Planting flowers in your landscape brings color and interest to your garden beds and borders. Most flowers are either annual or perennial; perennial flowers return each year and annuals require replanting each spring. Preparing your garden properly and planting your flowers correctly is necessary to ensure that they thrive in your landscape throughout the growing period.
Choose the Location
Choose a location that is suitable for the type of flowers you wish to plant. Most flowers require six to eight hours of sunlight a day along with a well-draining garden bed that is rich in organic matter. Pick an area away from tree roots, as the roots may rob nutrients from the flowers and the branches shade the bed. Check the plant label or seeds prior to planting to find out the exact requirements, as some plants that bloom better in shade.
Prepare the Site
Most flowers do not compete well with weeds, plus weeds cause the bed to look messy and unkempt. Weed the bed thoroughly before planting and remove any large roots or rocks in the soil. Apply an herbicide for severe weed problems, but keep in mind that herbicides can kill flowers as well. Follow the recommendation on the herbicide label on how long to wait before planting flowers after use.
Ammend the Soil
Most flowering plants do best in soils that are rich in organic matter. Compost adds this organic matter and also helps drainage in heavy clay soils. Lay a layer over the bed prior to planting and till it in at least 6 inches. Fertilizer is necessary for perennial plants. Annuals may not require fertilization, but it may lead to larger flowers throughout summer. Perform a soil test to find out the exact fertilizer needs, or use a general-purpose fertilizer following the rate recommended on the label.
Time the Planting
Plant seeds and transplants outside at the time recommended on the seed packet or plant label. Most flowering annuals are planted in spring just prior to or just after the last expected frost. Perennial plants are usually set out once all danger of frost passes in spring, though some perennials and bulbs like daffodils are planted in fall.
Sow the Seedlings
Set transplants and seedlings into the bed at the same depth they are at in their nursery pots. Follow the spacing requirements on the plant label. Plant seedlings outside on an overcast day or in the afternoon to minimize damage from the sun. Sow seeds to a depth twice that of their circumference, and spaced as recommended on the seed packet. Broadcast small, fine seeds on the soil's surface, then lightly rake them over so they are in contact with the soil.
Water the Flowers
Water after planting, whether you are sowing seedlings or seeds. Immediate irrigation collapses the air pockets in the soil around the roots, allowing the plants instant access to moisture and nutrients. Generally, flowers require 1 to 2 inches of water a week. This is best supplied in a single weekly deep irrigation as opposed to frequent shallow watering. Apply a layer of mulch over the garden bed to help retain moisture in the soil between watering.
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