Flowers add a colorful element to your garden and landscaping design. The two main classifications of flowers are annual and perennial. Perennial flowers return year after year. Annuals are replanted each year, usually in spring, and bloom for just a single season. A mixture of perennials and annuals is used in most gardens. General care for both kinds of flowers is similar throughout the spring and summer. Differences occur during fall care, where perennials must be properly winterized so they will bloom again next year.
Plant most flowers in well-drained, rich garden soil. Build up planting beds 3 inches by working in compost to add nutrients and aid drainage. Check the plant stakes or seed envelopes for each particular type of flower to ensure they are planted in the best soil for their needs.
Locate each flower variety to receive the proper amount of sunlight, as directed on the stake or envelope. Requirements range from full sun to partial sun, with a few varieties preferring full shade.
Keep soil moist at all times. Apply a 2-inch layer of organic mulch, such a wood chips, on beds and around the base of the flowers to preserve soil moisture. Water weekly to keep soil moist but not soaking wet.
Weed beds often so they don't rob nutrients from the flowers. Applying mulch also inhibits weed growth.
Fertilize perennials once in spring with a general purpose fertilizer or a fresh layer of compost. Fertilize a second time in mid-summer for flowers that bloom into fall. Avoid fertilizing during extended dry periods.
Deadhead annuals and most perennials to encourage further blooming. Cut off the flower head once the petals begin to wilt, but before the seeds mature, with sharp shears. Cut back perennials to 2 to 3 inches high if they are brown or looking ragged.
Allow perennial foliage to die back naturally in the fall as the leaves are storing energy for next year's flowering period. Cut back once the foliage yellows and lay a 4-inch layer of straw mulch on top the beds to protect them over winter in cold areas.