Revive Hanging Baskets


           

          revive hanging baskets

           

          I recently did a post on how to have Hanging Baskets that last all summer long by swapping out spring baskets with ones you planted up in mid-late May. It’s a great technique that will keep you in flowers right up to the first hard frost.

          But there is a way to revive hanging baskets that are looking haggard come mid June. The key here is to do it right now and be very… very brave!

           

          reviving hanging baskets (3)

           

          As I explained in my other post, the baskets you buy in early April have been growing since January and they will give you plenty of gorgeous color right through May into early summer. But they will begin to look leggy and decline by the time the heat really kicks in leaving you with something less than stellar when you are ready to entertain and host your BBQ parties.

          You need to renovate those plants NOW before it’s too late which means you will have to sacrifice some blooms for a few weeks, but trust me… it will be worth the tears.

           

          reviving hanging baskets

           

          Here’s a tired looking basket, yes it still has flowers on it but it has reached a crucial point and if you don’t cut it back now… it won’t have enough time to bounce back for summer bloom time.

          I tell my customers to ‘give it a haircut’…. grab your scissors and cut back your flowers by half to two leaves down the stem. Like this picture below:

           

          reviving hanging baskets (5)

           

          See those two little leaves close to the stem? Those are axillary or lateral buds that are not triggered to grow until the apical dominant terminal bud is removed. Huh? Whoie whatie? Let me explain so you can tell all your friends and sound like a true garden geek like me..

          Basically, the shoot apex (lead growing point) inhibits the growth of lateral (side shoots) from growing so that the plant can grow vertically. Removal of that growing point is what is referred to as ‘pinching’ back your plant.

          (Quickie tip for sterilizing your shears and scissors when pruning plants: give them a spray of Lysol Disinfectant spray… I know…. never thought of that did you…. your welcome)

          Back to Plant Biology 101!

          Auxin is a plant hormone that is produced in the growing point (shoot apex) of the plant. Once removed, latent (resting) buds will compete to become the lead growing point.

          That is how we get big beautiful bushy plants people and this is the key to reviving hanging baskets!

           

          Clippings

           

          This is not going to be easy…. you may even cry a little. But suck it up buttercup, your going to have to sacrifice a little now to gain more later. I admit, I have a hard time hacking away at my pretty bloomer but it’s a necessary evil.

           

          after pruning

           

          After you will be left with an almost green planter (and a big dose of regret and guilt). Now this is not going to look pretty for a couple of weeks, you must feed and water this baby to get it to put back on size, but it won’t be long before your hanging basket is flushing again!

           

          reviving hanging baskets (1)

           

          Here are my other hanging baskets that I gave a HUGE haircut too. It was not easy pulling these down to cut them back when they are looking so good…. a glass of wine certainly helped.

          Lobelia (those feathery blue flowers) and verbena (the white pompom like flowers) will look horrible in a couple of weeks if I don’t do this now. Lobelia is NOT a fan of hot summer weather but this ‘hair cut’ is going to help it be more tolerant.

           

          reviving hanging baskets (2)

           

          I do not have an after picture.. yet. But there was no time to waste to get this post out, this must be done

          RIGHT NOW!

          My baskets were cut back on June 15th. I will post an updated picture in a couple of weeks to show you the results… be sure to check back.

          Now, go grab some clean scissors, a glass of wine, apologize to your flowers and revive those hanging baskets for summer.

           

           revive hanging baskets (1)

          ****Update****

          I will continue to add updated pictures so you can see the progress, be sure to check back!

          One week after cutting back….

          The tiny center leaves of the lateral buds are pushing out and new leaves are starting to grow. At the center you can see a flower bud beginning to form.

           

          cutting back annuals

           

          ****Update****

          I was invited back to Global News on June 27th to show how to keep your baskets looking great! See the above pinching technique in action here:

           

           

          ***UPDATE***

          Week 3 since cutting back, it’s now the middle of July and these baskets will continue to put on size all summer long. Check back in 3 weeks for another update!

           

          basketbeforeandafter

           

          Peace Love Garden

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          8 Responses to Revive Hanging Baskets

          1. Thank you for this post. I HAVE been cutting the dead flowers off, but not really knowing what I was doing, probably cutting off too much. Now I feel like I have some good information to go on. (And if I would just ask my “nursery friend” who I get my plants from, she would be more than happy to tell me).

          2. Oh so true…cry and cringe a bit or a lot. I have a long Lavender hedge ( which I grew from cuttings) on top of a retaining wall. It flowered and flowered and flowered some more , and the bees kept visiting . It was giving me no chance to give a haircut and I was so procrastinating . I knew I had to be cruel to be kind so one late evening at dusk I attacked it. My reason for doing it then was that I didn’t have to see my scalped hedge very moment…until the morning. By then I was a bit more used to the idea as I looked out my kitchen window….sad but hopeful!
            Alexa from Sydney, Australia
            Blogging at http://www.Alexa-asimplelife.com

            • Hi Alexa! It sounds like you have a lot of lavender drying at the moment, how wonderful :) Yes, people avoid this necessary step in keeping their plants healthy and happy but don’t worry, your lavender will reward you with more blooms for many years to come!

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