Sunday, April 27, 2008

Snip snip here, rub rub there and a couple of la dee dahs


My neighbor walked over yesterday as I was weeding my front border to ask about a few of her plants she keeps in containers. She has beautiful pots and striking blooms but they are ALL in containers. I know there's nothing wrong with leaving your plants in containers but I just have this thing about a landscape consisting of only containers and half dead plants. The reason she walked over, which she rarely does, was to ask about a hydrangea she was hiding in a corner near her front door. By her eye it seemed to be doing well... except the bloom fell off 2 days after she bought it. She did mention that she cut the dead flower off and remove it but how she did it is the reason for this post today. Just pulling off the wilted flower (in this case and many others) does not always do your sprouting wonders justice.


Pruning is essential for the survival and integrity of many many types of plants. From Oak trees to Crepe Myrtles and from Hydrangeas to Coleus pruning (or dead heading depending on the type) is very important to the life cycle of these plants. Of course they aren't all done in the same way... you would cut your finger nails the same way you cut your hair... right?


Let's talk a little about pruning your blooming beauties. Let's say you have a beautiful tri colored Coleus, like the one above. I've been seeing it pop up more in the last few years in my area. Mostly in a commercial setting where little to no maintenance is needed.... and then it gets picked up by the consumer. So now it's at your house and it's tall and thin with broad leaves near the base. It doesn't look anything like the huge bush you saw and fell in love with at the nursery or that office building down the street. What gives? And now it's blooming?? But that's not what you wanted right... well that's where pruning comes in. Coleus is a great little specimen who even love people with a light brown thumb. They do quite well in the sun but rather the shade to show off their brighter colors and they don't mind too much if they get a little dry.

If you remember a few quick tips you can have a nice full Coleus just like the one in the nursery. Pinching off the top 2 sections of the coleus before it grows a bud will produce 2 more branches. Doing this every time a new branch has 5 or more sections will keep your Coleus growing and getting quite fat. If you decide to let these go all the way to bloom you will more than likely get no new growth. There are a few herbs as well that will have this same growth pattern. Just follow the same tips as those we just went over and you'll have more than enough to go around.

This is exactly the type of pruning I did today with my neighbor's Hydrangea. I'm sure she'll come over when she has new blooms for me to see. I really do love when people ask for my help with their yards or gardens. Oh how I miss being in school and really do plan on going back in the next few years....... *sigh* I'd love to finish my degree. I'm not sure what I'd do with it now that I'm home with my 3 little ones. I guess I just want to say I have the degree. Just a little justification for myself, the lifetime student.

11 comments:

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

Lovely peaceful blog. Keep up the good work. I found you on Blotanical.~~Dee

Barbee' said...

How fun to see your smiling face. I will enjoy your journey, too. Thank you for sharing and taking us along with you.

LIFE in POTS said...

Go back to school if you can. That was the one thing my mom always regretted (and she had 4 of us). I love seeing a fellow swamp grower on the blogs.

Viooltje said...

What an interesting post. I'm glad Blotanical has shown me the way to your wonderful blog. Keep up the good work. Respect!

The Happy Housewife said...

Great tips, I need all the help I can get!

patientgardener said...

I enjoyed reading your blog - is interesting to come across someone who is gardening in a very different landscape

walk2write said...

Don't give up on your dream of going back to school, even if it means just taking a class at a time. Keep your goal in mind and make a beeline for it. Love your blog. I found it on Blotanical. Thanks for the tip on coleus.

Daisy K said...

Thank you all so much for the inspiration!!
I've spoken to a professor recently about going back and taking 1 class per semester. I guess it will make me work my companies a little harder now to pay for it myself.
Hopefully i can start next spring!!

Alicia said...

I've just recently came upon your blog and was only able to read a little bit. But I am so loving it now! I LOVE gardening!!! It's my passion. I love getting my hands in the dirt and breathing in deeply that sweet smell of a vivacious and living plant. I've linked you to my blog, so I will be checking in regularly.

Lisa in CA said...

Daisy, this is why I am in love with gardening blogs. Being somewhat of a novice gardener, I could not live without the helpful information I find everyday on the many blogs I frequent. I began reading your post and had to jump up and run outside to my Coleus barrel (half wine barrel) to pinch off that flower stalk that had appeared a couple of days ago. I did not know that failing to do so would result in a smaller plant. Now I do. Thank you to you and all the garden bloggers who share their knowledge so freely.

Daisy K said...

thanks everyone!! i'm back and its time for me to start thinking about fall... get ready!!


lisa i hope your coleus got nice and bushy!!