Gardening expert shares how she makes her summer-blooming plants look good for longer

The secret ingredient will give them an extra boost for the new season

sunflowers and other colorful summer plants
(Image credit: Getty)

Fall is nearly upon us, but this doesn't have to mean our backyards look any less vibrant - at least not for a little while. A gardening expert has revealed her secret to extending the life of summer-blooming plants.

There are plenty of plants for long summer color that will keep your flowerbed ideas
and containers looking joyful as the temperatures fall - from pretty sweet peas to classic geraniums. But Daisy Payne's tip uses an allotment staple to keep plants looking great throughout the transitional season.

sweet peas in garden

(Image credit: Alamy)

At this time of year, we often find ourselves neglecting the container gardening ideas we were excited about in spring. After all, there's more rainfall and cooler temperatures. 

But although they won't be quite as thirsty in autumn as they were in the height of summer, they still need a decent amount of water. 'Even if it’s rained, it’s worth checking how moist your soil is if you have plants in pots,' Daisy begins. 

'If they feel a little dry (which is likely, because rain doesn’t always get into your pots) water them thoroughly,' she says. Dried out pot plants by the front door, in window boxes or dotted around paved areas will make things feel drab and uninspiring.

Daisy Payne gardener with geraniums

Gardener Daisy Payne

(Image credit: Daisy Payne)

'If you have summer bedding plants still going strong, keep them going for even longer by feeding with tomato feed every couple of weeks,' Daisy adds. 'The flowers will keep coming until the end of autumn!'

You can order tomato feed on Amazon if you want to get it delivered quickly so you can get to work straight away. Alternatively, you could simply pick some up on your next trip to your local garden center. Sunflowers, dahlias, cosmos and some roses are examples of plants that keep on bringing the color to our gardens in September. 

Give them an extra boost with this unexpected product – you may even have some already if you've got into learning how to grow vegetables this year. Besides regular watering and some tomato feed, we recommend that you keep deadheading flowers as frequently as possible to encourage repeat blooms.

close up of red tomato plant

(Image credit: Kriswanto Ginting/Getty)

When the time comes, think about winter garden ideas to ensure you have an interesting display to look out on through the bleaker months. Use September as a chance to have a general tidy up and compost any spent plants, too. 

Millie Hurst
Millie Hurst

Millie joined Gardeningetc in January 2021 as a news writer. When she isn't writing about gardening, she's tending to her small front garden. Her geraniums, dahlias and nasturtiums are looking lovely right now. She recently bought a bench for the garden and is loving alfresco lunch breaks and taking time to notice seedlings growing. She loves picking up some new plants at the local garden centre and is never without some fresh flowers at home.