The container gardening calendar for August resembles the July calendar. Be vigilant about your watering schedule as this is the month of greatest heat in the summer. Also continue to deadhead your plants, particularly the annuals to encourage continuous bloom. A schedule of feeding your plants liquid fertilizer every two weeks will keep your plants blooming into the fall.
This is the month when some of your containers are at their peak. Take lots of photos to keep in your garden journal for future reference. Be sure to label photos with relevant info such as plant species, type of container, location of container, any additional notes that may be useful if you want to recreate the design and plan future containers.
Chores for August
- Cut back leggy annuals to encourage a second bloom into autumn.
- If some annuals are beyond hope, remove them and replace them with new plantings to keep your containers fresh looking.
- There is still time to propagate your favorite plants from cuttings. Check the July calendar for more info on plant propagation.
- If you’ve started seedlings for cool vegetable plants for a fall harvest, now is the time to set them out.
Watering Your Containers While on Vacation
- If you have a container garden, keeping your plants watered while on vacation is always a worry. A neighboring gardener is always the best solution, but this is not always an option. If you don’t have such an excellent resource, here is a list of other options:
- Water plants thoroughly just before you leave for your vacation.
- Move your most vulnerable plants and containers into dense shade and cover with a clear tarp.
- Plunge smaller containers into a large tray of moist sphagnum moss or compost.
- For short periods of time, smaller pots can be placed on trays of pebbles covered with water.
- For longer vacations, place your plants on trays lined with Capillary Matting. This product time releases water to your containers and can be found in garden supply houses and nurseries. Arrange your matting so that one end is resting in a sink or or bowl that is filled with water.
- Larger pots that are difficult to move can be kept moist by using wicks made from capillary matting or towels. Push one end of the wick into the pot and leave the other end hang into a bucket filled with water.
- For expensive and rare collections of plants, it is well worth investing in an irrigation system for containers. You can find a wide variety on the web by doing a Google search for “pot irrigation systems”.
- It’s not too early to start collecting seeds of your favorite plants. Below is an easy method for collecting seeds:
- Let some of your plants develop seed heads.
- When seeds are ripe and dry, snip off entire seed heads and place them upside down in a paper bag.
- Close the bag and shake gently to remove the seeds from the plant head.
- Spread the seeds on a tray and remove any leaves or debris.
- Pour the seeds into glass jars or other airtight containers. Label the jars with the plant species and year and store them in a cool dark place until spring. If you have a spare refrigerator in the garage, this is a perfect place to keep your seeds.
If you live in the cooler north, start thinking about bringing your houseplants indoors at the end of the month. Shape and pinch back the houseplants and check them for insects before bringing them indoors. Be sure to reverse the hardening off process to help acclimate your plants to their new winter environment.
The way to acclimate your house plants back to a home environment and protect them from frost is to bring them indoors in the latter part of the day and bring them back outside in the morning.
Each day extend the period that they are in the house and do this for about a week. Bringing your house plants inside by using this method will greatly increase the chance for your plants to make a successful adjustment without any setbacks to their growth.