(Hanging Baskets, Containers, Landscape, Window Boxes)

All plants need water, however, annual flowers need some extra care. They tend to have shallow root systems and are expected to spend almost their entire lives blooming repeatedly. If they become stressed, they either rush to set seed and not bloom again or slowly die.

A good rule for watering plants is to check the top inch of the soil: if it’s wet, no need to water. If it’s dry, it’s time for a drink! Water during the early morning when you’ll lose less moisture due to evaporation during the day.

Beds vs. Containers

Any plant grown in a container will dry out quickly, and annuals, with their shallow roots, will need water nearly every day. Check the top inch of soil – if it feels dry to the touch, water. You may need to water more than once a day in the extreme heat of summer. Adding Mulch, even in a container, can make an appreciable difference in water retention.

Annuals planted in flower beds may not need as much water as containers. It will depend on how well-drained the soil is and how much competition for water there is from other plants close by.

Specific Plant Needs

How much you’ll have to water depends on the plants you choose. Drought-tolerant annuals, such as zinnia, marigolds, and cleome, will require minimal watering; once a week will probably be fine. Others, such as snapdragons, alyssum, and impatiens need regular water, or they will suffer stress.

Your plants will be the best indicator of when to water and hint to whether or not you are giving them enough to drink. When annuals don’t get enough water, they can look pale or dull and wilt quickly. If they are wilting during the day and reviving at night, you can be certain that they need more water during the day’s heat, additional mulch, or a shadier spot.

The signs of over-watering are similar to under-watering, pale leaves, and wilting. You should be able to determine which it is by pushing your finger into the soil and checking to see if it is soggy or bone dry. The water needs of your annuals vary with the weather and the seasons, and you should adjust accordingly.

Are you looking to expand your perennial gardens with fresh new plants for the summer? Look no further! In the spirit of June being National Perennial Month, we’ve curated a list of our favorite perennials to give your garden beautiful color and summer interest.

Coreopsis ‘moonbeam’

Coreopsis are lacy, airy flowers that rebloom with ease in the summer heat! ‘Moonbeam’ features soft yellow blooms that are in color from late spring/early summer all the way through mid-fall! Keep them dry and hot for best results.

Geranium ‘Rozanne’

An excellent long-blooming option to get sought-after blue flowers in your garden! This stunning plant will give you color from early summer through fall. It is also a great pollinator plant while resistant to common pests and diseases.

Shasta Daisy

Shasta Daisies are a staple in the garden. These cheery white to pale yellow flowers typically bloom during the summer, but the exact time frame depends on the variety. Great for pollinators and cut flowers!

Digitalis ‘Arctic Fox Rose’

A true perennial foxglove! ‘Arctic Fox Rose’ blooms from late spring through summer and is an excellent option for attracting hummingbirds.

Lamium ‘Purple Dragon’

Lamium is the perfect plant if you’re looking for a long-blooming, groundcover option for part to full shade. ‘Purple Dragon’ shows off its magenta-purple flowers from late spring to fall and is also bee-friendly!

Forget the thermometer, you know when the warm weather’s here when you see hummingbirds! Hummingbirds are incredibly smart little birds, capable of navigating great distances and clever enough to return to their previous summer’s feeding grounds. Their diet consists of nectar and small insects, with flower nectar as their main preference. To attract them, plant a yard full of nectar-rich plants. June is an excellent time to plant, so get out in the yard and start on your hummingbird garden with some of their favorite annual and perennial picks below!

PERENNIALS

Foxglove

Foxglove offers a ton of nectar in their tube-shaped flowers which hummingbirds and bees love. They also come in a beautiful variety of colors like deep pinks, peach, and purples, and have unique speckled throats.

Monarda (Bee Balm)

Photo Courtesy of Proven Winners: www.provenwinners.com

Bee Balm is surging in popularity as it is a well-known favorite of hummingbirds and one of the best options to attract them! It is also attractive to butterflies and bees, so you will see a ton of pollinators coming to visit. This plant does best in full sun, but can be grown in partial shade.

Hosta

This popular shade perennial is also a great choice for hummingbirds during their bloom period! Hostas usually flower for about 3-4 weeks between May and September, depending on the variety. Choose a more fragrant variety like ‘Stained Glass’ or ‘Royal Crest’, since hummingbirds tend to prefer these over less fragrant ones.

Gaura

Gaura is an excellent low-maintenance perennial option with good drought tolerance, perfect for withstanding high heat! Put this in your pollinator pathway and watch bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds enjoy them.

