How to Grow & Care for Plants & Flowers

Overview

When you grow and care for plants and flowers a sense of pride goes through you as the table fills with vegetables from the garden or the center piece is a floral arrangement from the flowers you grow. Gardening adds a sense of beauty to the landscape and adds the finishing touches to the outside of the home. Adding plants and flower beds also increases the property value of the home. The physical act of gardening or just a walk through the flower beds relieves stress, according to Iowa State University.

Step 1

Choose the location for the plants and flowers according to growing requirements. Many plants thrive in direct sunlight but several varieties, like lily of the valley (Convallaria Majalis), love the shade. Reduce stress and extra work by planting the plants and flowers in proper lighting. Seed packets and plant tags contain information about growing and lighting conditions required for the plants. You may also talk with greenhouse attendants about plants and flowers for specific areas of the landscape that get filtered light or only partial sunlight.

Step 2

Prepare the garden bed by testing the soil with a test kit or taking a sample to your local county extension office. Leonard Perry, extension profession with the University of Vermont, states most plants grow well in soils with pH levels from 5.5 to 7.0. To raise the pH level add lime and to lower the pH level add sulfur. Start with 4 to 5 lbs. of lime per 100 square feet or 1 to 2 lbs. of sulfur for the same area.

Step 3

Water the plants and flowers in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid sun spots on leaves. As the sun comes in contact with the water a prism effect takes place and actually burns the leaves. A soaker hose or other bottom watering techniques help alleviate the problems with sun spots. Container plants must be watered daily because the soil in the containers does not retain as much moisture as soil in the garden beds.

Step 4

Plant shrubs, trees and flowers at the same depth they were growing in the pots. Deeper planting may result in the main stem rotting and the plant dying. Burrowing insects, like grubs, also feed on the tender stalks of newly planted foliage and produce damage which causes the plants to die, if they are planted too deep.

Step 5

Dead head (remove spent blooms) flowers to keep them blooming longer. Save the seeds, if you desire, for planting next year. Pinching plants back, or pruning, also helps the plant become more bushy. Certain plants, like tomatoes, need "suckers" pinched off to keep nutrients flowing to the main stem and fruit.

Step 6

Mulch perennial plants, flowers and shrubs after planting and also before the first hard frost hits your growing area. Mulch adds a layer of protection to keep the root balls from freezing in the winter. Mulch also acts as a cover to keep moisture in the soil during extremely dry periods in the growing season. According to Ohio State University, mulch helps as a weed barrier in garden beds and keeps soil from heaving up in the winter so plants stay covered.

Step 7

Treat infestations and diseases as soon as they are recognized on any plants or flowers. Use a quality fungicide made for the specific disease you are treating. Many insect problems are treatable with a simple mixture of 2 tbsp. liquid soap and 1 gallon of water applied to the infected area. Watch for recurring problems that may require a plant be removed to keep insects away from the other plants in the garden.

Things You'll Need

  • Rototiller
  • Rake
  • Hoe
  • Organic mulch
  • Fertilizer
  • Soil test kit
  • Lime (optional)
  • Sulfur (optional)

References

  • Iowa State University Extension: Gardening to Reduce Stress
  • University of Vermont Extension: pH for the Garden
  • Ohio State University Extension: Mulching Landscape Plants
Keywords: growing plants, growing flowers, caring for gardens

About this Author

Julie Richards is a freelance writer from Ohio. She has been writing poetry and short stories for 30 years. Recently, Richards has written a variety of e-books and numerous articles on gardening, small business, and farming. She is currently enrolled at Kent State University completing her bachelor's degree in English.