by Matt Gibson
Below are some of the most common flower gardening questions we’ve gotten over the years, and our answers. Flower gardening is one of the most rewarding ways that we can connect with nature through cultivation. Where vegetable gardening is usually a straightforward and practical way to grow food, flower gardening is a more ornamental form of gardening that’s focused on design, texture, color and aesthetics. Flower gardening can be a very fulfilling and satisfying hobby that encourages creativity with your gardening skill. If you’ve never grown flowers before, you should!
How do you make a flower garden?
To make your own flower garden, start by selecting a great location to grow your flowers in. When selecting a site, keep in mind the exact type of growing environment that you will need for the type of flowers that you would like to grow. You will want a space that gets plenty of sunlight for most flowers, but you may also want a location that also has some shady areas, and maybe a bit of covered areas for flowers that prefer indirect sunlight over sun showers. A location that has a good mix of sun exposure is preferable so that you can mix it up and get the most out of the entire space.
You will also want to take the soil into account when selecting a site, or be prepared to adjust the soil to the needs of your flowers turning the soil over at least 12 inches deep. Take the time to test the soil that is in place in the locations that you are considering in order to know what you need to add to get the right balance for your flower garden. To test the soil, dig a few one foot deep holes in different areas around your garden, taking a few tablespoons of soil from each location, placing them into a quart sized jar until it becomes full. Find a soil testing lab in your area and send in the samples to find out what kind of soil you are working with.
When making adjustments to your soil, keep in mind the preferences of the flowers that you want to grow. Most will prefer a pH base that is close to the neutral range, some preferring slightly acidic soil and others slightly alkaline. Aside from adjusting the pH range of your soil base, there are a few other ways that you will need to prepare the soil for the growing season.
In general, you will most likely need to: 1) Lightly moisten the soil so that it is easier to work with. 2) Turn the soil over at least 12 inches deep and clean the beds of old plants, rocks, and debris. 3) Till the soil that’s already in place, and add in two or three inches of compost to enrich the soil and provide food and nutrients for the flowers that you are about to grow. 4) Adjust soil to ensure proper pH balances are achieved and make sure that the beds are not too compacted, but loose enough to ensure proper drainage and water flow. 5) Consider adding a three to four inch top layer of mulch or use a weed and feed to keep pesky weeds from germinating in your beds and drawing nutrients away from your flowers.
Select flowers that grow well in your area and attempt to mimic the ideal environments that they are most suited to while planning your garden. Once you know what flowers grow well in your area, you can begin to select a color palate and start designing the layout of your garden. Consult this wonderful design guide for beginner flower gardeners to get some ideas on different design techniques and learn how to maximize the beauty of your garden space.
Familiarize yourself with the local frost cycle so that you can get the most out of the flowers you choose to cultivate. Start your seeds indoors or in a greenhouse for about four to six weeks before the average last frost date to get a head start on the growing season. Plant your flowers into your newly-prepared beds right after the last frost so that they will grow into place before weeds have a chance to invade the beds.
What are the easiest flowers to grow?
Great flowers for beginners include Daffodils, Dahlias, Coneflowers, Lupines, Fuchsias, Dianthus, Morning Glories, Cosmos, Zinnias, Sunflowers, Daylilies, Lavender, Marigolds, Wax Begonias, Impatiens, Snap Dragons, Sweet Peas, Pansies and Nasturtiums.
What flowers are good for gardens?
More beautiful flowers that your garden might be suited for include: Daisies, Azaleas, Orchids, Ranunculus, Poppies, Gardenias, Crocus, Alstroemerias, Evening Primrose, Bluebells, Pansies, Lilies, Wisteria, Verbena, Roses, Zinnias, Tulips, Lantanas, Jasmile, Lilac, Hydrangea, Geraniums, Forget-Me-Nots, Carnations, Chrysanthemums, and many more!
Should I plant annuals or perennials?
Annuals are flowers that only bloom once per year. Perennials may bloom for several growing seasons and come back year after year if maintenanced correctly. Perennials are more permanent garden fixtures while annuals have to be replanted each year to be enjoyed again. Learn more in this entire article about the difference between annual and perennial plants.
Flower Gardening Part 2: Selecting Flowers
Once you have a little bit of experience and a growing environment suited to growing flowers, you can start selecting flowers that speak out to you and seem to fit your style. Read on to learn more about selecting the right flowers for your new flower garden.