ANNUALS

Salvia guarnanitica

This annual is a fabulous summer performer for full sun and an excellent hummingbird magnet. 2 to 3′ tall spire flowers begin in May and continue until October. This salvia dispels the myth that hummingbirds only frequent red flowers. Yes, these little birds are attracted to reds but forage from countless other colors too!

Cuphea ignea “cigar plant

Orange, tubular flowers cover the bushy plants starting in summer and continue until frost. Cigar plants have tons of flowers and are nectar-rich. More flowers mean more hummingbird visits! This annual can be used as a bedding plant or in containers.

Lantana

With its bright colors, fragrance, and plenty of nectar, Lantana is frequently visited by pollinators! It is an excellent container plant and able to withstand high temperatures. It is also left alone by deer and rabbits and is relatively disease-free.

FEEDERS

Start getting hummingbirds into your yard right now with our large variety of feeders!

The best way to keep your flowering plants in bloom and get a good harvest from your fruit and veggies is with food… marathon runners can’t run without the pasta dinner the night before, right? It’s the same for our plants – they have a marathon in front of them as they provide you with flowers or food all season long! Keep reading below for the best products to use in combination for each type of plant.

Annuals

Van Wilgen’s All Purpose Slow Release 14-14-16

A true controlled release formula that feeds plants gradually and evenly. Apply every 2 months in a pot or 3 months in the ground. It is virtually impossible to burn plants with this and it contains valuable minerals in addition to the big 3 (Nitrogen – Phosphorus – Potassium).

Van Wilgen’s Bloom Booster 10-52-10

The BEST KEPT SECRET that shouldn’t be a secret! Our bloom booster truly dissolves in water and has a high phosphorus number, which promotes root growth and blooms. Feed with this every 2 weeks to get the most out of your annuals.

Herbs & Veggies

Van Wilgen’s Fish & Seaweed 3-1-1

Grow your edibles organically so you know your food is safe to eat, even on the day of harvest, and add some hard-to-get micronutrients found in the sea. Apply this every 2 weeks!

Espoma Organic Garden Tone 3-4-4 or Espoma Organic Tomato Tone 3-4-6

Use Garden Tone on all herbs and veggies! For herbs, apply during planting and after a large harvest. For vegetables, apply during planting and once per month from May through August. If using Tomato Tone instead (great for all tomato varieties and other fruiting crops like peppers, squash, & melons), apply 10-14 days after planting, and twice a month from May through August for established plants.

ROSES

Van Wilgen’s JumpStart 4-10-3

This starter fertilizer has a higher middle number which is phosphorus. Phosphorus promotes root growth and helps get plants established fast. This formula is complete with IBA Root Stimulant that enhances rooting and reduces transplant shock. JumpStart is not just for when planting or transplanting, use it for any plants in the landscape!

BioAdvanced All-in-One Rose & Flower Spray

While there are many disease-resistant roses available now, generally they can be magnets for disease and insects. This is why protection is an absolute must for all roses! Use this product every 1-2 weeks during the growing season to treat or prevent disease, insects, and mites.

Espoma Organic Rose Tone 4-3-2

Use this organic fertilizer for bigger blooms and deep green foliage! Apply during planting new roses, and about once a month from May through September.

PERENNIALS

Van Wilgen’s JumpStart 4-10-3

This starter fertilizer has a higher middle number which is phosphorus. Phosphorus promotes root growth and helps get plants established FAST! Complete with IBA Root Stimulant that enhances rooting and reduces transplant shock. JumpStart is not just for when planting or transplanting, use it for any plants in the landscape, and it will benefit them too.

Espoma Organic Plant Tone 5-3-3

Use this organic fertilizer for greener foliage and faster growth! Apply when planting new perennials, and about once a month during the growing season.

Tips:

1. Many plant signs around Van Wilgen’s have a little key on the bottom right corner with our suggested soil blend and fertilizer. These are there to help you pick the correct products to ensure the success of your plants!

2. Follow the recommendations on the bag. Remember like medicine, just because it says 1 tablespoon on the directions doesn’t mean that 2 is twice as good!

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Have you noticed these leaves everywhere? Don’t worry, these are NOT poison ivy… they are maples!

Maple seedlings are popping up in your lawns and garden beds, and all over the landscape! The reason is the weather. Two years ago we had a drought, and last year we had rain almost every weekend. Many maples got foliar diseases from the rain and from being so wet, so existing trees put out a HUGE seed set!

