Choosing, planting and growing flowers can be a bit overwhelming when you are first starting out in your garden. Just keep it simple to start and take it step by step. A few basic tips about choosing, planting and growing flowers will make the whole process much easier. You will be pleased by the results you receive.
When you go to a local nursery or garden center, you will most likely find flower plants that grow well in your particular location. However, if you purchase plants online, this may not be true. Make sure the flowers you choose are specified to grow in your USDA plant hardiness zone. The United States is divided into zones 1 through 11 based on lowest average temperature: for example, zone 1 is in Alaska and zone 11 is in Hawaii. When zone numbers are listed on flower plant information cards, it is usually listed in zone variances, such as zones 3 through 5. This means that the plant will do well in the coldest average temperatures of zone 3 and in the warmest average temperatures of zone 5.
When working out a design for your flower garden, choose a combination of perennials (plants that come back year after year) and annuals (which need replanting every year). Perennial flowers, including bushes and flowering trees, will grow larger each year, offering shade, height and depth to your garden. You might wonder why you wouldn't just plant perennials so you wouldn't have to replant every year. Perennial flowers generally don't bloom as long as annuals. Annual flowers will usually last from spring, through summer and into fall until the first frost. Annual flowers give you the opportunity to change the variety and color mixture each year. They can also fill in gaps where perennial flowers have not yet matured.
Choose flowers according to their shade/sun tolerance. Most flowers love sun, but there are a few that will tolerate light shade. Impatiens, coleus, wax begonias and dwarf salvias are annuals that will do well in slightly shaded areas. Some perennials to consider for those shady areas are perennial begonias, calla lilies, hardy primrose and the balloon flower. When choosing perennial flowers, also consider the location where you wish to plant it in terms of its mature height and width expectancy.
Before you put any plants into your new garden, amend the soil. Compost is a miracle soil fixer. It will help a naturally clay-based soil drain better. It will help a sand-based soil hold on to moisture better. It adds nutrients for your growing flowers. No matter what type of soil you have, you can't go wrong by adding compost to it. Dig up the soil with a shovel or pitchfork. Lay about 2 inches of compost over the area and work it into the original soil. This one easy step will make all the difference in the health of your flowering plants.