If you are looking for a great carefree plant to use in your garden, why not try some sedum? In one word I would describe these interesting plants as "perfect." They require very little care from the gardener and when planted in small or large groupings, they look great.
Although not carried by all garden centers, sedum can be found at many local garden centers. These plants generally look best when planted in small groupings in your garden. They will take center stage during the fall season as that is when they bloom. Sedum is not all that picky as to where you plant them. The plants do prefer a well-drained soil but they will do fine even during our rainy season. They do very well in draught conditions as well. Now you know why they are the "perfect" plant.
As an added bonus, they even do well in colder temperatures. You want to try to keep these plants in an area that at least gets some direct sun, as if they are in an area with too much shade, they will tend to get very leggy. It is a good idea to prune your plants back once a year, preferably during the summer, to allow them to grow bushier. This also helps them to spread out in your garden.
Sedum requires very little maintenance and the old blooms do not have to be removed as they often do with other plant varieties.
Watering two to three a week during the summer and only about twice a week during the winter is all that is required of these plants. You may fertilize with an all-purpose, water-soluble fertilizer once every couple of months if you wish.
With the cooler weather just around the corner many of our favorite classic plants will soon be available at your local garden centers.
One of my favorite classics is the geranium. Annual geraniums are very popular for their wide range of brilliant, colorful flowers plus their foliage is also very attractive.
The types and varieties of these colorful plants vary widely from cultivars that grow 6-inches high to some that grow to be several feet tall.
Geraniums need a bright location with at least a couple of hours of direct sun in order to thrive. They need to be planted in well-drained soil otherwise they will be prone to fungus, infection and disease.
After planting your colorful treasures, you will want to water them abundantly the first few days taking care to be sure they drain between waterings. Water regularly thereafter, ensuring the plants drain and the soil dries out between watering intervals. When you water your plants, try to avoid getting water on the leaves of the plant as this can lead to possible disease problems. Do not plant geraniums where they will receive water from a sprinkler system.
Geraniums are heavy feeders and if not fertilized properly, their leaves may yellow and drop. There are several options you can use for fertilizer such as a slow- release fertilizer or a water-soluble fertilizer. The slow- release fertilizer will need less intervention on your part, as some products, such as Osmocote and Dynamite, feed for as long as six months. Water-soluble fertilizers such as Miracle Gro provide a more immediate fix, but will require more frequent feedings about every two to three weeks. The water-soluble feeding solutions are quite safe and there is little chance of burning your plants.
There are a couple of things you can do to prolong how many flowers your plants will produce. Probably the single most important solution is to pinch the spent flowers off the stems on a regular basis. This will ensure a season beautiful color. Pinching also has the advantage of helping to produce well-branched and full plants.
A good rule-of-thumb when choosing your treasures is to pick plants that not only have abundant flowers, but that have lots of tight buds. Look for dark-green foliage with not a lot of yellow leaves or yellowing at the tips of the leaves.
Joe Zelenak has 30 years experience in gardening and landscape. Send e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website www.hometowngarden.com.