Blooming Potted Plant Care

Overview

Flowering plants add color and interest to both indoor and outdoor areas. You can grow annual blooming plants such as zinnias, marigolds, petunias and many more outdoors in the summer. Some flowering plants, such as African violets, are popular as houseplants year-round. Others, such as hydrangea, azalea, chrysanthemum and other perennials, work well when you place their pots outdoors in summer and bring them inside when temperatures drop in the fall. You'll have success with all blooming potted plants if you give them some simple, common care.

Step 1

Plant your flowering plant or plants in pots that have at least one drainage hole using a standard potting soil. Choose pots that are slightly larger than the nursery pot in which you purchased your plant.

Step 2

Place your newly potted flowering plant on a plant saucer in a location that will provide it with the amount of light it requires. For example, African violets need bright light but no direct sun, while zinnias and marigolds thrive in full sun and do best when you grow them outdoors in the summer.

Step 3

Water newly planted flowering plants until water comes out the pot's drainage hole. Most potted flowering plants need water about once each week after you plant them and most also like their soil to dry out slightly between waterings. Check outdoor plants frequently during hot weather and water them when the soil feels dry to the touch.

Step 4

Fertilize your blooming potted plant for the first time about one month after you pot it. Use a balanced plant food, such as one having an N-P-K ratio of 10-10-10, and follow label instructions for diluting and applying it. Continue fertilizing perennials until late summer and then stop fertilizing until early spring. Annuals will die back in fall, so you needn't fertilize them after July or August.

Step 5

Force blooming by fertilizing your potted flowering plants with a low-nitrogen plant food, sometimes marketed as a "blossom booster" fertilizer. Begin using this type of fertilizer when you first notice flower buds starting to form and continue every other week until midsummer.

Step 6

Control any insect pests with natural products, such as insecticidal soap, which is effective against aphids, spider mites, mealybugs and some scale insects. Hang yellow sticky traps to control white flies and other flying insects. For outdoor plants in areas where slugs and snails live, scatter iron phosphate granules on the soil of your pots.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid leaving plants in a puddle in their saucer for longer than one day.

Things You'll Need

  • Sunny or partly sunny location
  • Decorative pot(s) with drainage hole(s)
  • Plant saucer(s)
  • Potting soil
  • Fertilizer

References

  • University of Missouri: Care of Flowering Potted Plants
Keywords: potted plants, flowering houseplants, blooming annuals perennials

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, GardenGuides and eHow. She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.