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Growing Summer Annuals

Transcript



Jerry Parsons:
I can see that all those pretty flowers certainly got your attention and that's one thing that annuals can do. Flowering annuals are one of the most beautiful landscape plants. I'm Jerry Parsons from Texas Agriculture Extension Service.

Greg Grant:
I'm Greg Grant Horticulturist for Texas Agriculture Extension Service.

Jerry Parsons:
We are out here at the San Antonio Botanical Center looking at some mighty pretty flowers. These are annuals but they are summer annuals right, so they probably won't make it this winter?

Greg Grant:
Even though these are pretty, they happen to be marigolds and can't stand the frost. It won't be long before these beds will have to be replaced and replanted. With winter color, cool season annuals. To get a big color in spring we will have to plant them in the fall.

Jerry Parsons:
That's right. A lot of people go down and buy a six-pack of marigolds or a six-pack of fall planted spring blooming annuals. Low and behold all they've got is six semi-pretty plants. But if you look at the masses of color, that's the way to really get a showstopper appearance in your landscape. You don't necessarily have to be at the botanical center to do this. I think some of the local nurseries are selling these plants and I think they are cheaper by the flat.

Greg Grant:
That's true, you can often get a flat of plants cheaper than you can buy individual six-packs and the good news about that is you get more show for your money because your not going to get that kind of show if you put a few different plants out. You'll notice the masses of color here and also mass planting with the color, the more you put in a group together, the better show you're going to get, and you'll actually save money in the process.

Jerry Parsons:
I think these pretty well show their color. Well Greg these don't look quite as good as the others we saw earlier. What do you think is the main problem? Insects or disease?

Greg Grant:
It's not insects and it's not disease. We're often called by homeowners that want to know why their annuals don't look near as good as the Extension trials or look as good as the ones at the Botanical center in the beds. If you notice there is a major difference between this bed and the beds we seen before. One is in the shade and the other is in full sun. I think you have a rule of thumb as to where to put your beds.

Jerry Parsons:
That's right, usually we tell people if you can sunbathe for 8-10 hours then your going to have trouble growing flowers. This is a petunia that we recommend as our fall plant and spring bloom. It's going to look just like this if you plant it in the shade.

Greg Grant:
That's exactly right, in fact most of the summer annuals that you see doing good in full sun are some of the same that you can grow in the fall for spring bloom and also do good in those same beds. The only exception to that rule is if you have a deciduous tree you can get by sometimes with planting annuals because you get more sun when the leaves fall off in the fall. But under evergreen trees like this live oak, you cannot grow these pretty bedding plants in the wintertime for spring bloom.

Jerry Parsons:
There's not any that we can plant in the fall for spring bloom that tolerate shade?

Greg Grant:
No, not really. You'll have to go with a permanent groundcover or some sort of perennial that stays evergreen during the winter.

Jerry Parsons:
If you have a good area to plant in, one of the main thing, people do wrong is improper bed preparation. I think we need to talk a little bit about because as you can see this bed looks like it has been worked up good but just because it's planted in the shade it's not doing well. So let's talk a little about bed preparation.

Jerry Parsons:
Greg I think most people when they see beds blooming such as this they think it just happens. We talked about some of the things that goes into success of these types of beds is planting in mass and making sure they get at least 10 hours of sun a day. But of course if you use a wide variety, and put it into the sun, you still have to make sure what the roots are growing in is its best possible thing for it. If someone is going to start a new bed what kind of mix would you recommend they use to plant?

Greg Grant:
The best way to go would be if you have a good soil, to start out with that. If you have a bad one, a heavy clay, you have to bring in a 1/3 of topsoil a 1/3 of washed sand and a 1/3 peat or shredded pine bark and mix it together.

Jerry Parsons:
We ran into some problems where people dig a pit and that's exactly what they have-a pit that will hold a lot of water. Of course we're at the Botanical Center and they've constructed a raised beds and use rocks, which make it mighty attractive. So what are some other things people can use if they don't have rocks?

Greg Grant:
You can use landscape timbers, you can use crossties -- you're pretty much open to anything, steel edging, and plastic edging. The key is that you have to get it raised up because everyone knows that most soils in Texas don't drain well and even if you have the right varieties and even if you have full sun, even if you have a good mix, if it isn't going to drain well, you're going to kill them all. So what you need to do is raise that bed higher than the ground level so it will drain good. So when you water that water will actually run the through the soil mix.

Jerry Parsons:
Will those treated timbers or crossties kill the plants, or dangerous to use?

Greg Grant:
They won't be dangerous to the plants. The greater percentage of edging available even the treated wood is not toxic to the plants. So it's basically not a problem like it used to be.

Jerry Parsons:
So we have several keys to growing these plants, if you have a good bed to grow, these plants should be ready to plant now; the ones that are planted in the fall and bloom in the spring. That bed, if constructed right will be good for the other plants in the summer.

Greg Grant:
That bed should be looked at as an investment. The more time, money and effort you put into it, the better it's going to last in the long run. Build it good now, and it will pay dividends later.

Jerry Parsons:
Since some people are building the beds and some people are renovating the beds, we'll look at an older bed and tell you exactly how to clean it up and make it grow flowering annuals a little bit better.

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