Which Flowers Bloom All Year?
Blue Perennial Sage – Hardy to zones 8-11, this eye-catching flower blooms tall clusters of intense blue flowers that sit atop deep purple leaves. Introduce blue sage in the middle of the summer.
Blue Pincushion Flower – This butterfly attractor is hardy to zones 3-8. Growing eight to 12 inches tall, this sunlover is drought resistant and perfect for borders and edges.
Black-Eyed Susan– A tender, warm climate perennial, black-eyed Susan is hardy to zones 3-9 and will continue to produce flowers even without deadheading.
Threadleaf Tickseed – Bright yellow flowers help the tickseed stand out even when it is surrounded by lots of other colorful neighbors. Attracts birds, butterflies, and bees. Hardy in zones 3-9.
Pink Astilbe – This fern-like beauty is hardy to zones 3-8 and has a super long blooming period. Low maintenance and pest-free, pink astilbe is a great choice for any flower garden.
Purple-Leaved Beardtongue – Growing up to 2 feet high, this oddly-named beauty has white flowers that bloom atop purple leaves. Hardy to USDA zones 3-9.
Bigfoot Geranium – Hardy to zones 3-8, the bigfoot geranium is available in violet, white, and pink flowerheads. Very easy to grow and care for, this flower can withstand adverse weather conditions and prefers shade to full sun exposure.
Purple Coneflower – Growing two to five feet high in full sunlight, the purple coneflower is hardy to zones 4-9 and are commonly found growing wild in prairies.
Which Flowers Are Low Maintenance?
Looking for low maintenance flowers? Here are some of our picks in that category.
Cosmos – Large, showy, and hassle-free. Plant cosmos in the sun and they will thrive and reseed all by themselves.
Daylily – Drought, flood, and salt resistant, daylilies are perfect for a gardener who doesn’t have time for needy plants but still wants beautiful flowers that bloom in abundance.
Yarrow – A wildflower that needs very little attention, yarrow is adaptable to a wide range of growing conditions and has a long blooming period.
Lantana – Pest and disease-free and practically self-sufficient, the beautiful lantana flower is a great choice for low maintenance flower gardens.
Pasque Flower – Gorgeous purple flowers with yellow centers, pasque flower is a european perennial that needs little care. Pasque enjoys full sunlight in mild climates and partial shade in warm weather areas.
Agastache – Even if neglected for long periods, agastache tends to survive and thrive, producing lovely, aromatic, lush flowerheads atop spiky green foliage.
Coreopsis – Also called pot of gold, and tickseed, these sun-loving beauties will add a unique twist to any flower garden without asking for special care attention.
What Are The Easiest Flowers To Grow?
So you’re a beginner flower gardener and you want to make it easy on yourself? Good idea! Here are some of the easiest to grow flowers.
Johnny Jump-Ups – Quick blooming, frost-resistant, re-seeders
Poppies – Quick blooming, pollinator attracting, re-seeders
Petunias – Pest-resistant, aromatic, wide color range
Sweet Alyssum – Low growing, beneficial insect attracting, aromatic in the evening
Calendula – Fast growing, ground covering, pot marigolds
Nigella – Pastel flowers, beautiful foliage, early summer blooms
Cornflowers – Quick growing, edible, bee attractors
Annual Phlox – Tough and hardy, warm weather flowers, butterfly attractors
Nasturtiums – Tasty and edible, pollinator attracting, pest-deterrents.
Petunias – Pest-resistant, low maintenance, endless color options.
Which Flowers Are Impossible To Kill?
Easy to grow isn’t quite enough for you, so you’re looking for impossible to kill flowers? Maybe you’re being too hard on yourself here! But still, we’ve gathered up these flowers that are difficult to kill.
Morning Glories – Morning glories are one of the hardest flowers to kill once they are established. The only major effort that is placed on the gardener’s to-do list is a bit of extra effort during the pre-planting period. Morning glories have very hard and thick seed coats that take a firm filing to help get them partially opened before placing them into the soil. If you don’t feel like filing them down by hand, you could soak them overnight in tepid water to help them soften before planting. The initial effort pays off big time once the blooms start to emerge and delight. As their names suggest, the flowerheads that they produce are truly a glorious sight to behold.
