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Buying and Care Tips for Outdoor Plants

These first 2 tips came to mind when I was buying 4 new outdoor deck plants this past week at Lowe's. First of all, at least at the Lowe's I visited, all of their hanging basket flowers were badly wilted and turning brown. I'll have to say, that was a first. All of their plants usually look amazing. I'm not sure if it's because of all the local rainfall, and maybe they haven't been watering them regularly, and that was why they looked so shabby. Because typically, someone would be watering the flowers at about the time we arrived; always have been in the past, and no one was doing that on the day we visited earlier this week. Or maybe they've let Mother Nature overwater them. I don't know.

Regardless of the reason, I passed on buying hanging basket flowers. I'm the type of person who really needs to start with healthy flowers. Therefore, I brought home 4 in regular pots, because they all looked healthy. So, my first tip is to pay attention to the blooms and stems before purchasing your plants. You can always buy hanging chains like the ones shown below this post if you want hanging flowers, but the healthier looking ones aren't in hanging baskets. ; ) You'll also need a way to punch or drill 3 holes in the plastic flower pot(s) if you go this route.

Next, our deck is in direct sunlight from the time the sun rises until at least 2:00 in the afternoon this time of the year, which means I need flowers that can manage being in direct sunlight for at least 6 hours each day. So, my second tip is to look at the flowers that are in direct sunlight when purchasing plants for a mostly sunny spot; plants that do better in a mostly shady spot will be in the shaded sections of the store or greenhouse. They've simplified the science for us. 

We're still expecting abundant rainfall in my area over the next several days (at least as far as I can see the forecast). So, my third tip is to find a dryer place you can place the plants in case a lot of rainfall is expected. Since I'm at home most of the time, I can run out rather quickly if I see rain is on the way. I just place them beside the house, under the soffit/eave. Then I place the heavy deck chairs in front of them to protect them from driving rain, small hail, or high/gusty winds. If anything worse is expected, I can put them in the garage. Once the storm is over, I can put them back in their respective locations on the deck. If any rain or storms are expected overnight, I go ahead and place them in their safe location before bedtime. I prefer to do a controlled watering (by me) once a day. Mother Nature isn't always a reliable helper.

My fourth tip is to make sure that you clip the dead blooms regularly (2 or 3 times a week) to force new blooms. 

My fifth tip is to feed them about once a month when watering. Instructions will be provided on the packaging. I personally use Miracle Gro All Purpose plant food for all of my outdoor plants. It does an amazing job. I bought a 5.5 pound container last year, and it's going to last me for several years since I don't have very many outdoor plants to feed only 4 or 5 times this growing season. You won't get much more growth out of the spring and summer plants past September anyway. 

See my new beauties and the hanging basket chains below. I like hanging petunias, so they got the hanging chains. Gerberas and petunias do very well if the temps dip into the 40s overnight. Plus, I like the price and color choices.

outdoor plant care tipsoutdoor plant care tips
            pink and red gerbera daisies                pink, red, and yellow gerbera daisies

outdoor plant buying tipsoutdoor plant buying tips
                   purple petunias                                      yellow bees knees petunias

Hanging plant chains
adjustable hanging basket chains image courtesy of  Heybe via Amazon


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