First of all look at a show schedule and just choose to grow for a couple of classes. Grow three times the amount of plants required, pinching one for each class at different times whilst making notes, so hopefully the winning regime can be repeated the following year.
Rain has little effect on well grown plants in containers as the leaves are designed to shed the rain out to the edge of the plant. This area is called the ‘drip line’ and when plants are growing in the ground it is the area at which they should be watered and fed. Feed and water those in any type of container as required.
Do not spray plants after buds show colour as they will get marked. It is better to water the pots with a suitable insecticide that can be absorbed by the plant. One that many can recommend is Bio Provado as it deals with whitefly, aphids and vine weevils.
'Dressing a plant' is the art of preparing your plant for the show bench. Check for pests and diseases as these are not acceptable on the show bench. Make sure the plant is well watered. Any ties and canes must be unobtrusive. Cut any cane off so that the top is hidden by a leaf. Use a suitable colour twine for tying, some use the material from tights cut into small strips.
All damaged leaves should be removed along with old and faded flowers. Remove any berries except on the species. Do not pop buds as the resulting flower is not typical. Untangle and gently tease out the flowers. Make sure that there is no debris on the surface of the compost.
The compost can be dressed over with the growing medium that you are using. Check that the pot is the correct size and in some cases colour for the class. Clean pot by spraying furniture polish onto a cloth and remove all water marks. This also works on clay pots but a smear of cooking oil makes clay look like new. An extra label with the class number on will assist you on show day.
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