Planting flowers - Gardening Series

When can I start planting flower seeds?

Are there flowers that come back every year?

Adding flowers into any garden will surely brighten it up!

We covered how to plan and prepare a garden's soil. We now move onto adding species into it. 

Don't need to overwhelm yourself. Start small – you can always add to it later on, enjoy yourself and the flowers of your labour.

Start with seeds from plants of your choice. Read the instructions carefully. It is important to plant your flowers in good soil, not too sandy and not too hard or damp. Take a clump of soil and crush it with your hand. If it is dense and does not crumble easily, it is too hard. Work the soil to a depth of about six inches and check whether you need to plant shallow or deep. When transferring plantings from pots into a garden, be gentle with the root structure. Remove excess soil. Depending on the plant, select an area that would allow for it to thrive. Most flowers like to be exposed to the sun to develop and grow. Six to eight hours of sunshine is a good rule of a green thumb (again, check the instructions for the particular flower). Generally, the less sunlight you have, the fewer the blooms. If there is too much shade you may get leaves but no blooms.  


Flowers need varying amount of water but most do well with deep watering. It is better to water deep and less frequent. Using a top cover of mulch helps to retain moisture. Overwatering can lead to rot. Generally, you want to water one to two inches per week. 

Once the plant starts to bloom, you can clip flowers off, use in beautiful bouquets and also snip off brown leaves so to help the plant continue growing. 

Many beautiful flowers are annuals. Annuals go through their whole life cycle in one growing season (seeds, leaves, roots, flowers, seeds, dying) and must be replanted each year. Examples are pansies, petunias and marigolds. Some flowers seed themselves and help produce flowers the following year. These are known as volunteers. The benefit of annuals is they enable you to change the look of your garden. By selecting different plants, you can really add to the street appeal with alternating colours each year.   

Biennials, on the other hand, need two years to mature. The first year focuses on food and leaf production with the second on flowers and seeds.

Perennials are species which return every year. Their root systems stay alive for years. While the part above ground may go dormant, below the surface the plant is alive and will sprout again. They may only bloom for a 2-3 weeks. Bulbs for tulips and daffodils require planting but the payoff is the dazzling colours displayed every spring. Many other choices of flowers will blossom at various times to be enjoyed through other seasons.


Annuals, biennials and perennials can all be sown from seed directly into a garden but may take time for them to sprout, develop and bloom, several weeks for annuals and up to a year for biennials and perennials. Annuals are once and done – plant them in the spring and once frost comes they're done. This may be easier than trying to protect the living roots of perennials and biennials.

You can germinate seeds indoors until the weather warms up enough to be transplanted outside. Alternatively, you can purchase sprouted plants and let them bloom in the garden. This process is a wonderful experience to see. If you live in a condo, you can still start a colourful garden inside using a smaller container. Ornamental grasses can serve as a lovely backdrop to your flowers and extend the colours throughout the year. You can also plant dwarf trees, shrubs and vines. Many of these also flower and add varied texture. The right shrubs and trees attract beneficial birds and insects. 

Have fun. Experiment. Growing annuals, biennials and perennials can be enjoyed by children and adults alike.

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Sources: How to Plant Flowers in 5 Easy Steps For a Garden Full of Color, Deb Wiley; W. Atlee Burpee & Co.; How to Grow an Amazing Flower Garden, Marie Iannotti. Pexels, Flowers Christine Clair; Tulips, Michal Knotek



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