Some flowers are easy to start; others are difficult. But every gardener wants to have some success, whether she is starting flowers from seeds or buying them at the local garden center. Planted as directed, certain flowers will give anyone a green thumb, even a beginner gardener.
Buy petunias at a garden center. Take each one out of its plastic pot, dig a small hole that will just fit the root ball and set them into a bed of rich, moist and well-drained soil in full sun. Plant spacing varies, but 12 inches is usually fine. Plant several of the same color close to each other, then plant a contrasting color right next to those. After planting, water until the soil is fully moist.
Another flower to buy at the garden center, impatiens will grow just about anywhere, but they do best in full to part sun where it is cool and part sun to shade where it is hot. If you're not sure, try part shade, and you won't go wrong. Set the plants in a rich, well-drained bed about 10 inches apart. Colors and plant sizes vary, so choose your favorites and plant them in masses or formal rows.
A taller flower suited to the middle or back of the border, zinnias are delight for kids to plant and watch grow. Make shallow rows in the soil and add the seeds about 6 inches apart. Barely cover them with dirt, and keep them moist. The seedlings show themselves within three weeks at 70 degrees, and just a few weeks after that, they bloom and keep blooming all summer long. Remove the wilted flowers to keep them blooming.
Marigolds produce gold, red and yellow and every combination, in flowers that grow anywhere from 6 inches to 3 feet tall with 4-inch blossoms. Buy them at the garden center, or plant them from seed. Make shallow rows in the garden and just cover the seeds, or plant them in a seed-starting flat near a sunny window eight weeks before the last frost. Keep the soil moist, and they will grow. Plant them outside a week after the last frost.
Bulbs, Corms and Tubers
Spring and fall seasons bring flower bulbs to the garden centers. It's hard to go wrong unless you don't follow planting directions. Choose from a wide variety of bulbs, corms and tubers or rhizomes to plant in your garden, but consider sunlight requirements before planting. Some larger bulbs such as dahlias need support for the large, very heavy flowers.