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Southeast Gardening: Tips for Planting Annuals

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Heat-loving annuals provide nonstop summer color. Here are some tips to make planting both easy and successful.

orange flowers
blue shovel

Heat-loving annuals, like these marigolds, provide nonstop summer color. Here are a few tips to make planting both easy and successful.

All you need are plants, a trowel, gloves, slow-release fertilizer and a prepared garden bed.

Mulch to prevent plants from drying too quickly and to keep weeds to a minimum. If you plan to mulch with pine needles, it is easier to spread them before you plant. Bark nuggets can be applied after planting.

blue shovel

Use the point of your trowel to make a small clearing in the pine needles and dig a small hole. Sprinkle a few slow-release fertilizer granules into the hole and stir them into the soil. The ideal is to get them into the ground where roots will grow, but not directly beneath the transplant.

Loosen any encircling roots and set the transplant so the surface of the potting soil is even with the surface of the garden soil. Gently firm the soil around the roots. Bring the mulch up around the transplant.

Most trowels have inches marked on the blade. This really helps you give plants a consistent spacing, resulting in a blanket of color as plants mature.

Think of your trowel as a ruler. How far apart should you plant? Read the label that comes with your plants.

orange flowers, blue shovel

If you want to plant a bed of annuals and not just a row, use a staggered grid. This places the plants in the second row in the gaps between the plants in the first row. The third row would be directly behind the first, and so on. Use your trowel to measure the recommended spacing between the plants in adjacent rows.

That's all there is to it, except to water when you are finished. Now I have a question for you. I'm just curious. Do you hold your trowel so that your thumb points up or down?