New England

May, 2007
Regional Report

Plant Flowers for Hummingbirds

Even if you put up hummingbird feeders, also plant some of their favorite flowers, such as fuchsias, salvias, columbines, nicotiana, trumpet vine, bleeding hearts, foxgloves, and others that have trumpet-shaped blooms. They are attracted to the color red but they visit flowers of other colors, too, as long as they are the right shape.

Water Deeply

To encourage good rooting of new plants in the ground, make sure you water long enough to moisten the soil around the root zone of the plant. Sprinkling a little water on plants every day can do more harm than good by encouraging the roots to stay close to the surface where they are susceptible to drying out faster. Stick your finger into the soil and if it's dry 2 inches deep, it's time to water. Apply enough water to moisten the soil a bit deeper than the root zone.

Move Bulbs

If you want to move some spring-blooming bulbs to another spot, wait until the foliage has turned yellow, then carefully dig them up and let them dry in a shady spot for a few days. Store the bulbs in a cool, dry place for the summer until it's time to plant them in fall.

Raise Up Large Planters

Use clay or metal "plant feet" underneath large containers to help with drainage and to keep pots from staining wood decks and steps. For heavy indoor plants that you summer outdoors, use plant trivets with four casters to make moving them in and out less backbreaking.

Install Plant Supports

Brace plants that tend to flop over now, while they're still small. Use wire rings and supports, or make your own by placing sturdy branches in the ground in a ring around the plant. Then loop twine from stake to stake to encircle the plant. Or you can wrap the twine around each stake and the one across from it, to make a criss-cross pattern for the plant stems to grow through. If you set the cages in place now, the foliage will soon hide them. In contrast, trying to tie up toppled plants is frustrating and usually ends up looking ridiculous.

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