Flower Bed Prep & Preventative Maintenance Program   

  • Clean out old or dead plants and/or weeds and pull back existing mulch.  (Note: Mulching annuals is not recommended except at the outside edges or perimeter of the bed.)

  • Amend beds by using an organic mix of Florida or Canadian peat with an aged composted bark and sand combination.  3” to 5” should be added.  Check the pH, as it should be between 5.5 and 6.5.  This will ensure a good nutrient uptake when the proper fertilizer is used.  The water should also be tested to determine how it would affect soil pH. 

 

  • After the beds have been amended and tilled in, a granular fungicide such as Banrot, Subdue or Cleary’s should be broadcasted as a preventative against disease problems. 

 

  • There are several methods for fertilizing flowerbeds.  A good one is to broadcast a well-balanced “time released” fertilizer (14 – 14- 14, etc.) over the top of your beds and plant right into them.  Miloganite can also be added at this time.  This offers a quick release of nutrients to your flowers.  As its effectiveness goes down, your well-balanced, slow release fertilizer should have already started to activate. 

 

  • You may also apply your well-balanced fertilizer after you have planted and watered your flowers.  You can make an application around each individual plant by putting a half a handful in a half circle placement.  Remember, more is not better and stay away from a high nitrogen fertilizer.  They cause vegetative growth but few flowers.  If you use too little fertilizer, an indication of an off-color and even yellowish foliage with a lack of vigor will show up in a short period of time.  If this occurs a month or two after planting, you will need to reapply by broadcast over the tops of your plants but be sure to water the beds by hand (not with your irrigation system) in order to wash the fertilizer into the soil and off the plant itself.  This method should be done 3 to 4 months after planting anyway because your fertilizers will be finished.  To extend your plants vigor, we recommend another application.  This will keep your plants looking healthy until it’s time for a change out.  

 

  • We recommend that 10 to 14 days after planting that a liquid or water-soluble fertilizer be applied.  A 20-20-20, 20-10-20 or a blossom booster type, 10-30-20 should be used.  You can use 2 to 3 pounds per 100 gallons of water and either “drench” (water into the soil) or “srench” (spray to a heavy run-off so solution runs down the stem and into the soil.)

 

  • A rule of thumb is to plant your flowers (4 ½” pot size) on a one foot center and use caution not to plant them too deep.  You should be able to see the top part of the root ball when you are finished (1/2” above soil level).

 

  • Water flowers in with a hose and nozzle breaker to ensure a good, compact seat in the bed.

 

  • Allow plants to dry slightly between watering to encourage flower production.  This will also reduce the overall plant height, discourage fungus from developing and reduce excessive fertilizer release.  Morning watering is strongly recommended. 

 

  • Within a week after planting, you should fungicide your flowers.  This is done as a preventative and there are several methods to do so.  As a spray to “run off” or “drench” using a good systemic fungicide.  This can be done every 4 to 6 weeks afterward, depending on weather conditions (If rainy more often). Rotate sprays if possible.

 

  • Once every 3 to 4 weeks, use of an insecticide should be applied, but physical examination is a must to ensure timely preventative action and to identify the specific pest and the correct chemical to use.  There are many new chemicals, but be sure they will be acceptable for flower applications and target the specific insect. 

 

  • Any time you are applying any of the fore-mentioned chemicals or fertilizers, be sure that the plants are not stressed from either heat, cold, lack of water, etc.  Morning applications are best and wear safety equipment and clothing. 

 

 

Good Growing!  Dave Self, President