Flowers create a vibrant display to the garden and landscape. Grown in a wide range of sizes, shapes and blooms, each with its own distinct growing requirements, they range from perennials to annuals and biennials. When planted during each season, flowers provide nonstop color to the garden for a year-round landscape full of blooms and texture. Flowers are ideal grown in containers and pots, under trees and shrubs and lining garden paths and entrances.
Perennials have a one-time planting and then grow back year after year for a long-lasting addition to the garden. Some perennials live for many years, while others flower for only a few years.
A hardy and versatile perennial is the purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea). Purple coneflowers have 5-inch-wide, rose to purple, daisy-like flowers that surround the brown to orange central cones that attract butterflies and birds to the garden. They grow 3 to 6 feet tall and 1 to 3 feet wide and have a moderate growth rate and clumping habit. Emerging in midsummer, purple coneflowers last into early fall. Purple coneflowers are tolerant of heat, humidity and drought to create a versatile perennial flower. They grow best in full sun to part shade and well-drained soil. Plant purple coneflowers in USDA zones 3 to 9.
Annuals germinate, bloom and die all within one season or year. They help to provide temporary color and texture to the garden.
The pansy (Viola x wittrockiana) is an annual flower that grows in small, low-growing clumps. Pansies grow 8 to 12 inches tall and have a maximum spread of 6 inches wide. The five-lobed, single flowers of pansies grow in a wide range of colors including, blue, white, purple, yellow and bicolored, which have more than one color swirled together. The versatile pansy is in bloom in early spring, fall and winter. Pansies grow best in full sun to part shade and well-drained, moist soil. They are hardy in all USDA zones.
Biennials have a life cycle that is completed over two growing seasons; the flower blooms and dies during the second season. They produce foliage and roots during the first year and bloom and fruit during the second year.
A popular biennial is sweet William (Dianthus barbatus 'Summer Sundae'). Sweet William has a moderate growth rate and grows 1 to 3 feet tall and 6 to 12 inches wide. The clusters of fragrant red, pink and white flowers emerge in late spring to last into early summer and attract butterflies to the garden. Sweet William grows best in full sun and well-drained soil that is neutral to slightly alkaline in nature. To ensure a long blooming season, deadhead the spent sweet William blooms. They are suitable in USDA zones 3 to 9.