Flowers can bring beauty to gardens and homes all year long. With knowledge of proper care and the fortitude to stick with it, anyone up to the challenge can have a yard brimming with colorful blossoms. Each new season brings with it new duties related to caring for flowers. Each new season brings opportunities for new varieties of blossoms, as well.
Fall and winter may not be the time of year most people think of when flowers are mentioned, but cool-season prep is key to a spring and summer of beautiful blossoms. Fall is the time to plant spring-blooming bulbs. The best time to get them in the ground is approximately six weeks before the first frost is expected in a region. Over the winter, these bulbs will change from a dormant state to beautiful flower-producing plants.
The cooler months are also the time to clean up gardens and landscaping. Though it is not necessary, perennials can be cut back to the ground at this time. This is also the time to take inventory of all plants and remove any that are diseased or insect infested. Gently raking or blowing leaves away from plants to avoid smothering and spreading a thin layer of compost over the soil are also beneficial tasks.
Though it is hard for fall and winter to compete with spring and summer in the flowering department, there are varieties of hardy flowers that can make a pretty display into late fall. Depending on the climate, some varieties may even provide some winter color. Daphne and winter jasmine are both cool-hardy flowers. Christmas Rose is resistant to frost and therefore a great option for those looking for blossoms in the cold months.
- Leaving perennials standing in the fall may be better than cutting them back.
- The hardiness of a bulb determines when it should be planted.
- Fall is a good time to divide perennials.
- Perennials should not be transplanted when in bloom.
- Spring-flowering bulbs must be planted in the fall.
- Snow can be good and bad for plants.
- Christmas Rose blooms outdoors in January.
- Plant hardiness varies from region to region.
Spring brings with it warmer temperatures and the emergence of those flowering bulbs that were planted months before. Crocus, daffodils, tulips, snowdrops, and more all appear with the onset of spring. Fertilizing these newly born plants is a key to their development. When the vegetation begins to peek through the ground, loosening the dirt and sprinkling fertilizer all around the plant will be beneficial to the foliage and the development of the flower.
Once the flowers have wilted, it is important to remove them so the plants do not waste energy and resources creating seeds. It is also necessary to remove the foliage. This should not be done until the foliage dies as the foliage plays a role in strengthening the bulb for the next season. For some spring-flowering bulbs, this can be as late as July.
In addition to the beautiful flowers that come from fall bulbs, flowering perennial plants are a great feature to add to a garden or landscaping area. Day lilies, purple coneflowers, asters, and garden phlox can add pops of color without the need for a lot of elbow grease. These can be planted in the fall, but are often planted in the spring when they are more readily available.
Spring flowers from bulbs and seasonally flowering perennials are beautiful parts of a flower garden, but it is annuals that generally provide the most color. Though they must be replanted each year, annuals can flower for months, creating a permanent rainbow of vegetation. Pansies and primrose can handle cool temperatures and are best planted early in the spring. Other annual varieties like marigolds, zinnias, and impatiens are less cool-hardy and best planted late in the spring. A wide variety of petunias have been developed over the years. A hardy flower providing vibrant color, petunias can be put in the ground after the last frost of the season.
- In order to remain hardy, perennials must be exposed to sun and cool temperatures.
- Organic mulch is best, because it acts as food for microorganisms in the soil.
Planting and watching flowers blossom is fun, but maintenance is key to their longevity. Deadheading is a must to keep plants blooming throughout the season. Deadheading is simply the process of removing wilted flowers so new ones can grow. Watering and fertilizing are also necessary. Spring rains often provide sufficient water, but when the dryer summer months arrive, watering becomes a necessity. When watering, it is best to avoid soaker hoses which may wet the leaves too much leading to mildew or black spot. Staking tall, heavy plants will provide the necessary support to keep them from breaking. Replenishing mulch over the course of the flowering season will improve soil productivity and keep weeds at bay.
- Valuable plant resources are wasted when deadheading does not occur.
- Exceptionally tall plants can benefit from being cut back by half in mid-summer.
- Flooding beds with water encourages root growth better than sprinkling.
Successfully caring for flower gardens requires effort and foresight. To enjoy the beauty, the hands must get dirty. The work required is worth the flowers produced. Provided with a little loving care, flowers will thrive and provide beauty and joy to all who have the opportunity to view them.