Outdoor flowers tucked into the garden create a bright burst of color to the landscape. Grown in dozens of varieties, each one has its own distinct growing requirements, shape, color and size. The perennial, an outdoor flower type, blooms year after year. Annual flowers, another variety, bloom for only a short period of time to die down at the end of their season. Nestled within a flowerbed, outdoor flowers create a showy presence to the garden.
Perennial flowers are herbaceous plants that have the capability of growing and flowering year after year. The main advantage with perennials is that you only have to plant them once to have them keep springing up on their own. Some perennial flowers live for a short period of time, only a few years, while others live for decades to create a longlasting addition to the landscape. Many perennial blooms are heat- and drought-tolerant, and have the ability to grow in a wide range of soil types, creating a versatile flower. Some perennial flowers have a short blooming season, while others are long to create a plethora of bright flowers throughout the year.
A hardy perennial flower to plant in the garden is the black-eyed Susan. Growing 18 to 30 inches and in an upright and open form, black-eyed Susans are tough and hardy blooms that tolerate high summer heat and low soil moisture. Their bright yellow blooms emerge in late summer to produce masses of flowers throughout the summer and into the fall.
Annual flowers only appear for a short period to die back at the end of their growing season. Categorized as either cool- or warm-season, annual flowers are ideal flowers nestled within a container or hanging basket for a classic garden display. Warm-season annual flowers require day temperatures ranging from 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Sensitive to cold soil temperatures, warm-season annual flowers are damaged and sometimes destroyed by frost and must be planted after a frost potential has surpassed. Night temperatures for warm-season annuals endure and can tolerate lows from 60 to 70 degrees. Examples of warm-season flowers are impatiens, petunia, marigolds and zinnia.
Cool-season annual flowers flourish in cold temperatures and soil climates. Cold-tolerant, cool-season flowers tolerate light frosts without being damaged. Cool-season annuals are not heat-tolerant and grow in the cooler months of fall and winter. Examples of cool-season annuals are foxglove, viola, calendula and stock.
Sub-categorized as spring, summer and fall-flowering bulbs, these have a specific blooming and planting season. For example, a fall-planted flower bulb blooms in spring to early summer. Grown in dozens of varieties, each with its distinct color, shape, height and site requirements, bulbs have a wide range of temperature hardiness for a colorful garden display. Bulbs require well-drained soils, an important and oftentimes critical factor when planting the bulb into the garden. With the correct variety of bulb grown in your specific climate and planting zone, the garden and landscape can be a sea of flowers and color almost the entire length of the year.
A classic, hardy spring-flowering bulb is the tulip. Grown in every color imaginable, each with a distinct cup shape, tulips are striking blooms planted among a garden walkway or used in a mixed perennial bed. The tall, upright stems hold the cup-like blooms to create an ideal fresh-cut flower. Tulips grow in many different forms, including, single, double, fringed, lily and peony. As a sign that winter is gone and spring is here, tulips create a bright burst of color to the garden.