Getting the Best out of Annuals



(Annual plant care in containers)

Push your annuals to the maximum this year. They can handle it. I promise! We get to enjoy annual flowers for such a short period of time so let’s get the most out of them. Darlene in the greenhouse put together a top 10 list of her annual favorites and it is important that we take good care of the special choices she made or any annual you fancy. Annual flowers in pots are such a treat because they bloom for us practically every day. We get to sit out on our patios, lounge in our chairs, dine on our decks surrounded by beautiful patio annuals, filled with gorgeous blooms, in any color you choose. It is definitely ok to lounge and enjoy. In fact, I encourage it any chance we get. Just don’t relax so much that you completely forget to take care of those gorgeous potted annuals! Remember, plant care is always a little bit of a give-and-take relationship. We give our plants a little love and attention and they give us a whole lot in return.

Let’s show our annuals a little TLC when we take them home from the nursery. Billy P. and the rest of the Van Wilgen’s growing team give them so much love in our growing department. We need to continue to spread the love and care to them when we plant them into our containers at home.

The TLC begins with the soil you use to plant your lovely annuals in. Use a well-draining, fresh, light potting soil such as our Van Wilgen’s Professional Potting Mix. It is just the right consistency for your plants to thrive. Place a layer of rocks at the bottom of your pot to help with drainage and fill the pot up with new soil. Be sure your pot has a good drainage hole in it too. If you have a really large pot and using rocks just makes it too heavy for you, cheat and throw some empty plastic bottles you have from the recycle bin into the bottom of the container. They will add some bulk to the bottom of the large pot and still allow drainage without the weight. If you have some soil in the pots from last year, it is okay to keep some of it but not all. You really need to refresh last year’s soil with some new potting mix. Last year’s annuals most likely sucked the nutrients out of it.

I highly recommend adding some Soil Moist into the potting soil. We have a very cool Soil Moist that has Mycorrhiza in it. Mycorrhiza is this awesome beneficial bacteria that attaches to the roots of the annual plants, allowing them to absorb more water and nutrients. The Soil Moist is most important for helping the pots retain moisture just in case you get a little busy and forget to water one day. If you use our Van Wilgen’s Container Mix, the Soil Moist and fertilizer are already built into it…3 steps in one!

Next comes the fertilizer. I cannot stress enough how important it is to fertilize your annuals in containers. We water our pots so often that the nutrients leach out quickly. Begin by mixing in Van Wilgen’s All Purpose Slow Release Plant Food. This food serves as a good base for planting because it feeds slowly over a long period of time. Use the slow-release food every 2 months in your containers. Don’t stop there! Now it is time to push them to the maximum. Remember, annuals can handle it. Use VW Bloom Booster. The Bloom Booster is loaded with phosphorus and pushes tons of blooms. Use the Bloom Booster every 2 weeks through the season. Why the heck not?!

Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. Do not forget the basics such as water, sun, and dead-heading. No matter how good the soil is or how often you fertilize, without the basics, your annuals will not thrive. Be sure to water your annual pots daily. If the temperatures get above 85 degrees, you will need to water those pots two times per day. Don’t forget the sun. The annuals on Darlene’s top 10 list need full sun to give you the bloom you desire. Dead-heading is key to keep them looking sharp and perky.

Give a little to your annuals and you will get a whole lot of flowers and joy in return.

Come see us at Van Wilgen’s. We would love to help!


*Annuals from Darlene’s top 10 list or any that you like

*Van Wilgen’s Professional Potting Mix or Container Mix

*Soil Moist

*Van Wilgen’s All Purpose Slow Release Plant Food

*Van Wilgen’s Bloom Booster