Marigolds – Easy to grow in sunny locations and practically impossible to kill, Marigolds are a great choice for any flower garden. Available in shades of yellow, red, orange, and gold. Standard African and American varieties grow from three to five feet tall, but shorter and more compact hybrids are also available.
Pansies – Provide a location with plenty of sunlight and well-draining, nutrient-rich soil, and your pansies will stand up to the elements, adding deep exotic colors to your garden during the spring and fall. In warmer climate regions, pansies can even survive the winter if given a layer of protective mulch to help defend their roots during freezing weather.
Zinnias – Plant zinnias in the sun and give them space (as directed on the package of seeds) and they will have no problem adapting to whatever growing environment you place them in. Available in every color imaginable except for blue, zinnias are available in a wide array of heights as well as flowerhead types (such as pompoms, spiders, daisy-like, dahlia-like, cone-shaped, trumpet-shaped, and more). Once established, they will survive almost any weather thrown at them.
Sunflowers – One of the most hardy plants around, sunflowers are easy to grow and impossible to kill. Often suggested as an introduction plant to children due to their hardiness and their easy-to-handle seed size. Sunflowers are available in a wide range of sizes and types, ranging in color from yellow to orange and a bit of light red.
Snapdragons – Snapdragons bloom profusely during the spring and fall months, and no matter what color variety you choose, the lush and lovely cascade of blooms that they produce will never fail to bring people (and butterflies) joy.
Begonias – Summer begonias are tough plants that are nearly impossible to kill and adaptable to a wide range of growing environments. They are great in containers, hanging baskets and direct planting in your garden beds. Begonias are not picky either, they will thrive in full sunlight or partial shade as long as they have a well-draining soil medium. If you are leaning towards growing begonias, follow your heart and thank us later.
Impatiens – All that impatiens require is a shady location and enough water to keep them from wilting. Other than those two demands, they are living easy on your cosiest porch or patio area. When choosing impatiens, try to find newer hybrids that are resistant to the disease downy mildew. Varieties “bounce,” and “Big Bounce” are two new disease-resistant hybrids that are widely available.
Geraniums – Geraniums are versatile and hardy, and they make a cute set of perky little flowers that pop with color from spring until the first frost. Great for hanging baskets, window boxes, containers, or directly in the garden beds. These low maintenance plants prefer full sun but need a little shade in the afternoon in warm climate areas.
Daffodils – Plant daffodil bulbs in the fall in a sunny or partly sunny location and let nature handle the rest. Daffodils will quickly spread out into whatever space they are allowed and come springtime, they will explode with blooms, providing color and an inviting aroma all season long. They are also a great choice for container gardens as well. Flowers will return in the fall for a second season of glory.
Many gardeners forget about non-floral options when they decide to plant their first flower garden. While having a bunch of beds that are full of nothing but flowering plants is pretty awesome in its own way, a bit of variety can be a good thing too. Consider adding in some ornamental greens in between flower clusters to add some background texture so that your flowers can really stand out in the crowd.
Non-flowering ground cover plants are great fillers that can add a nice background for your flowering plants. Shrubs, bushes, and small trees can also help to fill this role. Remember, even though flower gardens should have plenty of flowers, there can be too much of a good thing. If there are too many flowers in your flower garden, every one of them has to beg for your attention, but if they are interspersed with non-flowering plants, each flower has a chance to shine.
What is a flower garden called?
Wait, what? This is a strange one, but we’re still going to answer it because there are a lot of good synonyms here, and maybe that’s why we keep getting this question. Any space that is dedicated to the cultivation and display of flowers is a flower garden, or floral garden. Other names for a flower gardening include floriculturing, landscaping, landscape gardening, bed designing, arboretum gardening, ornamental gardening, rose gardening, and paradise planning (if you are slightly more daring with your wordplay).
Want to learn more about flower gardening and selecting flowers?
Burpee Seed Company covers Flower Gardens
Garden Design covers 21 Easiest Flowers for Beginners
Garden Design covers How to Start a Flower Garden
Natural Living Ideas covers 18 Easiest & Most Beautiful Flowers Anyone Can Grow in the Garden
Nurserylive covers Top 10 Flowers That Bloom All Year
GrowVeg covers 10 Quick Blooming Flowers to Grow From Seed
HGTV covers 13 Can’t-Kill Flowers for Beginners
brian willson-day says
when is the best time to lift dahlia bulbs and how should they be stored for winter?