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Plants need to be protected from temperatures below 40 degrees, except pansies which are hardy to 30 degrees. Your plants will need to be in the garage or inside as long as the evenings dip below this temp. Plants will need sunlight and fresh air every day and water if dry. Place them in a protected area during the day and put inside overnight (or in extreme wind and rain storms) until night time temps, 40 degrees and above, are achieved and the threat of frost is over. You could place a sheet or blanket on your plants if an unexpected very late frost is threatening.
Adequate watering is the most important aspect of caring for your hanging baskets and potted plants. Improper watering can lead to wilting/curling of the leaves, reduced flowering, or death of the plant. To determine if a hanging basket or potted plant needs water, either lift the basket to see if it is light, or place your finger in the soil to a depth of 2 inches. If it feels very moist it is adequately watered. If it feels dry it needs water. When watering, give the plant enough water so it starts to drip out the bottom of the pot, this ensures the roots receive the water also. Wind and hot temperatures are two factors that increase the need for adequate watering of your plants. Proper watering will lead to healthy and long lasting plants. Extra attention to watering is necessary on extremely windy or hot days. If you are going away for a weekend, ask a friend or neighbor to properly water your plants or place pots on the east side of the house so they only receive morning sun. Placing a hanging basket in a tub filled with water so the basket can drink from the bottom holes in the basket works well and can usually sustain this way for a couple days.
Plants grown in containers need to be fertilized. Fertilizer provides plants nutrients and gives the plants energy to maintain healthy green leaves, aids in reblooming and promotes new growth of the foliage. There are two kinds of fertilizer. The first is slow release which is a granular form sprinkled on top of the soil. Over time through the watering process, the nutrients are slowly released into the soil of your container. We add this type of fertilizer to all our hanging baskets when planting. We have done that part. The second type of fertilizer is water-soluble which is in a powder or liquid form that you mix with water and apply once every week. This step is your job and very important. Set a reminder on your calendar to do this important task weekly. Keeping your plants adequately fertilized will keep them looking beautiful all summer.
Most plants will bloom much better if the flowers are removed when the blooms have expired. You may pinch these dead flowers with your fingers or use a scissors. If plants get too long or stringy you may also use the scissors to cut them back. This would also be a good time to fertilize the plants to encourage new growth. It may take up to two weeks for the plants to bloom again.