If you have them in your lawn, you can deal with them by mowing until they’re eventually gone. For garden beds, you’ll want to get rid of them now before the tap root gets too big. Remember, maples put out roots pretty quickly so don’t wait! A simple weed killer will work great, organic or synthetic, your choice.

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, falling on May 12th this year, and we have the best blooms to help you celebrate! Show Mom your appreciation with our exquisite selection of flowering hanging baskets, lilacs, annuals, and more. Plus, our full selection of roses including David Austins is now available! What says Mother’s Day better than roses? Keep reading below to see some of our favorite plants that are sure to WOW that special woman in your life this year.

1. LILACS

Lilacs bloom just in time for Mother’s Day, making them an obvious choice! With amazing fragrance and bright, full clusters of flowers, lilacs check all the boxes. Check out Pocahontas, a stunning early blooming variety (pictured above) with showy flowers that look great as cut flowers! Need one for a smaller space? We have a great selection of dwarf lilac including Baby Kim, a delightfully deer and disease-resistant variety, getting only about high 24-36″ at maturity!

2. ROSES

Browse our full selection of roses, now available! Choose from Knock Outs, Garden Roses, David Austins, and more in various colors and sizes. Surprise Mom with her favorite roses planted and ready to go in the garden.

3. ANNUAL MIXED CONTAINERS & BASKETS

Grab gorgeous hanging baskets through Mother’s Day on sale two for just $80! Regularly $50 each. We also have some amazing annual combo pots ready for you that make perfect, hassle-free patio plants Mom will love.

4. FLOWERING VINES

Bougainvillea: Tough as nails, fast-growing, and puts on a spectacular show of color. These vines are flowering machines that look great climbing a wall, sprawling as a groundcover on hillsides, or pruned and grown in containers.

Mandevilla: Exotic trumpet-shaped flowers occur in colors of red, pink, white, or apricot. Plants bloom continuously from summer through fall! Very fast-growing and beautiful on trellises and spilling over in hanging baskets!

5. HOUSEPLANTS

Just in… stunning succulent bowls! These beauties just arrived in a couple of different sizes and are an excellent low-maintenance houseplant option to bring life into any room.

OTHER GIFT IDEAS

The Growing Candle: Get a gift that keeps on giving! With The Growing Candle, you’ll be giving more than just a scented candle. After you burn through the wax, you can plant the label and grow wildflowers! Choose from different designs and scents to customize this unique gift for that special plant lover in your life.

Dandelion Lights: This fun and popular take on string lights is super cute and makes an excellent decor piece for spring! Available in both solar and plug-in.

Plantable Cards: Give Mom a thoughtful card and gift all in one! Peel off the handcrafted seed paper from the front of the card, soak it in water overnight, plant it, and watch it grow into beautiful wildflowers.

What can go outside and when? We get this question a lot this time of year. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t as simple as giving you a date—nighttime temperatures drive it, so staying on top of the daily weather forecast is crucial. Since Mother Nature is unpredictable, we stick to the following rules of thumb, knowing that it’s all about being flexible and keeping an eye on the forecast.

Annuals fall into a couple of basic planting temperatures:

  • Cold Tolerant (40 degrees or higher): This category includes Fuchsias, Petunias, Nemesia, Dianthus, Osteospermum Daisies, Sweet Alyssum, Snapdragons, and Dusty Miller. If you want summer color in early spring, these are great options.
  • Tropical (over 50 degrees): Everything else requires temperatures over 50 degrees (24/7) to be safely put outside. This includes tropicals, houseplants, citrus, and figs.

Mother Nature is always in control. Our smartphones make it a lot easier; simply look at any weather app and check the hourly tracking. If temperatures are forecast to drop below those listed above, cover your plants with some type of cloth … but never use plastic! Better yet, bring your plants inside at night (if possible).

Hint: watch what we do at Van Wilgen’s on our front patio. When it’s safe to put tropicals out for good, you will see them everywhere!

We have all heard the phrase ‘April Showers bring May Flowers’ but there are a few things we need to do to freshen up our gardens. April is the perfect time for spring clean-up! Start with simple raking and going for a clean slate in the garden. Prune any broken branches, and fix any uneven ground by adding Van Wilgen’s Topsoil or Compost.

Next, is the all-important new layer of mulch. Mulching is a great way to start off your garden for the season and give it a refresh. Apply a 2-3” layer of mulch to the base of your plants. Be sure to keep the mulch at least 3’’ away from the stem of any plant. Not only does mulch help to settle in the roots, but it also provides warmth, holds in moisture, suppresses weeds, encourages growth, and makes your beds look beautiful!

