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Old 10-05-2013, 10:03 AM
 
3,475 posts, read 4,228,495 times
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I'm trying to sell my house and have lots of petunias, mums, and pentas. I got them on sale because they were losing their blooms. I know with some TLC they will flower again. I live in the desert, so it will be a while before it gets really cold. All the plants are either still in 5 inch pots and not root bound or in color bowls.

Here's my plan:

Keep the pots/bowls that are not blooming in the warmest, sunniest area of my yard. This happens to be a side yard out of the way. Prune them and they should bloom again in about two weeks, right?

Rotate the pots/bowls when they start blooming with the ones in the front yard that are no longer producing blooms.

We don't get low temps in the 30's until December. I was thinking, at that time, a small greenhouse would extend some of the blooms.

Am I off base here? Hopefully, my house will sell before long, but just in case.
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Old 10-05-2013, 10:33 AM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,361 posts, read 40,397,984 times
Reputation: 46650
I have absolutely no experience with the desert but I have lots of experience with flowers. If it was possible to have year round blooms on plants the nursery business would be in deep doo doo. Plants have a set flowering schedule and intensity of light as well as temp determine these cycles.

I think 2 weeks reblooming time is a bit optimistic. I cut back lots of flowers mid summer but it takes about a month for them to rebloom-if at all.
Instead of investing in a small greenhouse why don't you just buy new plants? Sounds like you don't have too much invested and new plants better suited for the next season will soon be available.

Personally I would buy colorful perennials and plant them instead of playing games with rotating flowers. And keeping them in 5 inch pots will not give robust growth.
In this housing market do you think your house will sell and close in only a few weeks/ From what I hear it is taking much longer.
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Old 10-05-2013, 11:20 AM
 
3,475 posts, read 4,228,495 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by no kudzu View Post
I have absolutely no experience with the desert but I have lots of experience with flowers. If it was possible to have year round blooms on plants the nursery business would be in deep doo doo. Plants have a set flowering schedule and intensity of light as well as temp determine these cycles.

I think 2 weeks reblooming time is a bit optimistic. I cut back lots of flowers mid summer but it takes about a month for them to rebloom-if at all.
Instead of investing in a small greenhouse why don't you just buy new plants? Sounds like you don't have too much invested and new plants better suited for the next season will soon be available.

Personally I would buy colorful perennials and plant them instead of playing games with rotating flowers. And keeping them in 5 inch pots will not give robust growth.
In this housing market do you think your house will sell and close in only a few weeks/ From what I hear it is taking much longer.
I thought the cold season didn't offer any color? What would you suggest for perennials as it gets colder? We will be in the 70's and 80's through October.

Until two months ago, houses were selling in one day. Of course, I missed that boat. I have no idea what's in store. I don't have to sell fast, but the sooner the better.
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Old 10-05-2013, 12:03 PM
 
Location: middle tennessee
1,782 posts, read 778,690 times
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I am in Tennessee. October is hot and dry. I would plant the 5" plants together in a larger container/bucket with some potting soil and water them with a fertilizer for blooming plants. You might only have one or two big good looking pots instead of several small scraggley ones.

I would use the same fertilizer on the plants in bowls as long as the bowls have good drainage.

Don't cut the whole plant back. Cut the stems with spent blooms down to a two leaf juncture.

I do this with my annuals to get a last burst of bloom.

Watch the sun. Its really hotter here right now than it was earlier in the year. I have to cover some of my plants with a sheet for a few hours in the afternoon (because I am too old to move them around like I used to )

Make sure everything is draining well.

Good luck!
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Old 10-05-2013, 12:37 PM
 
3,475 posts, read 4,228,495 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boogie'smom View Post
I am in Tennessee. October is hot and dry. I would plant the 5" plants together in a larger container/bucket with some potting soil and water them with a fertilizer for blooming plants. You might only have one or two big good looking pots instead of several small scraggley ones.

I would use the same fertilizer on the plants in bowls as long as the bowls have good drainage.
I'll try that.

Quote:
Don't cut the whole plant back. Cut the stems with spent blooms down to a two leaf juncture.

I do this with my annuals to get a last burst of bloom.
As an experiment, I cut back one of the petunia bowls and one of the 5" mum containers just to see what happens. I'll find out 2 to 4 weeks from now. Basically, though, I am cutting back the spent blooms. I didn't know about the two leaf juncture; I'll try that.

Quote:
Watch the sun. Its really hotter here right now than it was earlier in the year. I have to cover some of my plants with a sheet for a few hours in the afternoon (because I am too old to move them around like I used to )
It's really nice here now. I just have to make sure they are getting 6+ hours a day.

