How to Plant Annual Flowers
Spring has sprung! It is such a wonderful time of year. Everything is in bloom–the trees, flowers, and bushes, the birds are singing, and it is time again to plant the wonderful annuals that will provide months of color in the flowerbeds. The following will provide a brief example of how to plant annuals, although each plant has specifics on planting (distance/spacing, sun/shade, and watering) that should be followed to ensure proper room for growth, this will provide the basic how to on planting.
Picking the Right Flower
The first step to planting flowers is to find the right variety to plant in your location. Understanding how much sun the plants will receive throughout the day is a key element to choosing the right flower. If you do not own a green house of your own, or do not have time to sow seeds, the best alternative is to buy starter packs from your local store. Before purchasing plants, estimate shade (less than one hour of direct sun light if any), partial shade (at least 4 hours without direct sunlight), and full sun for your area then head off to the local greenhouse or garden store to find the right flower. Do-it-your-self stores such as Lowes, Home Depot or Menards provide quality plants at lower prices. Greenhouses and specialty stores will provide higher quality plants and also staff members that can go the extra mile to ensure you are choosing the right variety for your location. For this example we have chosen Pansies and are planting them in a partially shaded area of the garden. This plant thrives in cooler temperatures, so full sun in mid-July would not do the plant very much justice!
Planting Pansies and other Annuals
NOTE: Many annuals are not frost tolerant. Wait until the threat of the last frost for your area has passed before planting, or be prepared to cover your plants as needed if the temperatures drop during the night.
Step 1: Clear the ground of any debris and weeds.
Step 2: Loosen the soil (about 6 inches deep) in the area for planting using a garden trowel or shovel.
Step 3: Dig several holes about 2.5 inches in diameter and about 6 inches apart.
NOTE: Pansies can stand a little crowding, but follow the directions on the plant tag or from the gardener staff member at the greenhouse for other plant varieties.
Step 4: Carefully remove each individual plant from the six-pack. This can easily be accomplished by ripping the plastic container as shown.
NOTE: The pansies shown here were purchased on discount at a local retailer. The plants can only last so long in the small containers before the roots overcome the small space. To save money, purchase plants on clearance or discount and take a few extra steps to ensure proper root formation.
Step 5: Separate the roots by gently splitting the bottom of the packed dirt. This will allow the roots to head in different directions to find what and nutrients allowing a greater chance of survival for the plant.
Step 6: Place the plant into the hole with the roots spread apart (similar to a person doing the splits).
NOTE: The dirt/root ball should be just below the level of the ground to prevent the plant stem from breaking.
Step 7: Water the roots of the flower directly prior to covering with soil (about 8 to 12 fluid ounces per plant).
Step 8: Cover the roots with the loose soil that was previously removed from the hole.
NOTE: Pack the dirt securely around the plant to ensure it is not uprooted by wind or rain.
Step 9: Continue with the rest of the plants and then lightly water the soil around the plants.
Step 10: Remove all flowers by cutting with scissors to allow the plants to establish a strong root system.
NOTE: Removing all the flowers as they wither will provide a longer blooming season for pansies. This prevents the plant from going to seed too quickly.
Pansies like moist soil, so water the soil deeply with each watering (one to two times per week depending on the natural weather patterns of your area). Provide a good layer of mulch or organic material around the plants to prevent weeds and to finish the look of your landscape project. Pansies, as well as other annuals, come in a variety of colors. Take the time to create a pattern or color scheme you will enjoy for the coming months.
Do you have planting tips or would you like to share a success story of your favorite variety? We would love to hear your how to. Feel free to post any questions or comments.