flowerbed, give six to my neighbor, and seven to my sister. Hostas will die away during late fall and winter and then return late spring, early summer. There is one pest you will need to monitor and keep away from your hostas: slugs! There are treatments that you can apply to your yard to reduce them.

    Again, I donít claim to have all of the answers, but these three plants area a great place to start.

    Written by Sara Richmond WallsRate this article:

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