Spring has sprung in southeast Texas and the wildflowers are about to bloom. Are your flower beds ready to burst into color this season? Get your garden in shape with these tips so you can enjoy your own “great outdoors.”

Now is prime pruning time to get rid of the frost-bitten branches of your flowering shrubs so they can come back stronger. Cut the branches at about a forty-five-degree angle using sharp pruning shears or clippers. Make the cut just below the last dead leaf to ensure you get rid of anything that is no longer alive. You may need to cut established shrubs back to only about six inches so they can fully return – plants such as hibiscus and oleanders respond well to this type of pruning. When trimming trees like pines and live oaks, cut the limbs close to the trunk with a vertical cut.

Plant flowering shrubs now so they will be in full bloom this spring and summer. Bushes like roses and azaleas provide a bit of height and lots of blooms but need extra TLC. Use plant-specific fertilizer and feed every two weeks until late summer.

Perennial flowers like coreopsis and blue mistflower are hardy and can withstand the upcoming heat. The blue mistflower will beautify your garden by itself, but also by attracting lots of butterflies! Annuals such as osteospermum brighten up your garden with beautiful, daisy-like flowers in blue, orange, pink, or white. They can grow up to three feet tall and two feet wide, so be sure to give them plenty of space. Zinnia and geraniums also tolerate the heat well and are very easy to grow.

Feed your new and existing bushes, like bougainvillea, plumeria, and hibiscus now so they will have the nutrients they need to bloom all spring and summer. A product like Nutri Star works well. If you’ve planted new trees, put down a root stimulator every couple of weeks and make sure they are watered frequently.

With a little elbow grease and TLC, your flower gardens will be looking fabulous in no time!