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Wouldn’t you love to have a garden like the one on the photo above?
Whether your goal is to create curb appeal or try something new, flower gardening can be a rewarding experience. Flowers not only add beauty to your yard, but it can support beneficial insects, such as bees. Additionally, gardening has health benefits, such as lowering stress.
If you’d like to try flower gardening for the first time, I hope this guide to flower gardening for beginners will help you!
How To Start A Flower Garden
What You’ll Need To Start Your Own Flower Garden
- A gardening area
- A layout plan
- Seeds and/or starter plants
- Organic mulch
- A hand trowel
- A shovel
- A hose or watering can
And, if applicable:
- Seed starting trays
- Seed starting mix
- Pruning shears
- Soil amendments (whatever’s needed)
- Raised beds
Follow These Steps
Choose An Area For Your Garden
The amount of sunlight your garden gets will determine what you can grow there. If you’re set on growing a certain species, choose a location that meets its light requirements. For example, lavender thrives in full sun. Some shade-tolerant flowers include:
- Hellebore (Lenten Rose)
- Lamium (Dead Nettle)
- Tiarella (Foamflower)
- Toad Lily
Besides sunlight, you should also consider soil quality, drainage, and your local climate.
You can amend soil, but it’s easier to plant flowers compatible with whatever soil you have. As for drainage, some plants (such as lavender) don’t tolerate flooding. Others, such as irises, do.
You may have to compensate for your local climate. Placing plants in a shady or sheltered area can protect them from heat and cold breezes.
Perennials, Annuals, Or Both? You Decide
For this step, don’t choose your flowers yet. Just decide if you’ll plant perennials, annuals, or both.
As a somewhat lazy gardener, I like perennials because I don’t have to replant them. But a downside to some, such as flowering shrubs, is that they’re difficult to move once established.
If you decide to plant perennials, choose their locations carefully so you can enjoy them for years. Well-placed perennials may even increase the value of your home.
Of course, some of the most beautiful flowers are annuals. If you decide to plant annuals, you’ll have to do more planning for the seasons.
To enjoy continuous perennial and/or annual blooms, plant flowers for different seasons in the same garden. If your area is warm enough, you can grow winter-friendly flowers, such as:
- Algerian Irises ( Zones 7a – 9b)
- Camellias (Zones 7 – 10)
- English Primroses (These varieties grow in Zones 3 – 8)
- Hellebores (Zones 6 – 9)
- Pansies (biennials in Zones 4 – 8, annuals in Zones 8 – 11)
- Sweet Alyssum (Zones 9 – 11)
Choose Your Garden Theme (Optional)
For an exceptional flower garden, give it a theme. Will your garden have a certain color tone? Will it have a cottage vibe? Will it look wild or manicured?
You may enjoy having a moon garden, which is designed to be enjoyed at night. To create a moon garden, choose flowers that open at night and are either light-colored (so they’ll reflect moonlight) or smell beautiful.
Gardening Know How recommends these flowers for a moon garden:
- Mock orange
- Night-blooming jasmine
- Sweet Autumn clematis
Choose Your Flowers (And Other Plants)
From bell-shaped foxgloves to saucer-like sunflowers, there are flowers of many shapes, sizes, and colors you could plant. Choose flowers that are compatible with your decisions made in Steps 1-3.
If you’d like, you may also choose plants grown primarily for their foliage. These may complement your flowering plants, and — if they’re evergreen — stay beautiful through the winter. Hostas are a nice (but not evergreen) option – just know that some critters find them tasty.
Some plants have the best of both worlds — gorgeous flowers and foliage. An example is the Chinese fringe flower, a purple shrub that blooms in spring.
Design Your Garden Layout
Your flower garden can be as simple or elaborate as you’d like. I personally love the simplicity of a wildflower garden, for which you scatter seeds over an area and wait to see what grows! And this past summer, I planted sunflowers and wildflowers, with the tallest in the back and the shortest in the front. It put on a beautiful show for months!
Your layout could also be a shape, such as a circle around a tree. Or you could create multiple flower beds, hang flowers in pots, or even grow vining plants on trellises. The possibilities are endless!
