Annuals provide color all season long and can be planted in the sun or shade. It may sound easy to plant annuals, but here’s a few tips that can help you get a lot more flowers and a lot more growth during the summer months.

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Tips for Colorful, Big, Bushy Annuals

Annuals are one of the best parts of summer. They provide color all season long. They can go just about anywhere – from the sun to the shade. Now it may sound pretty simple to know how to plant an annual, but with a few tricks, you may be able to get a lot more flowers and a lot more growth out of your annuals during the summer months.

I’ve already worked this up, but it’s always good in our Kansas soils that are so heavy with clay to add some organic matter. Use some rich compost, or some peat moss – those type of products. Add a two to four inch layer and spade that into the soil. That’s going to loosen or aerate the soil and provide a little bit of nutrient to the plants.

You’ll want to look for a good healthy plant with good color. A lot of times we don’t want to buy when they’re in flower, because sometimes that means that they’re overgrown and they may be root bound. When we take them out of the cell pack, we’ll want to look at the root system. If the roots are really grown together, we’ll want to tease those roots apart. What that does is allow the roots to start growing out to the soil instead of just spiraling around the cell pack. Now here again, this may sound a little cruel, but we’re just going to take our fingers, and we’re going to slightly pull those roots apart. What that’s going to do is to stimulate these roots to grow out into the potting mix or into the ground instead of just continually growing around and around.

Next, dig a hole, and plant them at the same depth they were growing at in at the garden center. We’re going to firm the soil around it. Then it’s hard to do, but go ahead and pick the flower off, because that will push more side shoots and more growth for a bushier plant which will result in a fuller plant and more flowers.

Once planted in the garden, all we have to do is water these in to settle the soil and get rid of air pockets. Fertilize on a regular basis throughout the summer, and we’re all set for a great summer of color in the garden.This feature story prepared with Dennis Patton, Kansas State University Research and Extension Horticulture Agent, Johnson County. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at

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