Tips from the growers at Silverstone . . .

The following is meant to be a guide only. Personal past experiences along with geographical location should be considered.

Watering Hanging Plants
Whether it is a 10" or a 12" hanging basket, watering requirements will be the same. Religiously water them once a day, applying enough so that you see a small trickle of water drain out of the bottom. This shows that you have thoroughly soaked the soil. It will now take the plant 24 hours to cycle through that watering no matter how sunny, warm or windy the conditions are. That's one of the benefits to a Silverstone basket--the soil used is high quality with excellent water holding capabilities. It is very important however, that you keep the same schedule for watering your baskets. Water in the morning or in the evening, but never water one evening and then right away again the next morning. That's not enough time for the plant to cycle through a thorough watering. Also, lift the basket just after watering it. Note how heavy it feels. When your basket goes through periods of rain, you may need to water it not by schedule, but rather by how heavy it feels. A long, soaking rain shower will usually mean a break in your watering schedule....

Watering Large Hanging Baskets and Containers
Large containers, like our 30" window box and our 16" hanging baskets, will require fewer applications of water. Actually, the same method of watering will be used as with a 10" or 12" basket, the only difference being in how often you do it. Consider the fact that a larger container has more soil volume, which means more water-holding capacity. It will take longer for the plants to cycle through a thorough watering. You'll find that a larger container will not need to be watered every day, perhaps only every other day, or in some cases every third or fourth day. Again, this is where the weight of the container will help you decide. After the initial watering, note how heavy it is; it's heavy! The next time you think you need to water, feel it...Does it really need more water? Similarly, note how heavy it is when it is dry and in need of a thorough watering. Now you have something to go by when cool, cloudy, and rainy weather affects your schedule....

Watering Plants in the Ground
Plants that are in the ground require less upkeep from you. The roots can spread and go very deep as they are not bound by container sidewalls. The most important time to keep them well watered is when they are freshly planted. They have not had the time to shoot out new roots to search for water and nutrients. Therefore, you are the parent until they make a foundation of healthy roots.
First, the soil in which you plant should have good drainage. You don't want to plant something in soggy, muck-type soil. Unless the plants are bred for that environment, they'll simply drown in too much water. A good way to monitor soil moisture is to squeeze a fistful of dirt in your hand. The dirt should somewhat stick together, but never should you see water pouring out as with wringing a wet sponge. Conversely, you don't want to plant in pure sand because there would be too much drainage. You physically couldn't keep them watered enough. Also, the soil should never appear dusty, or powdery, or so dry that cracks appear; usually, you'll see the plant wilting by then....

Watering Summary
Always remember that weather plays a significant role in how often plants need water. Over-watering does occur with some folks, but drying out is by far a more common problem. Do not allow your plants to wilt. Although they may survive, performance of that plant has been compromised. It will take time to recover from the damage. Keep in mind that rain will make a plant require less water and wind will always make a plant dry out faster. When do you get thirsty? When it's cool and damp, or when it's sunny, hot, and breezy? Exercise some common sense and you'll find that keeping your baskets and large containers watered correctly is really not that difficult. GOOD LUCK!

Fertilizing Hanging Baskets and Large Containers
Maintaining a plant's health by using fertilizer requires minimal effort. You just have to do it. Think of any product you buy, whether it is a new car or a new piece of furniture, it will inevitably require a certain amount of maintenance. Plants are no different. When you purchase a basket or container from us, it's new, healthy, and well fed. After one week at your home, the fertilizer levels within the soil start to decline. It's time to get in there and fertilize!
We like to fertilize two different ways: 1) by a water-soluble fertilizer, like the water soluble fertilizer that we stock, and 2) by way of a time-release fertilizer pellet(s), known as Osmacote. You may be wondering why two methods are needed and the reason is quite simple. Most people want to make caring for their plants as easy as possible. By using both the time-release and the water-soluble, you've got all food requirements covered for the year. The time-release is placed on the soil surface just as the label suggests, and will slowly and evenly leach nutrients into the soil every time you water. The water-soluble is then applied once per week as an additional kick of nutrition that the time-release can't provide. Think of it as an automatic dog-feeder with an occasional milk bone to help build strong teeth....

Fertilizing Plants in the Ground
The methods of fertilizing landscape plantings are similar, but not exactly the same as with containers. It's extremely beneficial to use a slow-release fertilizer because each time it rains, those fertilizer pellets do their job. Nutrients are slowly leached back into the soil and the plants use it up. In most cases, plants in the ground need few water-soluble fertilizer applications; maybe once a month....

Fertilizing Summary
All plants can survive with little or no feed. But no plant (or person, for that matter) can perform at its best without proper nutrition. If you put forth the effort, your plants will flourish and have more flower-power than you've ever seen. You'll be the envy of the whole neighborhood! You've spent your hard-earned money on our quality make your investment pay off. You can do it!!

Gardener's Color Wheel
The Gardenerís Color Wheel is designed to create exciting color combinations for the garden and understand color relationships. Click here for more information.

The Gardener's Idea Book
The Gardenerís Idea Book is a creative idea guide to help you carefully select your home and garden plants. Click here to view or download the online PDF version.