How to Plant Flowers

A Step-by-Step Guide to Flower Planting

Flowers make the world a happier place, don’t you think? Even if you have a brown thumb, we’ve got the how-to guide to make it easy to add pops of color to your landscaping with flowers.

Choosing Easy, Beautiful Flowers to Grow

Picking the right flowers for your space is the first and most important step. After all, you don’t want to spend the time and money on planting flowers if they won’t thrive.

If you have a large space, it’s probably best to choose a mix of perennial flowers (which come back year after year) and annuals (plants that only last for one season). That way you are only replanting a portion of your garden each year, but still have the flexibility to mix it up. If it’s a small space or a container, go crazy with annuals if that’s what you like best.

You’ll want to pay attention to the amount of daily sunlight your planting area gets. But don’t worry, there are garden plants that thrive even in shade. The most vibrant flowers do tend to prefer full sun however. Simply read the plant’s label for sun requirements or ask a garden center employee to help you pick the right ones.

Think about the colors and layout you’d like to see too. We think the more colors the better, but you might have a few faves you think look great together. And a good guideline is to place your taller plants in the back, followed by mid size and then shortest in the front. If you are planting in a container or a round bed, you can use the same rule by planting taller plants in the center and working your way out.

Most people like to plant flowers in the spring. There are many beautiful spring-flowering plants to choose from. But don’t forget to think about what your garden will look like in the summer and even fall! You can choose a variety of flowers that will give you rolling blooms of color throughout the season.

How to Plant Flowers

This is the fun and rewarding part. Start by gathering the tools and materials you’ll need to have at the ready.

Planting Materials

You’ll need:

  • Flowers!
  • Rich garden soil with an organic component
  • Garden trowel or small shovel
  • Mulch

You may want:

  • Gardening gloves
  • Knee mat
  • Sun protection
  • Cultivator (The small rake-looking tool that can be helpful in turning the soil and roughing up root balls).

Prepping the Ground for Flower Planting

This step can be hard work, but we promise it will be worth it! Having healthy, well-prepped soil for your plants is critical.

First, remove any old plantings. Really get in there and get rid of old root systems so you can give your new plants plenty of room to grow. Next, turn and work the soil to a depth of about 12 inches. Plants need space between soil particles for roots to branch out and grow properly. Avoid digging or handling soil when it’s wet to prevent compaction.

Finally, spread two to three inches of quality potting soil on top of your planting area and mix it into your tilled ground. This will improve your soil’s structure and add essential nutrients.

Dig and Plant Your Flowers

Once your soil is prepped, it’s time to get those beauties in the ground!

Start by reading your plant labels. Each plant will have a different depth and spacing requirement. As a rule of (green) thumb, dig a hole two to three times wider than the pot the plant has been grown in. As for the depth, you’ll want the top of the root ball to be at ground level.

Carefully wiggle the plant to get it out of its container. Once you’ve removed the plant, rough up the roots with your hands or a cultivator to encourage them to spread out beyond the compacted shape of the planting pot. While the hole is open, deeply water the roots of the plant. Then, cover with tilled soil and tamp down.

Spread a thin layer of untreated wood mulch all around the base of the plant. Not only does mulch act as a weed barrier, it shades the soil from the sun so it doesn’t dry out as fast (and you can water less!) If you planted seeds or very small flower plants, wait until they are a few inches high before spreading mulch.

How to Make Flowers Last Longer

You planted a beautiful flower bed! Be sure to maintain your flowers to keep them healthy and lasting all through the season.

After the initial watering, you’ll want to water your flowers any time the soil feels dry. Most likely this will be every few days. It’s better to deeply water than water less, more frequently. This encourages roots to grow and follow the water into the ground. Remember, it’s easier to revive a plant that hasn’t gotten enough water than too much.

Check your bed every few days. Pull weeds, prune dead leaves, deadhead spent flowers and fertilize once or twice a season. If you want extra credit, winterize your beds at the end of the growing season. Clean up sticks and leaves and add a fresh layer of mulch to keep in moisture and make sure next spring’s weeds don’t get a head start.

Landscape Services in Northern Virginia

Landscaping is the jewelry of a home – it doesn’t look finished without it! And flowers add that extra curb appeal and softening to hardscapes. Outdoor Spaces incorporates landscape design into every project. Landscaping experts will work with you to add color and warmth to your home that will last for years to come.