How to Keep Your Planters Looking Fresh in Summer

Planters looking a little tired? Here’s how to revive them, so they look fresh until fall!


When we put together our planters each spring or early summer, we can’t help but feel excited for what’s to come: colorful blooms, lush greenery, a yard sure to create at least a bit of envy on the block. But then the hot summer heat comes around, and our plants start to look worn out, tired, and all-around lackluster. This year, as the temperatures rise, give your plants a little extra love to keep them thriving right through to the fall!

How to Keep Containers Fresh This Summer

You’ve already put so much work into your planters — picking pots suitable for your plants, planning what to grow in the shade versus the sun, prepping the soil to create an ideal place to live for your plants, and maybe even transitioning some of your tropicals outside. But your planter care doesn’t end there! Here are some tips to keep your containers looking as fresh as possible.

  1. Water regularly and properly. Avoid watering during the heat of the day; instead, try sticking to watering in the morning — and evening if necessary. Put your finger one or two inches into the soil to see if the planter requires watering. If it still feels wet, then wait until another day, but if it’s dry, give your plants a good, long drink until water runs out the drainage holes. In these warmer Iowa temperatures, you’ll have to water more often than you did during the spring. Additionally, smaller containers dry out faster than larger ones, so different planters may have different watering needs. When watering, aim for the soil, not the leaves and flowers, which can make the plant prone to disease. 
  2. Don’t forget to fertilize. Watering the soil depletes the nutrients in it, and since these nutrients aren’t replenished in containers (like what can happen in the ground), we have to add them ourselves through fertilizer. Carefully follow the instructions on the label, since over-fertilizing can be just as bad as not fertilizing at all, as it can turn leaves yellow or brown and damage roots. We recommend water soluble fertilizers from Jack’s just like we use in our own greenhouse. 
  3. Groom every couple of weeks. Cut back leggy (long and weak) stems, and pinch or cut off spent blooms, also called deadheading. It’s quite simple to do so — just cut/pinch the flower stem below the spent flower but above the first set of healthy leaves. This can encourage the plant to produce more flowers. If the plant has tons of small flowers, meaning it would take too much time to remove individual blooms, then you can shear back the plant to about one-third of its original size. While it may look a bit bare at first, new buds and blooms will appear within about a week. Also, remove any damaged or diseased leaves and stems and clean up plant debris from the soil so that any disease doesn’t spread. 
  4. Replace if necessary. Sometimes, plants just give up, and there’s no helping them. That’s okay! Simply replace it with a fresh plant, maybe even adding in late-season bloomers, like ornamental kale, aster, or mums. 
  5. Have a watchful eye. Targeting problems earlier rather than later will help keep maintenance manageable before anything gets out of hand. You may need to relocate the container to a spot with more sun, or perhaps you need to fertilize one planter more than another. You won’t know unless you observe! If you’re having any challenges with your planters that you can’t seem to overcome with the usual tactics above, then get in touch with us so we can help keep your yard lush and thriving.

We love using planters in our landscape design since they let you garden no matter the size of your yard, plus they add a lot of color and interest. If you need any tools or plants to keep your planters looking fresh, stop by Wallace’s to see what’s new. 

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