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Tips on summertime planting

I get a lot of questions about planting in the summertime. Actually, you can plant at any time of the year, as long as the ground isn’t frozen, even during the middle of an Upstate summer.

If you’re planting in the summer, I suggest doing it in the early morning or later in the evening when it’s cooler. That is easier on both you and the plants.

At this time of year, you must water daily and treat plants like a baby with extra care. If you planted your flora correctly in the ground, there should be little chance of overwatering it — unless it is one that likes to be drier like lavender, succulents or rosemary.

With plants in a shady area, you might be able to get by with watering every other day. And remember that amending your soil is a huge part of planting anything.

Overwatering and underwatering
An underwatered plant is certainly easier to revive than an overwatered one. Adding water and fertilizer to a dry plant will always help. It may lose some foliage and growth, but it will come back.

An overwatered plant most likely has rotted roots. In this case, you must dissect the plant to get rid of all the rot. These symptoms take longer to show, so more damage has been done by the time you notice something is wrong.

Container plants
If your plants are in containers, they can easily be planted any time of the year. Always make sure you have a drain hole. Check this hole twice a year to make sure it is not clogged by turning the container on its side. You can also set the container on pot feet, then you are assured of good drainage.

If you use the right type of plants, like water-loving or even pond plants, you do not have to have a drainage hole. Some people like water pots as an unusual eye-catcher. Having water lilies, unusual varieties of iris, ruellia or even milkweed on your porch or beside your walkway is very outstanding. Using gambusia (fish) in them will keep mosquitos out, or just use a chemical.

The most optimal planting season
The most optimal time of the year to plant is in the fall. Then why do most of us want to plant in the spring?

Spring planting is both physical and psychological. Planting in the spring brings us joy after a long cold and dreary winter. We see instant results. It Is also the rainy season, which means less watering and ground that usually is easier to dig in.

Planting in the fall means that you may plant something that looks dead when you buy it or like it is dying soon after you plant it. Will it really come back next spring? Yes. It is easier on the plant at this time of year because it can work on establishing its root system during the winter before exploding with growth in the next season.

About the Author

Tina Clark is the owner and president of Carolina Garden World in Spartanburg, SC. A native of Erie, Pennsylvania, Tina came to Upstate South Carolina in a job move then found her way to Spartanburg Community College where she completed a degree in horticulture. A frequent presenter at area civic organizations, garden clubs and schools, Tina is sustainability certified and organizes a free Sustainability Day event for the community at Carolina Garden World each year in celebration of Earth Day.

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