Gardening hacks for roses, gardenias and azaleas

These special "gardening hacks" will have you growing beautiful roses, gardenias and azaleas in no time. Here are some tips.

Gardening hacks for roses, gardenias and azaleas

Speed rose-blooming with foil

In late May or early June, place sheets of aluminum foil on the ground beneath your rosebushes and anchor the foil with stones. Sunlight reflecting off the foil will quicken blooming, whether your roses are hybrid teas, floribundas or climbers.

Feed bananas to roses

Most gardeners know that banana peels make a good fertilizer for tomatoes, peppers and their solanaceous cousins, but roses love them too. Chop banana peels (three max) into small pieces and dig them into the soil beneath a rosebush. The peels provide 3.25 percent phosphorus and more than 10 times that amount of potassium, spurring sturdier stems and prettier blooms.

A grassy boost for azaleas

After mowing your lawn, lay some of the grass clippings out to dry. Then spread a thin layer of clippings around the base of azalea plants. As the grass decays, it leaches nitrogen into the soil, supplementing regular feedings. Many gardeners find this "something extra" speeds the growth of azaleas and darkens the leaves. Be careful, though: Piling grass clippings too thickly may make them slimy and, in turn, expose the plant's stems to disease.

Cola and tea for gardenias

Occasionally watering a gardenia bush with your favourite cola will increase the acidity of the soil, while the sugar will feed microorganisms and help organic matter to break down. And tea? Place tea bags around the base of a gardenia and cover them with mulch. Whenever you water the plant, the ascorbic acid, manganese and potassium present in tea leaves will trickle down to the shrub's hungry roots.

Your neighbours will be jealous of your beautiful garden flowers — they'll be amazed when you tell them about the simple tricks you used to boost your blooms.

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