Quote:
Make sure everything is draining well.

Good luck!
Thanks!
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Old 10-05-2013, 12:50 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,361 posts, read 40,397,984 times
Reputation: 46650
Dead heading (cutting off spent blooms) will always encourage more blooms and make a plant more attractive. I agree with the idea of putting them together rather than several 5 inch plants placed about. One focal point to draw the eye is way more attractive than plants (young) spread about. Now if you were going to be there for awhile I would definitely plant them out and let them grow to maturity.
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Old 10-05-2013, 09:00 PM
 
2,063 posts, read 6,085,793 times
Reputation: 2690
Quote:
Originally Posted by Everdeen View Post
I'm trying to sell my house and have lots of petunias, mums, and pentas. I got them on sale because they were losing their blooms. I know with some TLC they will flower again. I live in the desert, so it will be a while before it gets really cold. All the plants are either still in 5 inch pots and not root bound or in color bowls.

Here's my plan:

Keep the pots/bowls that are not blooming in the warmest, sunniest area of my yard. This happens to be a side yard out of the way. Prune them and they should bloom again in about two weeks, right?

Rotate the pots/bowls when they start blooming with the ones in the front yard that are no longer producing blooms.

We don't get low temps in the 30's until December. I was thinking, at that time, a small greenhouse would extend some of the blooms.

Am I off base here? Hopefully, my house will sell before long, but just in case.
Yes you are off base, for various reasons related to answers already given by someone with long experience in growing plants and plant design. You may want to rethink the plan and lesarn about the plants you picked. I'll add to it in a moment...

You also may want to rethink the whole plan just on aesthetics alone. Just think about all those flowerless pots mounded up and on display to a potential homeowner looking in the side yard, or a greenhouse that either looks junky and/or temporary or, if you buy an expensive more permanent structure, like another maintenance headache they may not want to have. Why give someone a reason to not like your home?

Quote:
Originally Posted by no kudzu View Post
I have absolutely no experience with the desert but I have lots of experience with flowers. If it was possible to have year round blooms on plants the nursery business would be in deep doo doo. Plants have a set flowering schedule and intensity of light as well as temp determine these cycles.

I think 2 weeks reblooming time is a bit optimistic. I cut back lots of flowers mid summer but it takes about a month for them to rebloom-if at all.
Instead of investing in a small greenhouse why don't you just buy new plants? Sounds like you don't have too much invested and new plants better suited for the next season will soon be available.

Personally I would buy colorful perennials and plant them instead of playing games with rotating flowers. And keeping them in 5 inch pots will not give robust growth.
In this housing market do you think your house will sell and close in only a few weeks/ From what I hear it is taking much longer.
All valid reasons, especially an overoptimistic reblooming period!! The color bowls are usually shallow and 5 inch pots are meant as a temporary place. Unlike larger containers and ground planting they are begging for drying out in a desert condition. Depending on the altitude of the desert (Arizona is usually divided into zones for planting based on altitude) it may be worse than that experienced by those living in more humid warm climates because they will dry fast in the daytime and the roots will stop growing because they have been chilled overnight. USDA zones alone have very little meaning if you don't take other factors like the quality of late year sunlight and this dryness into account, as well as the large teperature swings that happen in desert country. See the following to get a good explanation for where you live: ARIZONA PLANT CLIMATE ZONES

Quote:
Originally Posted by Everdeen View Post
I thought the cold season didn't offer any color? What would you suggest for perennials as it gets colder? We will be in the 70's and 80's through October.

Until two months ago, houses were selling in one day. Of course, I missed that boat. I have no idea what's in store. I don't have to sell fast, but the sooner the better.
It isn't just the temperature that will make a difference and deadheading plants does not extend them past their normal bloom season. You can't fool Mother Nature for long.

Quote:
Originally Posted by boogie'smom View Post
I am in Tennessee. October is hot and dry. I would plant the 5" plants together in a larger container/bucket with some potting soil and water them with a fertilizer for blooming plants. You might only have one or two big good looking pots instead of several small scraggley ones.

I would use the same fertilizer on the plants in bowls as long as the bowls have good drainage.

Don't cut the whole plant back. Cut the stems with spent blooms down to a two leaf juncture.

I do this with my annuals to get a last burst of bloom.

Watch the sun. Its really hotter here right now than it was earlier in the year. I have to cover some of my plants with a sheet for a few hours in the afternoon (because I am too old to move them around like I used to )

Make sure everything is draining well.

Good luck!
Good advice for annuals, especiall with ones that thrive in the cooler months (aka cool weather annuals) that can survive some evening chills and don't need strong summer sun. I've never heard that the sun is stronger in the fall.

