To the beginning gardener, the concept of planting flowers is exciting but overwhelming. There are so many types, so many different planting periods, so much to consider. Walking into a nursery can make your head swim.
The first thing that’s important to remember as you head to a home improvement garden section or a nursery, is the employees are experts at gardening. They can help you pick the right flowers for the different areas of your home, give you some basic tips about how to care for different flowers and suggest the best flowers for your climate and how much time you want to invest in taking care of your them. But before you go in, you might want to arm yourself with some basic knowledge.
Perennial Flowers vs. Annual Flowers
It really comes down to just a few basic principles. You’ll want to know, for example, if you want to plant perennial flowers or annual flowers.
- Annual flowers are those that begin and end their entire lifecycle in one growing season. So you plant a seed or a small plant, it grows the foliage, then the flowers and the plant dies, all in the same year. They generally bloom from spring until the first frost of the autumn or winter, depending on your climate. Although you do have to replace them year after year, annual flowers tend to be the showiest with lots of colorful blooms.
- most popular annual flowers include zinnias, impatiens, petunias and marigolds.
- Perennial flowers grow for three or more years. Most perennial flowers have a relatively short season of bloom, but you can elongate your bloom season by combining several different types of species so something is always blooming.
- Generally there are more choices available in perennial flowers than annuals. Some of the most popular perennial flowers include hosta, peonies, daylilies, and garden mums.
The most popular – and generally successful – way to plant flowers is as seedlings or small plants. That is best done in the spring when the chance of frost is past.
If you want to plant from seed, you’ll need to start the seeds in February or March and keep them indoors or somewhere warm until sprouts appear and it’s safe to plant the seedlings in the ground. If you want to plant flowers from bulbs – like tulips or daffodils – you’ll need to get the bulbs in the ground in the fall so they are ready in the spring to bloom.
Photo of the Giant Hibiscus by flickr user shellys1