Yes, I know, you talk to your plants, you pamper them, give them shade if they need it, even rush out there with an umbrella on a scorching hot afternoon to protect that tomato plant you have been caring for all summer. But, there will be a time when you just don’t know if your plants are truly “happy”.
How can you tell? The right colored leaves, if they are suppose to be shiny green then they are shiny green not flat. They are not droopy and sad. But upright and “happy”.
But how can we KEEP them happy. The right amount of water, fertilizer when appropriate (just not because you read somewhere that it is a good idea but that it really is a good idea) – more is NOT better, compost and mulch. Did I forget to mention clean air? Oh, yeah, that is kind of important, too. Forgot one of the keys to your success – LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION. I sound like a real estate salesman but seriously, location is super important.
So how can we ensure this kind of success – happiness in plants? Some plants like lavender enjoy a neglectful existence while others thrive on your loyalty like your container of impatiens sitting in full sun.
Let’s go over each one: WATER, we will start here. I would like to refer back to one of my other posts on this one! But in it’s basic state, water is the key to life or lack thereof. We all need it. I try to equate this to our customers especially the ones that think they can plant it and it will survive on it’s own with no care. How long can you survive without water? You probably would not last the day but you could technically go about 7 days, yes count them, 7 days without a drop before you would die. Then, how long before the plant will expire? I have seen some plants hang on for months with a bare drop of water before giving up the ghost. So, water but water properly which means to stick your finger in the soil and see if it is wet or dry. This is practically the only way to ensure you are not drowning the poor plant.
FERTILIZER: yes we fertilize, if you didn’t have food which equates to fertilizer for plants, you would surely whither away so why do we attempt to starve our babies of a basic necessity. Yes, fertilizer options can be overwhelming, there are just so many options. I just cannot to begin to tell you about all the different combos out there but we are simple and I don’t like to confuse you because it just doesn’t help our plants. Basically, when you plant, fertilize. We use Espoma Bio Tone Starter Plus. Great amendment for all your trees, shrubs, plants, perennials, annuals, and anything Plant!
MULCH: It is super important, it is like putting a shirt on in the morning to go to work, you would not show up to work without it so put one on the roots for your plants. It keeps their moisture levels more even, shades the roots, protects them, and makes the plants look great. It also helps with the mowing and weedeating, you are not going up against the trunks or branches and destroying them! We put 2 to 3 inches of shredded hardwood mulch around each plant and a big enough ring so you can mow.
LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION: This is probably one of the most important concepts, right place, right plant. A full shade plant will almost die to be in the hot blazing all day sun. Also a full sun plant like roses will not thrive in a full shade spot. So, it is super important to know where you want to plant and if this location is for the benefit of the plant. Sometimes it is not what you want but what the plant needs.
Some of the checklist on keeping your plants happy. It doesn’t hurt to sing to them on occasion, talking to the plants might work as well. Enjoy!
~Happy Gardening, Lynne.