Flower gardening from seed is an inexpensive way to landscape a yard. Planning the layout of the various gardens and flowerbeds in your yard will ensure that you meet the needs of each plant. Healthy plants produce beautiful and fragrant blossoms. There are several steps to growing a flower, including the site characteristics, soil conditions, plant traits and your reason for planting the flowers, such as to attract bees and butterflies to pollinate nearby vegetable plants. After you complete the planning stage, then proceed with planting your flowers.
Evaluate the amount of sunlight for each planned flowerbed. Determine whether it is shady, has bright morning light or hot afternoon sun. Usually, flowerbeds on the east side of the house have protection from the afternoon sun while those on the west side will bask in it.
Test the soil pH and note other conditions of your chosen site. These other conditions include the type of soil — clay, sandy, mucky or well-drained — and the depth available for planting. For example, if you are planning a rock garden, then you need to choose plants with roots that stay close to the surface if the rock garden is shallow.
Measure the size of your garden and compare this with the mature size of the flowers that you want to plant. This will allow you to avoid having to transplant a crowded garden and interrupting the flowering process. You will also avoid the mistake of planting tall flowers in the front of the flowerbed, as they would block sunlight from the shorter plants.
Choose varieties of flowers that grow well in your USDA hardiness zone. If you want to grow flowers designed for a different zone, investigate whether they grow well as container plants so you can over-winter them indoors.
Prepare the soil by digging to the necessary depth and adjusting the pH, if necessary. You can lower the pH by mixing in a used coffee grounds. Some flowers, such as English lavender, thrive in alkaline soil while other plants, including camellias and marigolds, will only blossom in soil with a pH lower than 6.0.
Place any needed trellises or stakes in the garden before planting the seeds or seedlings to avoid damaging the tender roots.
Plant the seeds according to package directions for the variety you have chosen. If you want early spring blooms, then start the seedlings indoors approximately six to eight weeks before the last frost. Plant the seeds directly in the garden if your area has passed the last frost.
Choose an appropriate fertilizer for each type of flower. Fertilize them as recommended on the package. If the plant is a perennial that needs time to harden before the first frost, then do not fertilize it late in the season. Plants need at least 30 days to harden.
Check the leaves of the plant at least once a week for any signs of pests or disease. Treat and problems immediately to prevent them from spreading throughout your garden.
Deadheading of some species of flowers encourages more or larger blossoms.
You can find guides for growing many of the more commonly planted flowers at the Cornell University website. A link is in the Resources section.