Time to prune those flowers and veggies | THE COMPLEAT HOME GARDENER

If you cut back early to bloom perennials now you’ll be rewarded with a second flush of flowers.

The end of June is the time to do some summer pruning. If you cut back early to bloom perennials now you’ll be rewarded with a second flush of flowers.

Tall and spiky plants like delphiniums and foxglove can be pruned as soon as the tallest spike has faded flowers and this will allow side shoots to take over for weeks of more color. Bushy bloomers such as coreopsis and daisies can also be sheared back by one half once the flowers fade and a whole new crop of buds will appear.

In the vegetable garden use scissors to prune and harvest cut and come again leaf lettuce and you’ll see new leaves popping up to replace the old.

Q. How does one keep sweet peas in bloom? Mine had one display of flowers and now the vines are turning yellow. I see lovely sweet peas at the farmer’s markets so I know they must still be blooming. D.D., Puyallup

A. Sweet peas have one simple demand to keep them in bloom – pick the flowers. Once you allow the flowers to fade on the vine and seeds to start forming the blooming party is over and the plant goes into decline.

The best time to harvest sweet peas is in the morning when they are full of moisture. Cut the flower stem close to the main stalk and have a bucket ready to place the blooms immediately into water.

Sweet peas like cool soil so a fresh mulch of compost on top of their roots part way through the summer will also help to extend the blooming season. Share the cut flowers with by placing jars of blooms in public spaces like libraries and the post office. This random act of kindness will encourage more sweet peas to bloom in your own garden.

Q. I have a petunia hanging basket that was full of flowers when I received it for Mother’s Day. Now the branches only have flowers at the tips of the branches and the rest of the stems are rather bare. I do water and use a fertilizer and the basket gets sun. Please help. T.P., Olympia

A. Help is right at your fingertips. Petunias need to be pinched and pinched often.

All petunias bloom at the tips of branches and the more you create branching by removing the tips the more flowers you will have on bushier plants. Your leggy petunia basket may need an extreme makeover with the pruning shears. Cut back the long branches so that they are 6 to 8 inches tall.

Fertilize and stand back. New branching will begin and new blooms will follow and in a few weeks you will have a full and flowering petunia basket once again – but don’t forget to keep pinching all summer.

Q. I have planted sedums called Hens and Chicks inside an old metal lunch bucket and have received many complements about the display. Several of the individual sedums have started flowering and I have heard this means they will now die. Is there anything I can do to stop this from happening? I chose to grow sedum Hens and Chicks because I was told they were impossible to kill! I cannot enjoy the flowers knowing that the plants will now die. M., Email

A. Don’t count your dead chicks before they flower.

It is true that sedum sempervirens will fade and die after they flower but the Latin name means “lives forever” because once the mother plant or hen dies several baby chicks hatch or sprout to take her place.

Pluck out any faded hens to make room for the chicklings. These circular shaped sedums will grow in thick rosettes even if you don’t remove the blooming plants but avoid fertilizing sedums to discourage flowering.

In Europe Hens and Chicks are called “House Leaks” as they are used to fill in the cracks and patch up leaks on old tile roofs.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@rentonreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.rentonreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Life

Auburn Symphony Orchestra announces 2020-21 season

Begins with Summer Series scheduled to start June 21

Medic One Foundation’s Gratitude Meals offer support to first responders, local businesses

The initiative provides hearty lunches to first responders staffing the COVID-19 testing sites as they work to test their colleagues.

‘Don’t assume it can’t happen to you’

Federal Way resident Evelyn Allcorn shares story of her husband’s battle with COVID-19 after he tested positive on March 28.

Auburn dance studio finds creative solutions to keep going during COVID-19

Pacific Ballroom Dance moves to online classes; group returned home early from national competition

Photo by Haley Ausbun
                                Boon Boona Coffee in downtown Renton is well-known for its large cafe space, but owner Efrem Fesaha has found a creative way to keep people to to-go orders only, putting a table right at the door. The order from the Governor hasn’t been easy for small businesses in Renton, and many are just taking it day to day and hoping for financial relief from local and regional leaders.
Renton communities reach out during shut-in

Local organizations, volunteers and businesses try to make the best of quarantine

Renton and AARP team up for seniors

New fitness park to funded and will open late in the summer

Schindler’s legacy bounces along at Baden

CEO of Baden Sports died unexpectedly in February

Renton March 2020 Youth of the Month
March Rotary Youth of the Month

Rotary members recognize three Renton School District high school students each month… Continue reading

Courtesy of HLN. A screenshot from a preview of an episode of a new true crime show that highlights the Ingrid Lyne case, where a Renton mother was murdered.
Infamous Renton crime to make TV debut

It’s been over two years since a man was found guilty for… Continue reading

Photos courtesy of Linda Smith
Celebrating Black Excellence

Local organization honors Black History Month

Alyx Chamberlain, Jennifer Keil and Mario Pilapil, courtesy of Rotary Club of Renton.
Teachers of the Month for February

As part of their commitment to education, and to celebrate teachers in… Continue reading

Photo by Haley Ausbun
                                During halftime, athletes and coaches have individual meetings, while parents watch a video prepared by Highlands Community Church for whatever biblical principle teams are learning about that week at the Upward sports league.
Sports that help kids grow

Local church league gives to neighborhood