Have you ever planted a bounty of beautiful flowers from your local nursery, only to watch them wither and fade soon after planting? Are you wondering why the neighbor across the street grows a thriving garden each year, while your measly flower pots seem in constant need of CPR? Some flowers are easier to grow than others, require minimum attention, and enjoy a variety of locations. Chances are, your neighbor has figured out what grows best – and you can too. Here are 6 flowers guaranteed to survive even the brownest thumb on the block.
Flowers Thrive in Healthy Soil
If you plan to set your flowers directly into the ground, you must first create a garden space with fertile, well-balanced soil. Start by digging in some good quality top soil. Once clay and top soil are combined, add generous amounts of compost (or rotted manure) and peat moss. The end result should be a light, fluffy mix you can run through your fingers. If you are using pots, start with a high quality potting soil, and add a handful of compost and/or peat moss as needed. Ideally, soil should settle for, at least, a week before planting.
Perennials That Anyone Can Grow
Early summer through fall is the ideal blooming time for most perennial flowers. Perennials are sun-loving and need, at least, six hours of sunshine to do well. If you live in a cooler climate, a southern or western exposure would work fine. If your climate is hot, an eastern exposure may be best, providing the area is visible enough to enjoy.
Many experienced gardeners have, at least, one patch of bellflowers growing somewhere on their property. Typically, the delicate, spiky flowers grow 1-2 feet tall, thrive best in early summer, but will continue blooming, if spent flowers are constantly removed. Bellflowers enjoy full sun, but will grow in part shade and come in white, blue and purple.
Anyone can grow a coneflower, in fact, it’s almost impossible to fail. The lovely daisy-like flower grows best from mid-summer all the way to the first frost in many climates. They thrive in hot sun, but will tolerate partial shade. They grow from 2 to 3 feet tall and spread nicely throughout a planting area. Coneflowers come in white, pink and purple, and newer, yellow and orange varieties are also showing up in nurseries.
Looking for a golden-yellow flower that grows like a weed and outlasts most other plants in the garden? Coreopsis is resistant to disease and continuously self-sows, making it not only easy to grow, but readily dividable, if a novice gardener is looking to fill gaps in a newer garden bed. It is a sun loving flower, but can usually tolerate a small amount of partial shade, as well.
Low-Maintenance Annuals for Summer Color
Unlike short blooming perennials, annuals will produce showy flowers all season long, provided they receive ample water, periodic fertilizing, and spent flowers are carefully removed to encourage new growth.
Though it is considered a perennial in warmer climates, geraniums are most often cultivated as a hardy annual, blooming from late spring until the first frost. The luscious, showy blooms come in shades of red, pink, salmon and white and, virtually, anyone can grow them. They are insect-resistant, enjoy full sun/part shade, and look fabulous in pots along a front deck or porch. Geraniums enjoy average, fertile soil and withered flowers should be removed promptly to encourage continuous blooming.
Whether you are looking for a stand-out flower for a decorative container or a splash of color in the ground, vibrant impatiens grow wonderfully all summer long. They thrive best in shade, but can tolerate some partial sun in cooler climates. Plants reach about a foot tall and come in variations of red, purple, orange, white, salmon and pink.
If you have an area of your garden that seems to rebel against fussier flowers, nasturtium may be a perfect fit. Long considered one of the easiest flowers to grow, they enjoy full sun and dry, moderate soil. They are very easy to start from seed, but must be sown before the last frost. Otherwise, starter plants work best. Flowers come in low-growing and trailing varieties in shades of orange, yellow, red, gold, pink and salmon.
If you’re planning to focus on container gardening, sweet potato vine, low-growing lobelia and alyssum, all add beauty to the edges of any flower arrangement. They tend to spread easily, so make certain to leave ample space for expansion, and clip back, if crowding becomes an issue.
Want to learn more about growing perennials?
See these helpful websites:
Growing Perennials from Clemson Cooperative Extension
Gardening with Perennials: Planting & Transplanting from University of Illinois Extension