Brookfield, Wis. – As summer rolls into Wisconsin after a seemingly interminable wait, homeowners can finally bring real color to their yards and landscaping with annual plants, a hallmark of warm weather.
Annuals usually last through October and can provide bright, cheery color their entire growing life. The key is smart selection, proper planting and continuous tending of these flowers and other species, said Todd Ruedt, owner of Grounds Maintenance Services, Brookfield.
The timing of planting is especially critical this year, he added. Annuals could – and normally should – have been planted in mid-May. Uncooperative weather delayed this for all but the hardiest gardeners. Early to mid-June is still prime time to purchase and plant annuals. Plant selection and quality will diminish toward month’s end as sellers work through their stock.
“Selecting the right annuals is much like choosing perennials,” Ruedt explained. “The key is matching annuals to the sun, soil and moisture conditions of their planting beds. Most of this information is right on the plant labels, so it pays to read closely and plant accordingly.”
Annuals require more nutrients. Potting soil or organic matter (such as compost), combined with fertilizer, should be used to prepare planting beds for new annuals, Ruedt said. Beds should be watered at least twice a week and fertilized monthly. Annual plants flower constantly; removing dead flowers will encourage new buds.
Homeowners often plant annuals too close together. It’s a logical mistake, Ruedt noted – the plants frequently come in very small pots, giving an impression that they need little space. Most annuals should be planted at least 6 inches apart. If placed too closely, they might grow taller but bear fewer flowers.
“People will say ‘I have a 4-foot-by-4-foot area, so I need four flats of annuals. They actually probably need just one,” Ruedt said. Measuring a planting area, and doing the math on spacing plants, allows for smarter purchasing.
Not all annual plants are flowers. Some species, such as cannas and different grasses, can grow several feet in the relatively short Wisconsin summer. They grow year-round in their native warm locales.
“Planting annuals allows homeowners to display pride and creativity in their properties,” Ruedt said. “The window opens and closes relatively quickly. Each summer is a new opportunity for landscaping artistry.”
Founded in 1999, Grounds Maintenance Services offers a full range of landscaping and yard maintenance services, plus winter snow management, holiday lighting setup and in-home Christmas tree delivery. Its professional staff prides itself on helping homeowners grow their dreams, one yard at a time.
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