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Flowers for Sale - Buying & Growing Guide

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Flowers – Buying & Growing Guide

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by Mary Van Keuren | Gardener (30+ Years Experience) – last update on December 2, 2021

Almost all plants have flowers, but there are select ones we grow for glorious blooms. To brighten up your home and landscape, plant a few annual or perennial flowering plants and see how adding color gives your garden a new vibrancy and glow.

Types of Flowers

Type  Growing Zones Mature Height Sun Features
Shrub Roses; Rosa 4-9 1-16 feet Full sun: 6 or more hours of direct light a day Excellent border plants, good for cut flowers, and bloom from spring-fall
Orchids, Orchidaceae 6-11 1-12 feet 5-8 hours of indirect sun a day Commonly grown in containers, native to almost every continent, and thrive with extra humidity
Bee Balm, Monarda 4-9 Up to 3 feet Partial to full sun: at least 4 hours of direct light a day Perennial, attract pollinating insects, excellent border plant, and deer resistant
Impatiens, Impatiens 2-11 (perennial in zones 10-11) 10 inches to 2 feet Full sun to full shade Perennial grown as an annual, easy to grow, adaptable, and blooms all summer
Peonies; Paeonia 3-9 2-7 feet Partial to full sun; at least 4 hours of direct light a day Perennial, bloom in late spring to early summer, and excellent cut flowers
Lantana, Lantana camara Annual (perennial in zones 10-12) 1-6 feet Full sun: 6 or more hours of direct light a day Vivid white, orange, red, or purple flowers, blooms throughout summer, and deer resistant
Sunflower, Helianthus annuus Annual, zones 2-11 1-12 feet Full sun: 6 or more hours of direct light a day Flowers may be yellow, orange, red, or maroon, seeds are edible, and attract birds in the fall
Bearded Iris, Iris  germanica 3-9 2-4 feet Full sun: 6 or more hours of direct light a day Rhizomatic perennial, colors range from black-purple to white, and blooms in early summer
Lilac, Syringa vulgaris 3-8 4-12 feet Full sun: 6 or more hours of direct light a day Can be trained to tree or bush form, fragrant flowers are white to purple, and deer resistant
Water lily, Nymphaeaceae Hardy water lilies: zones 3-11; tropical water lilies: zones 10-11 6 inches Partial to full sun; at least 4 hours of direct light a day Flowers range from yellow, pink, and white to red, plant in containers placed in a pond

How to Plant Flowers

Every type of plant has its own unique requirements, but some factors are common to most flowering plants. Site your flowers carefully so they receive the correct amount of daylight. Failing to do so will lead to fewer blooms, and the plant will not thrive. 

Most flowers like well-drained soil that has been mixed with a shovel-full of well-rotted manure or compost before planting. Generally, feed your flowers with a balanced fertilizer in spring and summer, tapering off near autumn, since then the plant is preparing to shut down for winter if it’s a perennial. 

How to Grow Flowers

  • When. Most flowers are best planted in spring, after the danger of frost is past. A few, such as lilac bushes, should be planted in fall before the ground freezes, so they have a chance to acclimate before the next growing season. 
  • Where. Consider the size and shape of the mature plant before you decide where to plant it. You’ll want to avoid placing very tall plants, like some lilacs and sunflowers, under low-lying overhead power cables. 
  • How. Dig a hole that’s as deep as the seedling’s root ball and twice as large, place the plant in the hole and fill in around it with fertile soil. Water thoroughly, and mulch with an organic substance such as bark chips to conserve water.

How to Care for Flowers

  • Watering and nutrients. Many flowers need about an inch of water a week, if they do not receive this from rain, you may need to do supplemental watering. Most flowers benefit from a regular application of a balanced fertilizer, like 10-10-10, in spring.
  • Pruning. Some flowering plants need regular deadheading (i.e., removing spent blossoms) to keep the blooms coming. You’ll want to remove broken or diseased stems and branches whenever you see them.
  • Pollination. Flowers are a plant’s way of reproducing, and most flowers produce pollen that is transferred to other flowers or plants by way of insects, birds, or wind. Self-fertile flowers feature blooms with both male and female parts in a single flower.