Planting Flowers isn't rocket science, but there are a few basics you should know and understand to give your flowers the proper start they need to thrive and survive.
When you buy nursery stock, they come from growers with years of experience and ideal growing conditions.
The right mixture of soil, water, food and light can make for conditions we can't offer.
So lush and green and often in full bloom.
They look so perfect, they are begging you to buy them.
Yes, the flowers almost scream out "Pick Me, Pick Me".
However, you don't want the ones in full bloom, you want strong green ones that are in bud and lots of them. This way they will flower for you much longer and if you don't have an area prepared yet, they can wait a couple of days.
Most garden centers don't mind if you take it out of the pot as long as you put it back. In fact I encourage it.
Look for the healthiest ones.
Gently tug the crown and pull it out of the pot and look at the roots.
Your future plantings should have healthy white colored roots.
If there are a lot of dark roots, keep checking.
Does the soil smell sour or rotten?
If so, keep checking.
Never mind if the roots are wrapping around, that can be taken care of later when you're Planting Flowers and Plants. You want white healthy roots and earthy smelling potting mix.
Prepare your sight where you intend on Planting Flowers and your new found beauties.
Make sure your greenery has a drink about 30 minutes before you intend on putting it in the ground. A hydrated plant is off to a better start than one that is stressed and then placed in the ground.
If you have good soil and the proper pH, go ahead and dig an area 2 times deeper and to times as wide as the pot is.
Fill in half the hole.
If you have poor soil, now is the time to improve or amend the area with rich organic matter.
Take your flowers out of the pot and fluff up the roots. Sometimes you may have to score them in a couple of places to loosen them up.
By doing this, it encourages it to grow new roots that can reach into the soft prepared area.
Place your new find into the hole and make sure the crown is at ground level. A crown that is to deep or to high above the soil will perish.
Back fill the hole and water it some.
If you feel the need to feed, go by the directions on the fertilizer container.
Do Not pack the soil down to firmly. The roots need oxygen too and packing the soil gets rid of the needed air pockets.
If possible, place high maintenance plants closer to your house where they can get the attention (More water etc.).
Just because a pot tag says drought tolerant doesn't mean it can survive without water.
Most drought tolerant flowers will do much better with a good watering and the first year is critical so they can get their young roots established.
As you become more experienced at Planting Flowers, you will find that you can have color most of the growing season.
With more and more cultivars coming on the market every year, color, choice and size are almost endless.
Plan your work and work your plan.
By planning ahead, you wont be digging and re-planting every year as they grow, Plan your gardens on paper with trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals spaced in their mature size.
It may look a bit thin now, but you will thank yourself later.
Many native perennials will do just fine with minimal care.
Look for natives that will attract certain butterflies, hummingbirds and bees.
Some flowers perform double and triple duty by offering nectar for some, seeds for others and yet as important they are hosts for certain butterflies.
Planting Flowers that perform multiple tasks are a key to any successful wildlife garden.
Don't be afraid to take a chance on bargain corners. By checking for a healthy root system and firm crown, sick corners or bargain areas can reward you with some excellent flora.
Don't be afraid to ask someone to mark a pot down if it looks damaged.
If you buy anything after September and you live in zone 6 and lower, you may want to mulch your gardens to keep the ground from heaving, which can kill your new garden creations.
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