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Help Hanging Plants Hang Around Longer

(credit: Phran Novelli)

(credit: Phran Novelli)

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By Phran Novelli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Awww, if you couldn’t resist and bought a giant petunia hanging basket back in May or June, now you might be saying what my sister said the other day, ‘Hey, how come my hanging baskets are getting so…uh, ugly?’

The reason those big hanging planters tend to die back is that all those leaves on enormous petunia plants evaporate water out almost faster than you can pour it in; there’s not enough soil in most hanging planters to support so many feet of foliage all summer. But, there is something you can do to save your petunias from browning, drooping and pooping out completely this year – give your hanging basket a haircut!

If they’re really two or three feet long as many grow to be, gather your courage and sheer the stems in half. If you can’t bring yourself to cut so much at once, try a multi-step process, take a foot or more off of one-third of the stems; snip 6 inches off of another third; and pinch several stems all the way back to the center of the plant to encourage it to refresh the middle with green growth and fresh flowers.

It’s only hard to do the first time – once your plant starts filling in after a week or two, and looking so much healthier, you’ll be glad you pinched back your petunias.

Meanwhile, smaller, green and pretty is better than gianormous, brown and ugly.

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