Caring for your Flowers
Cut off 1-2” of the stems at a 45-degree angle, under running water or in a bowl of water. Doing this underwater will help prevent extra air from going into the stems.
Use the packet of flower food. Since cut flowers are no longer receiving nutrients from their roots, it becomes your job to keep them fed and happy. The flower food nourishes your flowers and helps unopened buds bloom. Keep flowers out of direct sunlight.
Flowers take in more water than you might think. Check the water level daily and add as needed. In order to make your flowers soak up the most water possible continue to cut the ends of the stems. Trim them daily, when you change the water in the vase. Besides drawing water from their stems, almost all flowers benefit from a daily mist of water.
Water: Water deeply until water drips from drain holes in the bottom of the container— this will also help to leach out mineral build-up. Water daily, preferably in the morning, so the plants are prepared for the heat of the day.
Trimming: We love petunias, calibrachoa, and verbena for hanging baskets because they cover the whole basket with flowers, but their spreading habit can get out of hand over time. Frequent mini-trims and pinching will keep the plants full and flowering.
Every other week or so, simply pinch back the longer branches (taking no more than 1/3 of the foliage at a time) to tighten up the arrangement and encourage more branching and blooming.
Fertilization: Annual blooming plants are big eaters. Feeding them (I use Miracle Grow) will go a long way toward keeping them flowering and resistant to attacks from bugs. When your basket was planted, a slow-release fertilizer was added to the soil, but, by the end of May, a lot of it has been flushed out with frequent watering so be sure to fertilize them on a weekly basis.
Bugs: Insects such as aphids and white flies often visit blooming plants. If you spot these unwelcome guests among your flowers, first give the basket a good shower to knock back the population a bit, then apply an insecticide. (Note: a wellfed and well-watered basket is its own best defense against bug attacks, so careful attention to the three bullet points above will make this bullet point less necessary!)