Ornamental flowering plants are categorized in two broad groups: perennials and annuals. Planted in the right spot and cared for correctly, perennials bloom season after season. Where as annuals must be replanted each year. You may prefer a mix of perennials and annuals. The advantage of perennial plants is that they last from year to year. The downside is that it may require more care than annuals. Flowering plants may need more care throughout its growing cycle.
How To Select Ornamentals
Even for an experienced gardener, a successful flowerbed can be a process of trial and error. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes—but keep a log so you won’t make the same one twice! Do arm yourself with information that can increase your chances of achieving beautiful results:
Purchase ornamentals that are well-suited to your region.
Consider where you will plant your seedlings. Is it an area in full sun, partial shade or full shade? Ornamental varietals typically have strong preferences for light exposure, so be sure to consult the label or a nursery expert for advice. Another idea is to survey your neighborhood to identify successful plantings. Notice especially where varieties seem to thrive—for example, in the shade, in partial or full sun, on eastern or western exposures, on high or low ground.
Plant seedlings at the right time of the season—too early in the spring and they may be vulnerable to frost; too late, and heat may overwhelm them as they are taking root. If you are planting fall flowers, plant early in the season to avoid frost damage to rooting plants.
If a variety you love fails to thrive, don’t give up. You may have completely different results in a different spot in your garden.
- Seedlings and small plants grown in containers are a beginning gardener’s best friend.
Shop at a reputable nursery staffed by experienced, helpful gardeners—and ask questions!
Beginners may have better luck if they start with a seedling rather than from seed
If you travel frequently or live in a challenging climate, consider indigenous plants that will not require constant attention.
How To Design A Planting Scheme
- Work with color like you would in a room: a palette of four colors can be sophisticated, but be sure to concentrate color in enough mass (for example, a beautiful, thick spread of purple blooms in a bed composed of purple, white and pink) to make an impact.
- A fabulous planter, urn or box filled with flowering plants can become a focal point for your porch or deck.
- Or try a monochromatic scheme: white flowers only with a variety of greenery; masses of yellow daffodils or daylilies in a conspicuous area of the garden.
- Plant annuals that bloom at different seasons so there will be color in your garden year-round.
How To Plant Ornamentals
The key is proper bed preparation. Before you turn the soil to soften and aerate it before you set in your plants, rid the area of weeds, make sure the soil drains properly, and add in some organic nutrients with a potting blend like GRO-WELL Annual & Perennial Potting Mix. In some cases, you may also need to add some fertilizer as you plant, and if your soil is depleted by chemicals or if it is very dry and hard, a soil amendment product. GRO-WELL offers a number of useful products that can help you prepare your flowerbeds for a successful growing season. Consult your GRO-WELL retailer for advice.
Hydrate plants before you set them in the ground. Most seedlings should be planted as deep in the ground as they were in their container. This can vary, however, so ask your nursery expert for specifics. If you are transplanting perennials to another location, wait until they have flowered, then cut them back halfway just before the move. Water thoroughly before and after the move. Transplants are trickier when attempted out of season.
The Purpose Of Mulch
A layer of mulch in your flowerbeds not only looks tidy, but also acts as a blanket to help hold moisture, discourage weeds and keep temperatures at a comfortable level.
Fertilizing Your Flowerbeds
Choose the right organic fertilizer for your soil and the flowers in your planting beds. Resist the temptation to over-fertilize as this may force blooms to open too soon and all at once. Consult your GRO-WELL retailer for advice about fertilizing.
Mulch and proper bed preparation can discourage weed growth, but flowerbeds will probably need to be tended periodically. Consult your GRO-WELL retailer for information about organic products that help control weeds.