Cutting Back Tired Annuals Now

When impatiens are growing well in the summer they bloom profusely and generally look very healthy

When impatiens are growing well in the summer, they bloom profusely and generally look very healthy.

This container of impatiens looks tied. Selective pruning will help rejuvenate it for fall.

This container of impatiens looks tired. Selective pruning will help rejuvenate it for fall.

Many time when impatiens are leggy they need severe pruning like these where they will have good shape and fall bloom.

Many times when impatiens are leggy, they need severe pruning like these, so they will have a good shape and fall blooms.

This time of the year many of our plants that have bloomed well all summer look tired. If you are not going to replace them this fall, now is the time to cut them back. Annuals in containers, like the impatiens shown above, need selective pruning. I would remove about 50% of the stem back to about 3 inches above the pot line. Fertilize them well (I used liquid) and keep them watered. You should have a container full of blooms this fall. If you have plantings that have dropped most of their leaves, look anemic, and have few to no blooms, I would cut the whole plant back to 3 or 4 inches high, like the one shown above (which is already putting out new foliage), fertilize, and keep watered. This should encourage new growth and lots of blooms this fall. Good candidates for this type of grooming include lantana, petunias, zinnias, pentas, and begonias to name a few.

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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