27 June 2014

Maintaining Your Container Plants - A Mid-Season Grooming

Here in the South, our summer is in full swing. My containers of blooming annuals have been happily growing since early April, and they've been performing beautifully.

That is until today.

This morning I woke to sad, bottom heavy containers that were starving and begging for attention.

Full blooms on the bottom and dead leaves in the center. It's the telltale sign that your plant is in need of its mid-season grooming.

It's almost as if it happens overnight. But don't take that as a sign it's time to dump that container for new. All this plant needs is a gentle clipping to get it back in shape for the remainder of the summer.

Just like your hair, your container plants will become overgrown and bottom-heavy. The trick for them is to clip back those leaf-bare leggy stems from the interior of the plant and work your way out. Think of it as a tier system. You want short stems in the center of the pot, medium lengths on the sides, and then leave as many trailing stems as suits your fancy. Doing this will return the plant's shape to a round and fuller look just as it was when you brought it home.

Can you see how much better it already looks? It's bushier and fuller almost immediately. And after you give it a good drink of water and some soluble fertilizer, the clipped stems will multiply into a full, lush plant in a matter of a couple of weeks.

Container plants require a minimum amount of attention during their growing season. But being bound in a pot causes them to become leggy as they try to branch out into the world. A simple grooming session in the middle of its growing season will keep your plant looking as good (if not better) than the day you purchased it. And doing so will keep them lovely throughout the remainder of the summer days.



  1. I need to do this exact task today. Thanks for the reminder. It's amazing how quickly the plant will start to look full and pretty again.

  2. Perfect timing! I was just looking at my container plants and how sad they look. Will be giving them a trim this weekend!!

  3. I will be using these tips this weekend! Thanks!

  4. Jane@Cottage at the CrossroadsJune 28, 2014 at 5:42 PM

    Hi Sarah, thanks so much for this reminder to do some container plant grooming! I liked your analogy to giving them a haircut!

  5. I will have to do this my poor Fushia is screaming "help me!"


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