People make trips to garden centers or nurseries when plants are in their prime, and the result is impulse buying. This simple exchange can turn into a headache for both customer, and garden center if the plant(s) fail to live. The customer returns livid and demanding answers, in which the garden center assoicate reciprocates with a shrug because they have not been trained in plant care.
Proper Watering and Fertilization
Mitchells’ Employees are trained in proper plant care, so ensuing questions which might come off as condescending but are neccesary for proper assessment will follow.
1.Did you water your plant(s)? “Of course I watered it, do I look like an idiot?”
2. Did you fertilize? “Yes!”
Pay attention to when you watered and how much. It is recommended to water twice a week in summer, provided there has not been ample rain to soak at least 1/2″.
Other recommendations include:
- Investing in rain gauges to keep tabs on rain levels.
- Ensure someone waters your plants while you are away for long periods.
- Water at least 3 times, letting the water soak into the ground between waterings, and make sure to soak thoroughly.
- Fertilize in spring with a time-release fertilizer, and again in July to get plants off to a good start.
If the plants still die despite taking corrective measures, then there is a good chance they are not intended for your zone. Educate yourself on plant tolerance and hardiness to a specific zone beforehand. Zone maps are a start, but they provide a broad overview and can be misleading as two locations in the same zone can vary greatly. For instance living near a creek, one might see frost sooner because the relative humidity is higher near water. Living close to the bottom of a mountain, one might be sheltered from cooler temperatures or winds. Elevation, natural water sources, forest cover, and other factors are detrement when making annual garden preprations.
Keeping a journal is a useful planning exercise to proper plant care. Make notations on temperatures, weather patterns, annual frosts, etc, and compare data to the generalized planting guides of the USDA. One can take this a step further, and share their findings with others and exchange information. Also be informed about pests or diseases in your area. Check your local extension office for advice on these issues. Each county in North Carolina has its own extension agent, to find your local extention go to https://www.ces.ncsu.edu/local-county-center/ .
Zone 7 is a temperate zone with generally mild summers and winters. This a pro and a con, because there are plants that will flourish and will not flourish here So familiarize yourself with your zone. Learn about the climate, and make the most of the plants that thrive in your area. Think native and you will never go wrong.