Outdoor plants require certain elements to produce healthy foliage and flowers. Brown leaves, wilting stems and failure to flower result from a number of issues completely under the control the gardener. Each plant has specific light requirements as well as watering and fertilizing needs. Certain plants require pruning while others can grow happily unattended for many years. Plant care tips include knowing the exact needs of each plant and following grower recommendations to the letter.
Matching light requirements is the single most effective way to keep a plant happy. Tailor plant choices to exact sunlight conditions to increase the chance for success with the plant. Also recognize that sunlight conditions change throughout the year and may be altered over time by trees and the addition of structures to the property. Plants that require full sun need at least six hours of direct sun each day while partial sun plants require four to six hours of light each day. Part shade plants differ greatly from sun loving plants by requiring just two to four hours of sun each day. Partial sun and shade occurs as direct light or as filtered light through tree canopies. Shade plants adapt to low light conditions since this area rarely experiences direct sunlight. Shady gardens may experience light sun through tree branches or reflected light from house siding or patio surfaces. Deep shade areas experience no direct or dappled light at all and create a difficult growing situation for most plants.
Soil forms the stable base for a plant. Healthy soil dictates the health of a plant. Garden soil should be rich in organic matter such as compost or peat to promote healthy root growth. Soil serves as food for the plant and contains nutrients to enrich the roots. Cultivate garden surfaces to a depth of 6 to 8 inches to stir up the soil and stir in amendment to properly distribute the nutrients throughout the garden. Replace potting soils in container gardens yearly since this product breaks down quickly and loses its nutrient base over time. Good soil also limits the need for frequent fertilization.
Investigate the individual needs of each plant and water according to the plant's particular requirements. Each plant differs so it's best to group plants based on watering needs. Don't sprinkle water to wet the leaves of your perennial and annual plants. Aim the hose at the base of each plant around the main stem or trunk. Soil absorbs a gentle trickle of water much better than a spray of droplets. Soaker hoses can be wound between plants to effectively water plants deeply.
Deadheading spent blooms from flowering perennials and annuals will benefit the plant with increased blooms during the growing season. Trim off dying foliage as soon as possible to regenerate leaves. Always use sharp pruning shears to make angled cuts on stems and branches. Most perennial bloomers require pruning right after the end of flower production. Give perennials a trim to tidy up dead blooms and leave the plant alone until the following spring. A quick haircut of dead foliage allows new growth access to sunlight.