CO-Horts Blog

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Downtown Flowers Signal Summertime for Puebloans

 By Sherie Shaffer, Horticulture Agent, CSU Extension-Pueblo County

My favorite part of the flower display, in front of Pueblo Union Depot

These two are Craig's favorite containers

Every year, Puebloans are signaled to the beginning of summer when the huge, beautiful containers of petunias and geraniums appear downtown.

These beauties are in front of local boutique, Razmataz

Everyone loves the smell of fresh petunias in the morning

The Pueblo Union Depot, along with B Street and a good portion of Union Avenue get decked out with these blossoms every year in May, thanks to local business owners the Koncilja’s. The flowers are purchased from a local nursery, but you may be wondering, who cares for them and keeps them looking stunning all summer long?
Looking down B Street from the Union Depot

Patrons of the cafes on B Street get to look at these containers while they dine

Some of the containers are hanging, while some are on the ground

The answer is two guys, Craig and Brandon. We got an opportunity for an insider tour of the daily care of these flowers, thanks to the fact that Craig is my brother. Turns out it’s no small feat to keep these blooms looking brilliant during the heat of a Southern Colorado summer.
Craig with his trusty hose reel 

Turns out it doubles as a fun ride

A close up of the reel

Unless it rains, which is not something that happens often around here, the flowers need to be watered daily. Craig and Brandon have portable hose reels, that they wheel around downtown and hook to multiple different spigots around where the flowers are located. They must start early, not only to beat the heat but also to beat the morning downtown buzz. Turns out it’s a lot easier to stretch the hose out when the foot traffic is low.
Luckily he's tall to reach the hanging containers

The hose spigots have keys to turn them on

As they water each container individually, by hand, they also do whatever deadheading needs to be done on each plant. This keeps the plants looking nice and encourages them to keep blooming all summer long. Sometimes, when a plant gets a little leggy, they will trim them up to keep the shape looking nice and compact.

Right in front of the doors to the Union Depot

These containers are in Tandoori's courtyard

More beautiful flowers

Of course, water and TLC aren’t quite enough to keep the flowers looking their best. They also get fertilized weekly. The Petunias get fed with a 20-3-19 water-soluble Petunia Feed that includes Magnesium. The geraniums get a 20-10-20 general-purpose water-soluble fertilizer. To deliver the fertilizer, they use a Dosatron nutrient injector. First, they mix about 10 cups of the dry fertilizer in a bucket, and fill it with water, this is the concentrate. They then set the injector to the appropriate level and insert the hose of the injector into the concentrate bucket. The water supply is then hooked to the injector and it delivers the desired concentration of fertilizer into the irrigation water.

The fertilizer they use to keep the blooms looking beautiful

The Dosatron fertilizer injector

Pest and disease issues haven’t been too bad in the past. During really hot spells some of the petunia leaves will become sunburnt from the reflected heat of the sidewalk, and they have dealt with some small aphid infestations. Nothing a call to the local Extension Agent/sister and a strong stream of water couldn't handle!

Another view of Tandoori's courtyard

These lucky flowers get some morning shade

So, although it’s no small task to keep these flowers looking great all summer long, the people of Pueblo are so glad that they are purchased and cared for to keep our downtown looking bright and beautiful!


  1. Fantastic flower pots and baskets, thank you for sharing.
    It inspires me to travel to Pubelo during the summer.