Add a rainbow of color to your garden with these beautiful flowers that are easy to grow and care for and require little maintenance. Although small in stature, Sweet William plants provide an abundance of colorful flowers that are a perfect compliment to use as a border or to brighten up a flower bed. They can also be used as a cut flower arrangement to display in your home.
1. Plant Sweet William directly into the garden from seeds or transplanted seedlings and rooted cuttings. For the best results, plant the flowers where they will receive full sun. They can tolerate some shade but need full sun to be the most productive so it’s important to plant them where they will not be overshadowed by taller plants and flowers. Plant in a good rich soil that has ample drainage and will keep the roots moist but not do not over water. During dry periods, water the plants at least once a week. These flowers grow in clusters in colors of red, white, purple, red, pink and range in height from 8 to 18 inches. They also do well being grown in containers and pots.
2. Sow seeds directly into the ground after the last frost of the season when the ground will be easy to cultivate and there’s no longer any chance the seeds will be affected by inclement weather. Cover the seeds with about 1/8inch of rich soil that can be a mixture of potting soil, ground soil and fertilizer. Seedlings and cuttings that have been started in inside containers also need to be planted after the last frost.When first planting seeds or transplanting seedlings or cuttings, add a good quality fertilizer to provide the nutrients needed to grow healthy plants and continue with a feeding regimen at least once a month.
3. Starting seeds or cuttings inside for later transplanting are also options and should be planted in containers approximately six to eight weeks before estimated end of winter and the likelihood of frost. When planting, place each rooted seedling and cutting into a prepared hole that will accommodate the new roots with plenty of room for expansion. Place the plants 5 to 6 inches apart as the plants will spread out as they grow. Refill the hole with a mixture of soil, potting soil and fertilizer and gently pack the soil mixture around the roots but do not pack it down. The soil needs to be secure around the roots but loose enough for the roots to have room to grow. Water the plants and add additional soil to top off the plant, if needed.
4. Weeding around the plants to remove unwanted weeds will not only keep the garden weed free and visually appealing, it also keeps the weeds from draining moisture and nutrients from the soil needed by the flowering plants. Once the new seeds have spouted and are well established, a light covering of mulch can be placed around the plants. This will also aide in retaining moisture, which is important during the dry season. Established seedlings and cuttings can have mulch placed around the plants immediately upon planting. Throughout the flowering season, remove dead flower heads to promote growth and flowering, but do allow some heads to remain so seeds can be used for sowing.
5. Provide a good insecticide should Insects become a problem. Grasshoppers, nematodes and slugs are among the pests that can affect the flowers. Visually inspect the plants periodically and apply a quality insecticide appropriate for Sweet William.