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How to care for flowers in a garden

Last month, we talked about all the lovely flowers of spring. This month let’s talk about how to plant them in our gardens! One of the things I love about the summer months is the ability to plant colorful flowers. It is important to know which annuals will survive our summer heat. Some great options that can be found at your local nursery are celosia, vincas, potato vine, zinnias pentas and cosmos. All of these are beautiful, colorful options!

After you have selected the right flower choice for your garden beds, you will want to make sure that you plant at the right time. These annuals have started their growing season in a warm and cozy greenhouse, which means it is important that you plant when the cool spring days are long gone. Planting on a cloudy day also helps keep the immediate shock of the summer heat from affecting your new plants. Do we ever get cloudy days in Arizona? Not really! One suggestion would be to plant towards the early evening, when the sun is going down and the new plants are not at risk of burning. The overnight hours will give the new plant time to adjust to its new environment for the heat of the following day.

I always try to lay out my plants before putting them in the ground. I am a designer at heart, so I always like to have a plan before making permanent decisions! Begin by digging your holes so that you are ready for planting. Once you are ready to plant, ensure that all the annuals are moist in their container. I always squeeze the container to loosen the root ball and then gently flip the container over while continuing to squeeze the container. The annual will gently slide out of the container and then you can install them in the pre-made hole that was dug for that plant. When you are laying out your design, be sure to allow for plenty of room for the annuals to grow.

There are two key factors in the success of your beautiful outdoor garden: sun and water. Since rain is scarce in the hot Arizona months, I always recommend having an irrigation drip system installed in your garden beds. It will save you from hauling a watering can to water your annuals several times per day. I recommend watering early in the morning and late in the afternoon to cool your plants off. When you are selecting your plants, you will also want to ensure that you read the label to see exactly how much sun they need to continue the flowering process. Most summer annuals are direct sun (more than 8 hours per day), partial sun (about 4 – 6 hours per day) or shade (less than 4 hours per day).

Any good florist will tell you that the best flowers are the wild ones! Always be sure to enjoy your newly planted annuals both outside and inside! You can cut your blooms from your summer annuals and enjoy them inside as well. Cutting the blooms off will also encourage new growth and a healthy plant. It is always important to prune your garden beds by trimming off dead leaves or flowers, getting rid of the weeds and ensuring the annuals have enough room to grow and spread their beautiful blooms! Happy planting!

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