Annuals, those flowers which live for only one year, are easy to grow and, with proper maintenance, flower all season long. Selection and garden preparation are crucial to a healthy flower garden. Before planting any flowers, take note of the environmental conditions, including the micro-climate, of your garden. Base your decision on which annuals you’ll use in your garden, in part, on your findings. Determine how much sun and shade your garden receives, note the gardens exposure and test your gardens soil. Though most annual flowers prefer sun there are a few, such as impatiens and begonias, which will tolerate shade. A garden in front of north facing wall which is exposed to cold winds may not be ready to planted as soon as a garden in front of a south facing wall. Dry, hot climates aren’t suitable for annuals which need lots of water and cool temperatures. Also, think about how much time you’ll be able to spend on caring for the garden as annuals require a bit more maintenance than perennial flowers.
Soil preparation is essential when planting annuals. Nutrient rich, organic, well drained soil is ideal for an annual garden. Prior to planting, turn over and enrich the garden soil by tilling in some compost or manure. This will also increase the soils ability to hold water. Poorly drained clay soils will benefit from the addition of both compost and sand.
Consider what colors you want to plant and plan your garden on paper before you head out to the greenhouse. Cool colors, such as blue and purple, make a space feel larger then it is while warmer colors, such as red and orange, create a more intimate feeling.
Starting annuals requires more skill and patience but will give you more choices Buying established plants is a bit more expensive than buying seeds but the payoff is instant.
Buying Your Plants
Become familiar wit the plants you are purchasing before hand. Take note the plant’s sun, soil and water requirements while keeping in mind your gardens conditions. Look for short, young, stocky plants and check the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. If there are roots poking out of the holes there is a chance that the plant is root bound. If the plant looks healthy, however, it will probably flourish once it is roots are loosened and it is planted in the garden. Choose flowers with lots of buds but which have few flowers in bloom. Although those blooms are pretty, they’re a sign that that the plant has started putting too much energy into flowering when you want it to first put energy into root development at planting time.
Lastly, avoid buying flowers which look stressed, dry or otherwise unhealthy.