Just as in cooking, the proper ingredients are critical for great-looking garedens. Whether you are planting a lanscape or filling a pot, these ingredients remain the same.

Great plants are the key component. Choose plants with healthy roots—ones not bound, yellowing or growing through drain holes. Bound roots restrict a plant’s long-term health, while yellow roots indicate age. Look for white roots with tiny hair follicles, which indicate the plant has received proper watering and not been stressed.

A successful recipe also requires appropriate tools—in this case, good containers. In the landscape, the container is the ground. Loosen soil and mix with perlite to aerate it, helping retain water and allow good root growth. For aboveground plantings, select a container that drains well and does not dry out quickly.

Great cooks often rely on a secret ingredient. In a flourishing garden, that’s fertilizer. Many plants need that extra element, especially petunias. Fertilize aboveground containers twice a week. Fertilize landscape plantings one to two times per week, watering as needed.

Reprinted by permission from Floral Retailing magazine.

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