We understand that everyone has their own personal style when it comes to mulch. Whether it’s the classic look of Black Mulch, a fragrant Cedar Mulch or something in between, Van Wilgen’s has something just right for your landscape. One of the biggest questions we get is “How much mulch do I need?” Make sure you know the dimensions of your bed and how thick you would like it, and our mulch calculator will do the work for you! Plus, you can order mulch online and schedule delivery right to your home.

Not quite sure what you are looking for and need a visual to get your creative juices flowing? Stop by the store to see a sample of our mulches. Need a bag or two to finish up a big project? Our Van Wilgen’s bagged mulch is a perfect match for our bulk mulches. Choose from our Cedar, New England Pine Bark, Hemlock, Black, and Dark Bark mulches.

You’d be amazed at what a fresh application can do for your landscape. Once applied, it’ll look like you have a whole new garden.

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Nothing says spring like a beautiful container of brightly colored flowers on your patio or along the walkway to your home. Add eye-catching color to your space with these recipe ideas, created by our talented greenhouse manager Darlene!

LARGE CONTAINER IDEA

  • 1 Large-Sized Pot
  • Van Wilgen’s Professional Potting Mix
  • Grape Hyacinth
  • Martha Washington Geraniums
  • Ranunculus
  • Tulips
  • 1 Bunch of Pussy Willow Branches for center

MEDIUM CONTAINER IDEA

  • 1 Medium-Sized pot
  • Van Wilgen’s Professional Potting Mix
  • Pansies
  • Hyacinth
  • Daffodils for center

Keep your spring containers looking amazing all season long with Van Wilgen’s All Purpose Slow Release fertilizer!

As the weather warms, you may wonder what you can do to help your grass recover from winter stress. Follow the steps below to get your lawn ready for SPRING!

CHECKLIST

  • General Clean-Up: Rake away all the winter debris on your lawn to get it prepped for the next steps!
  • Test Your pH: One of the most important things to start with is to grab a soil tester and figure out what the pH of your soil is. The ideal pH is somewhere between 6.2 and 7.2. This will result in optimal conditions to maintain a beautiful, deep green, and lush lawn.
  • Apply Lime (For Low pH): If your soil pH is below 6.2, apply lime. Low soil pH prevents plants from absorbing nutrients efficiently. The result is weak, thin grass with bare spots and weeds. How low the pH will determine how much lime you’ll need.
  • Apply Gypsum (For Winter Damage): If salt damage from the winter storms has affected your lawn health, apply gypsum. Gypsum is an underused product that greatly reduces saline in your soil, improves soil conditions and water penetration, and loosens compact soils like clay.
  • Fertilize: A fertilizer can help aid in winter recovery and early spring green-up.
  • Apply Crab Grass Pre-Emergent: Knock out crabgrass before it is established! Timing is everything on this one… apply when the forsythia blooms but before the lilacs bloom.

Van Wilgen’s Product recommendations

Below are some of our favorite products for early spring lawn care. You can find all of these in our solution center, located in our main store in North Branford.

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Earth Science Fast-Acting LIME

  • Naturally raises soil pH
  • Helps plants absorb nutrients, resulting in a greener lawn
  • Adds essential calcium back into the soil
  • Works quickly and lasts for a long time

Earth Science Fast-Acting GYPSUM

  • Repairs salt-damaged soil
  • Loosens clay and breaks up compact soils
  • Improves water penetration and root development
  • Works quickly and lasts for a long time

GreenView Step 1: Crabgrass Control plus Lawn Food

  • Feeds, greens, and thickens your lawn
  • Prevents and controls crabgrass and other grassy weeds (like foxtail, goosegrass, barnyard grass, and annual bluegrass)
  • Improves water absorption and speeds up root growth

Sustane ORGANIC Step 1: Early Spring Weed and Feed

  • Organic, OMRI-listed line that’s brand new to our store!
  • Prevents weeds from establishing in the spring
  • Helps promote thicker lawns and lasting turf color

Espoma ORGANIC Spring Lawn Booster

  • Lasting nitrogen for early spring green-up
  • Enhanced with extra calcium, an important plant nutrient
  • Safe for use on all lawns, including newly seeded and sodded areas

Espoma ORGANIC Weed Preventer

  • Made from 100% corn gluten meal
  • Prevents common weeds like crabgrass and dandelions
  • Provides lasting nitrogen for deep greening