How to Care for Wilted Outside Flowers

Overview

Perennial and annual flower beds add color and texture to the home landscape, as long as they are in good health. When flowers begin wilting, the beds become unkempt and unattractive. Wilt is caused by a variety of issues, including improper watering, heat and light, lack of pruning, or pests. Diagnosing the cause as soon as possible allows you to alleviate the wilt problem before it permanently damages the flowering plants.

Step 1

Check soil moisture as soon as wilt becomes evident. Dig a small 6-inch deep hole with a trowel and feel the soil in the bottom of the hole. The soil should be evenly moist, not dry or soggy. Water beds once a week, always moistening the soil to a 6-inch depth, as both under- and over-watering leads to wilt.

Step 2

Inspect the stems and undersides of leaves for insects or insect damage. Aphids, which are small soft-bodied insects that feed on the underside of leaves, are common on garden flowers. Treat the affected plants with an insecticidal soap or the correct pesticide, following label application instructions.

Step 3

Verify the light and temperature requirements for the flowers that are suffering wilt. Most flowers require six hours of sunlight, though some varieties require shade. Cool-season flowers also wilt during the heat of summer. Apply a 2-inch layer of shredded bark mulch over the bed to help keep the soil cool.

Step 4

Pinch back plants at mid-summer if they become overgrown, as this inhibits air circulation amongst the foliage and can lead to wilt. Pinch or snip off spent flowers, overgrown stems and remove dead leaves. Most flowers tolerate having up to one-third of their stems removed. Pinching and trimming encourages new, healthy growth.

Step 5

Avoid fertilizing the plants while they are suffering wilt problems, as ill or damaged plants do not tolerate heavy fertilization. Resume fertilization once the plants begin returning to health using the type and amount of fertilizer recommended for the flower varieties.

Tips and Warnings

  • If wilt is accompanied by discolored leaves or rotten, mushy plant parts, but there is no indication of insect damage, disease could be the culprit. Remove diseased plants and dispose of them so it doesn't spread to healthy plants.

Things You'll Need

  • Trowel
  • Insecticidal soap
  • Pesticides
  • Mulch
  • Shears
  • Fertilizer

References

  • University of Vermont: Midsummer Care of Ornamental Plantings
  • North Carolina University Extension: Annual Flowers
Keywords: wilted flower care, flower bed troubleshooting, growing summer flowers

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.