Growing flowers provides a garden with color and texture. The blooms are used for cutting, eating and to bring attention to the landscape. Using an assortment of plants that blossom during different seasons gives an almost constant supply of flowers. The majority of flowers have easy-to-meet requirements. Proper planning, preparation and maintenance ensure a healthy flower bed.
Flower gardens perform better and look attractive with careful planning. A design will space the plants according to their mature size. Crowded plants suffer in health and quality of blooms. Tall plants placed at the back of the bed prevent shading the smaller plants. Low-growing flowers used as a border define the shape of the garden. Most flowers perform best in full sun with wind protection. The site needs well-drained soil for the majority of flowers to thrive.
Preparing a bed before planting gets flowers off to a better start. Bed preparation should ideally begin the fall previous to planting. All weeds need to be removed. The addition of 3 inches of compost tilled or dug into the bed, to a depth of 10 inches, provides nutrients, balances the soil's pH, and improves drainage and soil texture. Fertilizer added in the early spring give flowers the food to produce healthy blooms.
How a flower garden is planted depends on the type of flowers. Perennials, usually grown from cuttings or divisions and purchased as potted plugs or plants, require a hole twice as wide as the root ball with spring or fall planting. The hole depth should allow the crown of the perennial to sit just at or slightly above the soil level. Quick-growing annuals are grown from seed once the soil temperatures have warmed in the spring. The seeds need to be planted at a depth about twice the size of the seed. Seeds require consistent moisture and warmth. Bulbs generally call for planting in the season opposite of their bloom time: spring-flowering bulbs are planted in the fall and fall-blooming ones in the spring. The depth depends upon the individual variety.
All flowers benefit from a 3-inch layer of mulch spread over the bed. The mulch retains moisture, keeps the soil temperature regulated and prevents weed growth. Cutting flowers and removing dead flower heads encourage new growth. Perennials and shrubs benefit from regular pruning that includes the removal of dead, diseased or crowded parts of the plant. Flowering plants need water to produce to their full potential--at least one inch of rain, or equivalent watering, per week.
Knowing the U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zone for flower selections is necessary when choosing what to grow. Flowers grown for cutting require long stems and mass plantings for best appearance. Bright colored flowers, such as red and yellow, appear closer than cool tones, such as blue and gray.