Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tips On Choosing Summer Annuals

Choosing the perfect summer annual plants for your flower garden can be a challenge. There are so many different types of annual flowers available it can seem daunting. However, with some proper planning, designing and planting the perfect summer flower garden can be a breeze.

First, determine where you would like to plant your flower garden. If you have not planted in that spot before, this may take some preparation. Mark off the area you would like to plant, remove the sod, and dig down and break up the soil with a shovel. If your soil is lacking in nutrients, or has a high clay or sand content, you may need to amend the soil. Bagged topsoil, compost, or manure is a good option for adding organic matter and nutrients to your soil.

Then, start choosing your plants. Determine how much sun your planting site gets. Different annuals have different requirements regarding sunlight, with some requiring full sun for the majority of the day, while some flowers love shade and will wither in the afternoon sun. Also consider your climate and soil, some plants require a moist soil and would not be a good choice for the desert southwest, while heat and drought tolerant plants might not thrive in the cool, damp Pacific northwest.

When designing a flower garden, you may want to select a color scheme. Flower gardens look best with a variety of colors that complement each other, such as blues, whites, and yellows together, or red, yellow, and orange. Also consider the height of the plants. Place taller plants in the back, medium height in the middle, and shorter or groundcover plants in the front of your flower bed. Unless the plant will be very large, most annuals look best in clumps. A good rule of thumb is clumps of three plants often is most pleasing to the eye.

After planting, take care to keep the plants well watered, especially in the first two weeks after planting, before their root systems have begun to develop and branch out into the soil. Water before the plant becomes so dry it wilts, but do not keep the soil soggy. Weekly fertilization will help your plant grow more vigorously and produce more flowers. Also, removing the old flowers as they begin to fade and produce seed will conserve the plant's energy and help increase blooms.

With these simple tips, all that stands between you and a beautiful summer flower garden is your imagination!