From the Desk of Ed Hume: Instant Color with “Color Spots”

July 9, 2012 at 9:25 PM Leave a comment

I visited a couple of local garden centers this weekend and found a wonderful collection of annuals in full bloom.  In the industry, these plants are referred to as “color spots,” because they provide instant color for any bare spots in the garden.  What I found interesting was that the price of the plants was the same as I paid earlier in the season for similar plants that were about half their size and not in bloom.  So as usual, I intended to buy only two plants and ended up with half a dozen “must have”s.  Does that ever happen to you?  Anyhow, they look great in the garden.

Over the years, I have found annuals and perennials really make the most effective display when they are planted in groups of three, five, seven, or more.  Of course, a single plant will make quite a showing in a small area too!

When selecting “color spots” I always suggest that you choose plants that are not in full bloom but still have quite a few flower buds, so you’ll get instant color but can be assured of plenty future color as well.  Check foliage color too, as you want healthy plants that have not been stressed by being pot-bound or poorly cared for.

When you get home, the first thing you want to do is soak the roots in water, pot and all.  When the air-bubbles quit coming out of the soil, you know the soil is wet enough and the plant is ready to be removed from the pot.  Next, if there is a mass of roots you want to loosen the outer ones with your fingers so that once they are in the ground they can continue to grow in the new soil.

If it is new planting soil, add a little compost, peat moss, or organic matter into the planting hole.  Spread the correct amount of planting fertilizer and water it in.

As the “color spots” grow, be certain to pinch off any dead or dying flowers as they appear.  Remember if your annuals go to seed, they will quit flowering.  Besides, dead and dying flowers are not very attractive.  If any leggy growth develops, simply pinch it off.

If you are troubled with slugs in your garden, be certain to take steps to control them before they ruin both the leaves and flowers of your newly planted “color spots.”  Likewise, weeds can rob valuable nutrients from your plants, and they look ugly and are hosts to many insects and diseases, so take steps to keep them pulled.

These new plants will benefit from a liquid feeding again next month.  Fish fertilizer or most any non-burning liquid fertilizer will help keep the plant healthy and flowering better.

For more information on your seasonal garden, check out our web site


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From the Desk of Ed Hume: Summer Garden Projects Ed’s Podcast: Summer Pruning

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