Quote:
Originally Posted by no kudzu View Post
Dead heading (cutting off spent blooms) will always encourage more blooms and make a plant more attractive. I agree with the idea of putting them together rather than several 5 inch plants placed about. One focal point to draw the eye is way more attractive than plants (young) spread about. Now if you were going to be there for awhile I would definitely plant them out and let them grow to maturity.
Again good advice for making plants work; making a statement by being in a easy to see group!!

Everdeen, you asked about 3 plants specifically. The petunias will make slow comeback if trimmed a little (there is a whole "thirds" technique usually recommended but I think a simple light haircut will suffice) BUT more importantly they cannot be allowed to dry out and wilt as that will set back the bloom formation immediately. They would do better- as has been recommended- in larger containers and with some fertilizer. Some will revive nicely as the weather cools but other varieties seem to poop out as summer fades.

The chrysanthemums bloom at a certain point in the year, and nursery stock especially have been forced to bloom for the selling period. They cannot be forced to continue past that time no matter how they are cut back. At best they may put out a few blooms after the main flush if you baby them, feed them fairly heavily and protect them from drying. If they completely finished blooming at the nursery, with no visible buds, it is very likely they will no longer put out fresh blooms since generally they do everything possible to prolong blooming to sell them.

Pentas generally are warm season plants that will bloom up to frosts if they are planted in the ground or in a larger container. These will be the most likely of the three to bloom again but not in the 2 week turnaround you envision unless there are already buds forming. If you stick the cut off stems in the ground they may still root and grow, and quite possibly bloom a little, especially if your nights don't get extremely cold. Once you have some freezes/frosts they will probably stop blooming.


You asked for suggestions. Since you want color and anticipate having warmish weather for a while why not buy some cool season plants that will put out blooms in cooler weather and tolerate overnight chills? Your choice of perennials is probably too expensive for what your plan indicates but there are several annuals that will probably do well. Snapdragons really take off in cool weather, and many people plant pansies in the fall and they will grow in the still warm fall air and stay in bloom (unless really desiccated and frozen) in winter. Both are pretty hands off, requiring some watering and fertilizer initially but otherwise not needing deadheading. Annual salvia will also thrive in cooling conditions and can add a real pop, especially when planted with yellow and white snapdragons for contrast. Making a few large containers up filled with these annuals will be quite pretty and not require all that lugging and exchanging of small pots from a side yard.

Good luck in selling your home!
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Old 10-06-2013, 08:10 AM
 
6,885 posts, read 10,082,984 times
Reputation: 13153
Quote:
Originally Posted by no kudzu View Post
I have absolutely no experience with the desert but I have lots of experience with flowers. If it was possible to have year round blooms on plants the nursery business would be in deep doo doo. Plants have a set flowering schedule and intensity of light as well as temp determine these cycles.

I think 2 weeks reblooming time is a bit optimistic. I cut back lots of flowers mid summer but it takes about a month for them to rebloom-if at all.
Instead of investing in a small greenhouse why don't you just buy new plants? Sounds like you don't have too much invested and new plants better suited for the next season will soon be available.

Personally I would buy colorful perennials and plant them instead of playing games with rotating flowers. And keeping them in 5 inch pots will not give robust growth.
In this housing market do you think your house will sell and close in only a few weeks/ From what I hear it is taking much longer.
Great advice here! Simple logic prevails.
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Old 10-06-2013, 08:44 AM
 
Location: middle tennessee
1,782 posts, read 778,690 times
Reputation: 6378
The sun on my deck is not "stronger in the fall". It hits my particular deck for longer hours in the late summer/fall. Early in the season, I don't have direct sun until noon after the trees leaf out. Learning seasonal sun times for your planting area is part of being a successful gardener, and often, in my experience, takes a season or two to achieve in a new place. Or for new gardeners.

I bring my potted "annuals" in before frost and they bloom all winter with care. Many plants that we grow as annuals are really tender perennials.

I gave my advice based on what I perceived as the OP's need: Make things look good as soon as possible.

Good luck. The suggestion to cut spent blooms to a two leaf juncture was twofold. You might get a flush of new growth. You will for sure avoid ending up with a pot full of little sticks.
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Old 10-06-2013, 01:05 PM
 
Location: CO
2,458 posts, read 2,346,865 times
Reputation: 5144
I agree with many of the above posters. Several 5" pots would not impress me at all as a first glance at your house. Why not a seasonal display on your front porch which would be more welcoming? A couple of pumpkins and a container of ornamental grass with nice plumes would convey a sense of "home" with minimal fuss.
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