Readying Your Plot
1. Get the best soil. Flowers, like all plants, need good soil in order to grow up strong and healthy. Regardless of whether you are planting your flowers in a pot or a garden, good soil is a must. Avoid soil that is heavy with clay, sand, or rocks, and that has a balanced pH near 7. Flowers need at least six inches of loose soil to start out growing in, so loosen up a top layer at least this deep.
- Test your soil’s pH level to determine if you need to add anything. If your soil has a low pH (high acidity) below 6.5, add in ground sulfur to neutralize it. High pH levels (too alkaline) can be rectified by adding in ground limestone. Both are available at garden centers.
- Add in organic materials to add nutrients to your soil. Decomposing leaves and plant matter mixed with your soil will help your plants to grow healthier and faster. Do this a few weeks or months before you plant your flowers so that the nutrients have time to thoroughly mix with the soil.
- Mix in some fertilizer. For an added nutrient boost, purchase a bit of fertilizer from a local garden center and mix it in with the soil. This can be done the day of planting, which makes it a quick alternative to weeks of adding organic matter.
2. Select your location. Although flowers are typically easy to grow, they can’t be grown just anywhere. An area with too much direct sun or too much shade will be difficult for some flowers to grow in. Find a happy medium with a location that has sun and shade throughout the day.
- If you have a specific plant in mind to grow, check the light preferences for that plant and choose your plot accordingly. You may end up wanting to choose an area with more or less sun than your original plot has.
- If you plan on planting several different types of flowers, choose ones with similar light/shade requirements so that they grow equally as well in the same location.
3. Decide on your flowers. Visit a local gardening center to choose the best flowers for your garden. Growing from seeds, a small plant, bulbs, or a cutting requires nearly the same process, so focus on flowers that you enjoy and that will add a beautiful appearance to your yard. Check the tags that come with the flowers or seed packets to make sure the flower is right for you.
- Look for the completed growth size of the flower. Will it become very large and bushy, or stay relatively small? Will it grow upwards and become tall or outwards like a vine?
- Ask about native flowers before looking at all the available varieties. Flowers indigenous to your area are already known to be successful growers in your soil, temperature, and humidity zones.
- Check to see if the flower you are growing is an annual or a perennial. Annuals bloom only once a year and must be replanted yearly, but are known for their bright colors and beautiful blossoms. Perennials grow back every year without needing to be replanted and will continue to grow larger over time.
- Read the tag for the watering requirements for the flowers. Some need water often, while others require it only infrequently. If you are getting multiple different species of flower, try to choose ones with similar watering requirements.
4. Plant at the right time. Even with the perfect soil, ideal location, and healthy flowers, if you don’t plant at the right time your garden will be ruined. Flowers don’t do well in weather that is too cold or very hot, so go with the time in between these periods: spring. Although planting in the spring may seem obvious, there is an art to choosing the perfect time. Wait to plant flowers till at least two weeks after the most recent frost, and avoid planting until temperatures at night stay above freezing on a regular basis.
- Use a farmers almanac to find the best time to plant flowers in your area. Because of differences in weather in different locations, flowers can be planted anywhere from February - July.
- Better to play it safe than sorry. Rather than risking freezing your plants out, plant a few weeks later (rather than earlier). You may have a shorter blooming period, but your flowers will be less likely to die.
- If you have your plants much too early, plant them in containers and start them out indoors. Use a heat lamp and daily waterings to keep them healthy until they can be transplanted outdoors.
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