Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day

Revive Fading Annuals

Edging Lobelia (Lobelia erinus)
Edging lobelia
août 10b
Sweet Alyssum

Gardeners usually expect an annual to bloom all summer… and that wish generally does come true. However, some species, such as sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima) and edging lobelia (Lobelia erinus), begin to falter in August or may even stop blooming, especially if the summer is very hot. The usual trick for stimulating new bloom on any plant – pinching out the faded blooms – doesn’t work here: these plants produce too many tiny flowers it makes individual deadheading possible. Instead, as soon as they start to bloom less, simply cut the whole plant back by half. Such a radical pruning stimulates the plant to completely regenerate and it will soon be in full bloom and as attractive as ever.

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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