35May 9, 2019

Sunday is Mother’s Day. Many of you will be giving flowers as a gift. Some of you will be giving flowering hanging baskets. The problem for many Moms is that the plants look really nice when they arrive on Mother’s Day but within a month the leaves begin to drop and the flowering slows down to just a few flowers. For many Moms, they feel that they just don’t have a green thumb when it comes to growing flowering hanging baskets. Well, Mom, someone forgot to tell you a few things about flowering hanging baskets. Let me come to your rescue.

The first thing you need to know is what are the light requirements for the plant you received. If the plant likes a sunny location and you place the plant on the shady side of the house, the plant isn’t going to do well in that location. On the other hand, if the plant likes to grow in a shady location, it is going to die pretty fast if you place it in a sunny location.

The biggest reason that many flowering baskets don’t do well is because the plants are starving to death. If you could take a tour of one of the big commercial greenhouses that grow many of the hanging baskets, you would see row after row of hanging baskets. Each hanging basket would have a small black tube setting in the basket. This black tube is part of an automated watering system. Each plant gets water as is needed based on the growing conditions in the greenhouse. The other thing that happens with this type of system is a process that adds fertilizer to the water supply. The plants are automatically fertilized on a specific schedule that will allow the plants to grow and produce lots of flowers. Eventually the plants leave the greenhouse and the plants wind up at Mom’s house. The plants are accustomed to having three square meals and yet Mom doesn’t know that is what the plant need. If you are buying Mom a hanging basket for Mother’s Day, go the extra mile and also buy her a container of fertilizer that can be mixed with water. Most hanging baskets will benefit from what is known as a blossom booster fertilizer. This type of fertilizer is formulated with a lot of phosphorous. Phosphorous is the fertilizer ingredient that plants use to form new flower buds. Every 10 days, Mom should mix up the fertilizer with water and give the plant the solution when she is watering the plant. By doing this, the plants will continue to flower all summer. If Mom doesn’t like to do the mixing of fertilizer with water, there is a timed-release fertilizer called Osmocote. Osmocote is a pelleted fertilizer that she can place on the surface of the soil and each time that she waters the plant, some of the fertilizer is released onto the soil. This type of product can fertilize the plant for 4 months. The only caution that I would give you is that she will need to slowly water the plants to prevent the fertilizer from being washed out of the pot.

Hopefully these tips will help Mom to enjoy all the flowers that will be produced on her hanging flowering basket that she receives for Mother’s Day.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you next week.

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