The Botanical Brothers

Plant Care Tips

Landscape Watering Basics

October 9, 2020

The first month after your new landscape is installed is the most critical time to ensure the roots of the plants stay hydrated.  This requires deep, infrequent watering to help your plants grow healthy, extensive roots that can withstand drought stress in the years to come. 

If we installed a drip irrigation system as part of your landscape install, congratulations, we've taken the guess work out watering for you!  Our smart watering system has been configured to provide adequate water moving forward based on a variety of factors such as weekly expected rainfall accumulation, the heat index, and daily evaporation rates.

If we didn't install a smart water system, then you should ensure that for the first 3-4 weeks you water your plants 4-5 times per week, preferably in the morning hours (6am-10am).  Ensure that you are saturating the ground around the root of the plants.  Allow the water to soak into the ground, then water again until the soil is thoroughly moistened. 

Weeks 1-2

Spring through Fall - water your plants daily ensuring the soil is thoroughly moistened.

Weeks 2-4

Srping through Fall - water your plants every other day depending on local weather conditions.  If the first inch or two of soil is dry, it's time to water.

Weeks 4 through the First Year

Water your plants 2-3 times per week ensuring the soil is thoroughly moistened.  During the hottest months in Charleston (July-September), you may need to increase this to daily or every other day depending on the temperature (90+).

Fertilizing Basics

October 9, 2020

Plants need to be fertilized because most soil does not provide the essential nutrients required for optimum growth. Even if you are lucky enough to start with great garden soil, as your plants grow, they absorb nutrients and leave the soil less fertile. Remember those tasty tomatoes and beautiful roses you grew last year? It took nutrients from the soil to build those plant tissues. By fertilizing your garden, you replenish lost nutrients and ensure that this year's plants have the food they need to flourish.

There are six primary nutrients that plants require in fairly large quantities.

  1. Carbon from CO2 in the air
  2. Hydrogen from water
  3. Oxygen from water and air
  4. Nitrogen helps plants make the proteins they need to produce new tissues. In nature, nitrogen is often in short supply so plants have evolved to take up as much nitrogen as possible, even if it means not taking up other necessary elements. If too much nitrogen is available, the plant may grow abundant foliage but not produce fruit or flowers. Growth may actually be stunted because the plant isn't absorbing enough of the other elements it needs.
  5. Phosphorus stimulates root growth, helps the plant set buds and flowers, improves vitality and increases seed size. It does this by helping transfer energy from one part of the plant to another. To absorb phosphorus, most plants require a soil pH of 6.5 to 6.8. Organic matter and the activity of soil organisms also increase the availability of phosphorus.
  6. Potassium improves overall vigor of the plant. It helps the plants make carbohydrates and provides disease resistance. It also helps regulate metabolic activities.

We use and recommend Espoma Bio-tone fertilizer for most landscapes.  There are several types (with links to purchase below) depending on the type of plants you have. 

Spring through Fall Fertilizing

After the last risk of frost from winter / beginning of spring, measure 1/3 cup of fertilizer and sprinkle around the plant at least 8-12 inches from the base.   Then every 3 months add additional fertilizer.  Don't add additional fertilizer after the end of September or first of October as this will encourage new growth that will be susceptible to colder temperatures.

For acid loving plants (camellias, azaleas, gardenias) we recommend Espoma Bio-Tone holly-tone fertilizer.

For general fertilization needs (most blooming plants) we recommend Espoma Bio-Tone plant-tone fertilizer.

For hydrangeas, we recommend garden lime for pink hydrangea blooms

Or for blue hydrangeas, we recommend color me blue