All plants are different and need different
kinds of care. There are three things that all plants need, though: light, water and
fertilizer. But every plant needs a different amount of each. When you buy your plants, pay attention to
the seed package or information on the tag for their sun requirements and plant accordingly.
If you have a plant that thrives in shade, plant it on the north side of your home or
in an area that doesn’t receive much sun exposure, like under a tree. The reverse is
true for plants that require a lot of sun. Just be aware of how much sun a plant needs
and use that information to decide where to plant or where to place a plant’s container. When it comes to watering plants there are
some general rules of thumb. Most plants are pretty delicate. A constant, hard flow of
water will damage many of them, so always use a watering wand or a watering container.
Never spray them with water straight out of the hose. Always water them at the base of
the plant. When you first plant, you should water more
frequently than plants that have been in the ground for some time. You need to keep the
soil moist until they take root. Depending on rainfall, you’ll want to water newly
planted annuals and perennials at least a couple times a week. Larger plants – including
trees and shrubs – need water every other week, but you need to water them much more
thoroughly than you would a smaller plant. You also need to water plants in containers
more frequently than those in the ground. Just make sure your containers have adequate
drainage. How much water to give them depends on the
soil type, ground temperature, air temperature, how windy it is and the type of plant. Because
so many factors can influence the amount or frequency of watering, there’s no magic
formula. You’ll have to judge your own situation. And be sure to read the care instructions
on the plants you purchase. The most common and obvious sign of trouble
with a plant is wilting. The confusing part is that while plants most often wilt from
lack of water, they can also wilt from too much water. Check the soil by digging down
a few inches and feeling it before adding water. If it is still moist, don’t add more
water. For perennials, you should use a slow-release
fertilizer once in the early Spring when they start to emerge. After that, they don’t
need any more fertilizer. Annuals and vegetables, on the other hand, need a water-soluble fertilizer
every two to three weeks during growing season. New trees and shrubs should be fertilized
with a deep-root feeder or fertilizer spikes during the Spring or Fall of their first two
seasons, but usually don’t require any fertilizer after that. The last things you may want to use are insecticides
or fungicides. Use them as needed – when you notice a change in the plant like wilting,
discolored foliage or holes in the leaves. Bring in a sample to your local Westlake Hardware
and one of our plant experts can help you decide on the proper treatment. In fact, we can answer any of your plant questions.
Just find one of us the next time you’re in the store. We’re always here to help.