So you’ve finally finished planting your beautiful outdoor patio garden with flowers, and you have the dirt smudges and sweaty clothes to prove it. While the manual labor is over, the work of caring for your outdoor annuals has just begun.
Of course, tending to your plants’ needs is an important — and not to mention rewarding — part of outdoor gardening. To ensure that you provide the best care for your new blooms, we’ve compiled a set of tips for outdoor container gardening, courtesy of Plant Mom and the Grow-How™ Team.
In this guide, you’ll find basic care information for outdoor porch and patio gardens to help your blooms thrive, from planting and sunlight to watering and fertilization. For specific instructions for each Bloom Kit, visit Caring for Accent Bloom Kits and Caring for Combination Bloom Kits.
1. Planting Your Bloom Kits
Once your Bloom Kits arrive, it’s time to start your garden! We recommend unboxing and planting as soon as possible. Your new plant pods are most likely thirsty after their trip, so it’s important to thoroughly water them according to the instructions included.
First, remove each pod from their paper sleeve, and place the plants in a dish with half an inch of standing water until each soil ball is damp, which should take about 10–15 minutes.
Next, pot your Bloom Kits in your planters with potting soil according to the planting diagram included in the Bloom Kit box, or come up with your own unique design! Learn how to plant your Bloom Kits with help from Bloomscape’s own Plant Mom, Joyce.
Once your entire kit is planted, give each pot a deep watering so water runs out the pot’s drainage hole to help the flowers and foliage root.
2. Determining Lighting & Placement
Our Bloom Kits are recommended for two lighting conditions: full sun or full shade. Plants that thrive in full sun can tolerate six-plus hours of full sun, while plants that do well in full shade prefer six-plus hours of shade.
Plant Mom and the Grow-How™ encourage you to choose plants based on the outdoor lighting unique to your home, whether you have a sunny garden, a shaded porch, or a partially covered patio. This will make sure your plants stay healthy for the entire growing season!
In addition to following instructions for lighting, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your plants for signs of distress. If you live in a dry, hot area like Arizona, for example, you may need to move your pots to a shady spot during peak sunlight hours to avoid dry, burnt leaves. Conversely, if you live in a rainy or more tropical area, make sure your pots get a chance to dry out to avoid root rot or fungal infections.
3. Watering Your Outdoor Plants
Of course, watering instructions are unique to each plant and highly dependent on the light conditions, temperatures, and precipitation in your area. Some plants require frequent watering while others can suffer from overwatering, but generally speaking, water your plants thoroughly when the top 25 percent of the soil feels dry to the touch.
Be sure to avoid splashing water on the foliage and blooms as the additional moisture can lead to diseases and garden pests.
4. Fertilizing Your Annuals
Fertilizer is essentially a superfood for plants that can help them grow vibrant, eye-catching blossoms and foliage all season long. While fertilization is ultimately up to you, we recommend mixing the included slow-release fertilizer into the soil before planting to ensure healthy, strong plants, and supplement with a liquid water-soluble fertilizer once a month.
If you decide against the slow-release fertilizer, be sure to supplement with a liquid water-soluble fertilizer every other watering.
5. Deadheading Your Bloom Kits
While deadheading is somewhat optional for houseplants, it’s a much more important practice when tending to outdoor gardens. Annuals in particular will bloom for much longer if you regularly pinch back the flowers as it lengthens the plant’s growth cycle and encourages new growth.
To deadhead, inspect your flower pots or beds for wilting and/or browning flowers. Using a sharp, clean pruner, cut off the flower stem below the dying bloom and discard. Wipe the blade clean after each cut to mitigate the spread of infections and diseases.
Now that you have the basics down for outdoor container gardening, you are ready for spring. For specific instructions for each Bloom Kit, check out the care guides for Accent Bloom Kits and care guides for Combination Bloom Kits.
And for more gardening design inspiration, visit our Porch + Patio Plant Care blog.