March 12th is National Plant a Flower Day and there’s no better time to start planting, growing, and enjoying flowers in your garden or perched on a windowsill. Each year, National Plant a Flower Day celebrates a new growing season. So dust off your gardening tools; it’s spring!
Planting Flowers in the Garden
What flowering plants bloom in early spring?
When home gardeners think of flowers that bloom in the early, at times chilly, days of spring, flower bulbs come to mind. Some flowering plants that start from bulbs that bloom before the last winter snow melts. Here’s a list of early-blooming bulbs to plant and enjoy:
Flower: Deep blue, pale blue, purple and white
Crested Iris Care: Popular for it’s blue to white spring flowers, crested Iris is often seen in gardens in the Southeastern U.S. Crested Iris prefers a rich, well-drained garden soil, with an acidic pH (<6.8).
It is heat tolerant but prefers to grow in a shady to partial-shade location. Crested Iris grows to approximately 6 inches in height with blooms measuring 2.5 inches across. This showy plant is beneficial to wildlife as the plant nectar feeds hummingbirds and bees.
Flower: Delicate, cup-shaped blooms in yellow, blue, white, purple, lavender, orange, and cream
Crocus Care: Crocuses are one of the earliest and most prolific spring bloomers. They bring a bright pop of color to spring lawns.
Crocuses return each year spreading cheery blooms each spring. Crocuses prefer a location that receives partial to full sun.
The plants are small – growing to 3 to 6 inches in width and height. Crocus isn’t too particular about soil requirements but it’s best to plant them in a well-draining spot to prevent root rot. They grow well in sandy soils or in rock gardens.
Established corms prefer plenty of moisture in spring while in bloom and in autumn when roots are growing. Apply a layer of mulch in late fall to protect the plants from winter’s chill. Remove the mulch in early spring.
Flower: Yellow, Golden Yellow, Orange and White
Narcissus Care: Narcissus grow best in a well-draining, slightly acidic soil and in a location that receives at least six hours of light per day. A sunny slope or hillside is an ideal spot.
Daffodils are thirsty plants. Water daffodils with approximately 1-inch of water per week from the time buds appear until three weeks after the blooms fade.
Top-dress new spring growth with low nitrogen, 5-10-10 fertilizer. After flowers fade, leave the foliage to yellow and die back naturally.
Trim leaves a few inches with scissors. If you live in a cool climate, dig up bulbs after the leaves have yellowed. Rinse away attached soil and store bulbs in a cool location until the next growing season.
Flower: Royal blue to purple, with thin white edges on each bell
Grape Hyacinth Care: Grape hyacinth adds beautiful drifts of blue blooms to the spring landscape. The flower heads resemble upside-down clusters of grapes; hence the plant’s name.
Plant grape hyacinth bulbs around shrubs, under deciduous trees, or in open areas for beauty and fragrance. The plant prefers moist, well-drained soil and a spot that receives partial sun to full sun.
Keep the soil evenly moist while the plant grows and then reduce watering after blooms have faded. Grape hyacinth will slowly naturalize by bulb offsets. Plant new bulbs in autumn, approximately 3 inches deep and 3 inches apart.
Snowdrops Care: Snowdrops are another early-flowering bulb that looks lovely growing in naturalized drifts on a hillside, in a rock garden, or peeking out from underneath shrubs. Snowdrops complement other early spring bulbs like grape hyacinth and winter aconite.
They also prefer a location that receives partial-shade to full sun and a moist, well-draining soil. It naturalizes well by seed and by bulb offsets.
After blooms have faded, allow the foliage to yellow and die back before trimming. Or, allow the plant to die back naturally. The foliage will disappear in mid-summer.
Plant new bulbs 2 to 3 inches deep and space them 2 to 3 inches apart. For sweeps of color, plant in groups of 2 dozen or more bulbs.
Planting Flowers Indoors
Flower: Tender, rose-like blooms available in pink, red, orange, white, purple, and yellow.
Begonia Care: Place the container in bright, indirect light. Begonias like plenty of humidity so it’s a good idea the place the container on a humidity tray.
Fibrous and rhizomatous begonias are ideal blooming houseplants. Water the plant when the potting soil looks dry.
Avoid getting the leaves wet while watering to avoid fungal disease. Apply water to the soil, underneath the leaves.
Do not overwater, as they are susceptible to root rot. Indoor begonia plants are usually pest-free, but they are subject to fungal diseases such as powdery mildew.
Flower: Small, four-petaled flowers in magenta, orange, red, yellow, white, and pink
Kalanchoe Care: You’ll often see Kalanchoe in the floral section of grocery stores due to its glossy leaves, and the variety of bloom colors. Kalanchoe is a sturdy succulent that prefers bright, indirect light.
Keep the plant away from direct light as the tender leaves can burn. Water kalanchoe when the potting soil feels dry to a depth of 1-inch below the soil surface.
Kalachoe prefers humidity. Routinely mist the foliage to keep it healthy. After bloom time, lightly prune kalanchoe to keep it compact and healthy.
Should I prepare my garden before planting new flowers or before new perennial flowers appear?
It’s a good idea to do an early spring inspection of your garden before you plant. Grab your notepad and head to the garden. Check the garden for winter debris and damage:
- Check for ice or snow damage on trees, shrubs, and plants
- Inspect planting beds to see if leaves or general garden debris will need to be removed. Add it to the compost pile.
- Check garden hardscaping for damage. Check retaining walls, fences, trellises, and sheds for rotting, movement, or shifting.
- Note any deer, rodent, or damage from general garden pests on woody shrubs and plants.