There are few home projects that compare to the benefits gardening provides. Not only does it create a natural beauty in your yard, but it’s also a great hobby, exercise and creative outlet. Though some are concerned about upkeep, you can burn between 300 and 400 calories for every hour spent moderately gardening, making it a worthwhile investment for your home and your body.
One of the biggest errors beginners make is choosing the wrong plant. This can leave homeowners discouraged and yards neglected. We’re here to make this easier with a few tips on how you can choose the right flowers and plants for your beautiful garden.
From growth to bloom, annuals live for just one season. Annuals are beneficial to any garden and any person who likes to get creative from year to year. These types of plants are typically cheaper than their perennial counterparts and will bloom all season long, so you have ample time to admire them. Some annuals are self-seeding, so you may end up with a few of the same flowers the following year. This is an important detail to remember if you intend on planting new annual flowers every year.
Here are some beautiful annuals to add color to your flower bed.
Similarly, biennial flowers follow the same cycle but last for two years. The first year, the plant grows and stems, but will not bloom. In the second year, the flower will bloom for the season, then die. Many biennials are self-seeding, but this depends on the flower. Blooming and growth typically depend on the climate as well. Climates with drastically changing seasons can treat biennials as annuals, as extremes can shorten the lifecycle.
Generally, it will take two years to see the flower in bloom. Biennials tend to be less common than other flower types in household gardens. However, your patience is worth it, as biennial flowers are stunning. Here are a few to consider planting.
- Black-Eyed Susan
- California Poppy
- Canterbury Bells
- Sweet William
For homeowners, perennials are particularly useful as they grow year after year. They have an expected lifespan of at least three years, but can stay alive for longer depending on care and weather conditions. Some perennials can be green ground covering plants, which is great to disperse between flowers for variations. Though they might last long in your garden, they tend to be a bit more expensive and do not bloom as long. Though, the upfront cost is offset by not having to replant your flowers every spring and should be considered in your landscaping budget.
Perennials are a great and colorful investment to your yard. They add variation and splendor to the garden year after year. Here are a few to consider adding.
- Bleeding Heart
- Butterfly Bush
Garden Factors to Consider
Now that you know the different lifespans of flowers you can plant, you must make sure the conditions are right for them to grow properly. A great garden has a mix of types and seasonalities, like planting annual and perennials. Flowers, like most plants, need specific conditions and factors to thrive depending on species. If you’re uncertain about what flowers will work best in your garden, contact a pro.
Any plant needs some amount of sunlight to grow. It’s important to be aware of how much sunlight your flowers need. There are five common sunlight classifications for flowers.
- Full-Shade: No direct sunlight here. This space will likely be on the north side of your home, under dense trees or shadowed by a neighbor’s home.
- Partial-Shade: Sunlight will reach the area for part of the day, either in the morning or afternoon.
- Light-Shade: Sunlight reaches the ground after passing through leaves of trees and bushes.
- Partial-Sun: Similar to partial-shade, however, these plants in this category can handle the midday sun.
- Full-Sun: These plants can withstand the midday sun and need at least seven hours of sunlight to thrive.
Many times, homeowners will write off a low sun area in their yard just because they don’t understand that there are some flowers that grow in shade. In fact, flowers such as forget-me-nots, coral bells, impatiens and primroses are beautiful choices that do well in shady spots. These plants will either stop growing or die in the midday summer sun. Always check the light requirements needed before planting.
When to Plant Flowers
Flowers can be very temperamental if planted in the wrong season. Depending on the climate you live in or how long it takes for the flower to grow and bloom, figuring out when to plant your garden can seem like a puzzle that is impossible to put together. Many flowers can’t survive moderate frosts, so be aware of your area’s predicted frost date to get an idea of when you can start planting.
If you have an idea on what flowers you’d like to plant, check this handy planting guide to end some of the frustration. If you’re in a warmer climate, you’ll want to start planting your garden around February, so the flowers will be blooming in early spring. Colder climates will need to wait a few months until about late April to expect blooms in mid-to-late summer.
If you’re excited to get planting, but live in a colder climate, you have the option of starting some seeds indoors and transfering outdoors when the warm weather arrives. You can create your own seed starter kit with materials you have at home like toilet paper and egg cartons, to make for easy outdoor transfers. When in doubt, check the packaging of the seeds or store bought starter plants.
This is an important step in the garden planning process. Not all flowers are small. Know what dimensions will work best in your garden plot. Then, research the dimensions of your intended flowers when they hit full maturity. If you want a mixed garden, know if the flower will continue to spread and plant as to not overtake the other plants. Some flowers, like sunflowers, grow very tall and could visually look disproportionate with your garden.
When to Water
A crucial element to any flower growth is water. In addition to sunlight, your garden will need water to be healthy. Water quantity requirements may vary by flower species and the amount of light it receives. Generally, you’ll want to pick a time to regularly water, either late in the evening or early in the morning. Keep all water distributed evenly, directed at the ground and not at the leaves of the plant, as this can create mold or burn marks from the midday sun. Choosing a quality soil to plant your flowers in will not only add nutrients to the flower, but likely will stay moist throughout the day.
Your garden is more than just a beautiful yard adornment; it’s an important part of your local ecology, and should be considered when planning a garden. When you’re planning the foliage you’d like to include in your flower bed, be sure include native plants. These plants have significant value to wildlife and are likely to thrive in your current climate. Plants that do well on the East Coast may easily die on the West Coast.
There are many benefits to the gardener as well. Native plants typically require lower maintenance and reduces the risk of invasive plants taking over your foliage. These plants also attract interesting wildlife such as butterflies and hummingbirds for you to enjoy.