Here’s a cool landscaping trick — look up your address on Google Maps. An aerial view of your yard can help you visualize the perfect garden layout. You can even take a screenshot and draw over it in a program like MS Paint or GIMP.
Start Seeds Indoors (If Applicable)
Certain flowers, such as sunflowers, are easier to plant as seeds in the ground. Others, such as pansies, are best started indoors. Starting plants indoors gives them a head start and protects them from the elements while they’re young and tender.
To start seeds indoors, fill a seed starting tray with seed starting mix. Soak the mix with water. Then, plant a seed in each cell. Keep the mix moist until the seedlings are large enough to transplant.
Test The Soil
The pH of the soil can help with or hinder plants from absorbing nutrients. While some plants (such as hydrangeas) can tolerate a wide pH range, others have more specific requirements. Most plants thrive in soil with a pH level of 6 to 7.
Your soil may or may not be nutritious enough. To determine its nutrition level and pH balance, either test your soil with a kit or send it to be tested at your local cooperative extension office.
Prepare Your Soil
Make your soil hospitable for whatever you’re going to grow.
For plants requiring high soil drainage, such as lavender, you may need to build a raised bed and fill it with sandy soil. For wildflowers, you may just need to dig up an area so it’s bare soil. If your soil doesn’t have the right pH, adjust it as needed or choose more compatible plants.
For whatever plants you’ve chosen, you can probably find soil preparation instructions online.
Direct Sow Or Transplant
When the weather’s right and the threat of frost is gone, directly sow seeds or transplant flowers into your new garden. If transplanting, use a hand trowel to dig small holes in the ground and carefully transfer a plant to each one. Be mindful of spacing requirements.
Some of your seeds may be duds. To get around this, plant more than you need for each square foot and thin the resulting seedlings.
Lay Down Organic Mulch
A thick layer of organic mulch will retain water, prevent weeds, and enrich the soil. Spread it around your plants, being careful not to cover any. Good materials include leaves, pine straw, and wood chips. By the way, it’s a myth that pine straw significantly acidifies soil.
Also, you may be able to get free wood chips from a tree-cutting business or your local yard waste facility. Call and ask!
Water Your Flowers As Needed
Different plants have different water requirements. In general, they need more when they’re young or recently transplanted. Follow watering guidelines for whichever species you’ve planted.
In general, the best time to water plants is in the early morning. Their foliage dries quickly as the sun rises, reducing the risk of fungal disease. A morning watering also soaks the soil more thoroughly than a midday watering, since the cooler temperatures reduce evaporation.
Fertilize Your Flowers As Needed
Depending on what you’re growing, the quality of your soil, and what you’re using as mulch, you may be able to skip this step. Look up fertilizer guidelines for your plants.
You can use synthetic fertilizers, but I’m a big fan of compost. If you use a synthetic fertilizer, follow the directions on the bottle. If you opt for compost, joegardenerTV explains how and why to spread it around plants:
Prune As Needed
Some plants, such as rose bushes, need to be pruned to look their best. Look up and follow pruning directions for your plants.
What To Call Flower Gardening?
If you grow flowers in a non-professional context — especially as a hobby — you engage in flower gardening. But if you professionally farm flowers, you engage in floriculture, a branch of horticulture that involves flowers and ornamental plants.
What To Know About Flower Gardening?
Planting flowers for beginners can be as simple as sowing some seeds, keeping them moist, and watching them grow. It can also be complicated, depending on what you plant. For the best results, choose plants that thrive in your local conditions.
I Hope You Enjoyed This Guide To Flower Gardening For Beginners!
Regardless of experience, flower gardening can be fun for anyone. It’s also good for you, and it can improve a vegetable garden via companion planting and attracting beneficial insects.
I can only say so much in a single blog post. For a more in-depth guide to flower gardening, you may want to get one of these books. If you’re completely new to gardening, you may benefit from reading Gardening Basics For Dummies .
Did you enjoy this tutorial on flower gardening for beginners? If so, please share it! Please also share your thoughts in the comments.
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