How to Pick the Perfect Flower for Your Garden

Overview

Flowers brighten the landscape, add color to borders and attract birds and bees. What works for your garden depends on several factors. No one flower is perfect for every garden, although roses might come close. Picking the perfect posy for your garden doesn't have to be an overwhelming prospect.

Step 1

Know your hardiness zone. Find out from the local university agricultural extension near you or from a plant nursery. Hardiness is how low the average winter temperatures are. This is important because some flowers won't tolerate temperatures below a certain level. Camellias, for example, will freeze and die in USDA hardiness zones lower than 7 or at the most 6. Other plants like lilacs need a chilling period during the winter to bloom in the spring so they won't do well in areas like Florida or California. The length of the growing season or the time between the last frost in spring and the first frost in fall also affects which flowers to pick.

Step 2

Determine how much time you want to spend maintaining your garden. Delphiniums with their tall spires of brilliant blue flowers are breathtaking but they require staking. Roses need pruning and regular feeding. Echinacea--purple coneflowers--and black-eyed Susans are wildflowers in the Midwest and require little extra effort from the home gardener to thrive. Annuals have to be replanted every year unless you choose varieties that are prolific self-seeders such as larkspur or sweet alyssum. Perennials will come back every year but have a short blooming season.

Step 3

Decide on the objective of your flower garden. You may decide that fragrance is most important; if so, oriental lilies are a better choice than Asiatic, as oriental lilies are highly fragrant. If cutting bouquets for the house is tops on your priority list, plant flowers that have long, strong stems and will last in water. Snapdragons, carnations and Shasta daisies are good choices. Flowers such as geraniums are beautiful but have short stems, which don't work as well in floral arrangements. They do work well in borders, however.

Step 4

Pick more than one flower. Gardening is a three-season event. Plan for a continuous bloom of flowers. Pick bulbs that brighten your garden after a long dreary winter. Snowdrops and crocus are some of the first flowers to bloom in early spring. Daffodils bloom from early to late spring depending on the variety. Continue the blooming show through summer with zinnias, gladiolus, lilies and petunias. Finish in fall with asters and chrysanthemums.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't go more than one hardiness zone away from what is recommended.

References

  • USNA-USDA Plant Hardiness
  • Greer Gardens: Camellias
  • "The Country Garden"; Charlie Ryrie; 2003
Keywords: pick perfect posies, choose perfect flowers, selecting garden flowers

About this Author

Katie Rosehill holds an MBA from Arizona State University. She began her writing career soon after college and has written website content and e-books. Her articles have appeared on GardenGuides.com, eHow, and GolfLinks. Favorite topics include personal finance - that MBA does come in handy sometimes - weddings and gardening.