Clip and Snip Annuals Now

By pinching off all the spent blooms and the little stems(sepals) of flowers that have dropped you can ensure a great fall bloom

By pinching off all the spent blooms and the little stems (sepals) of flowers that have dropped, you can ensure a great fall bloom.

Once marigolds finish blooming be sure to remove the dead pods to encourage fall blooms blooms

Once marigolds finish blooming, be sure to remove the dead pods to encourage fall blooms.

Now that we are approaching the end of August, it is time to look toward a fresh set of blooms for the fall garden. Refreshing many of your annuals now will make sure they have a great fall display. Pinching the old blooms of petunias off the plants you planted this spring, and in some cases pruning off long shoots will encourage a good fall bloom until frost. Marigolds that are looking rough really respond to removing all the old flower heads and will reward you with a new crop of flowers for the fall. Other annuals like Madagascar periwinkle (commonly call vinca) benefit from having any seed pods that have developed removed, and geraniums need all spent flowers and stems removed. Also, I break off awkward branches and shape them, and this will also encourage new growth. Zinnias like to have their spent flowers cut back to at least right above the first set of leaves behind the flower head.
But if you decide that you want to cut your angelonia back, don’t. Every time I have done this, they seem to stop flowering. Also, whether you shape and pinch or not, all your annuals could benefit from a light application of fertilizer or bloom booster.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

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