Gardeners in the Midwest have a variety of climate considerations to deal with. The changing seasons bring different growing conditions to the different regions of the Midwest. As many as five or six different USDA growing zones are included in the Midwestern states, with temperature and rainfall extremes also presenting challenges. Midwestern gardeners welcome flowering plants that are reliable, healthy bloomers.
Snapdragons are colorful annuals that will reseed readily if seedpods are allowed to form on mature plants. Start new plants from seed, or use cuttings to multiply existing plants. Snapdragon seeds require 10 to 20 days to germinate, so start snapdragons indoors at least eight weeks before you will set the plants outside in the garden. Snapdragons are somewhat tolerant to light frost, and they can be transplanted outdoors in early spring but keep mulch handy to cover the plants in case heavy frost occurs unexpectedly. Remove spent flower spikes to keep the plants blooming and to encourage bushiness. Snapdragons bloom in a host of pastel and bright colors, and they attract bees and hummingbirds. Cut the long flower spikes to use in fresh flower arrangements; certain varieties are sweet-scented. Extreme heat may cause snapdragons to stop blooming.
Annual nasturtiums should be planted where they are to grow, as they do not transplant well. They may be grown in pots, in hanging baskets or directly in the garden. Sow nasturtium seeds after the last frost when the ground is warm. Plant the seeds about 1/2 inch deep in regular soil in full sun. For the best blooms, do not fertilize nasturtiums. The flowers appear about 50 days after planting. Nasturtium flowers are red, orange, gold, yellow, rose or sometimes bi-colored. The edible flowers are used as garnish and in salads.
Shasta daisies are favorites in Midwestern gardens. They are hardy perennials that withstand the many weather challenges in the Midwest, and they bloom reliably with little maintenance. Shastas are hybrid daisies, and are most easily propagated by divisions. Mature clumps may grow to be 30 inches tall, with the cheerful flowers borne atop stems throughout the clump. Fertilize lightly, and mulch with compost in the spring to keep Shasta daisies healthy. They need plenty of water and well-drained soil. Trim the dead flowers throughout the season, and Shasta daisies will bloom from early summer until frost.