How To Grow Annual Flowers From Seeds
Everyone loves flowers, don’t they? It’s that time of year when I am drawn to the local garden center. I stand in front of the seed display, and I can just imagine how beautiful these flowers would look in my yard. Anyone can grow annuals in their yard. It just takes a little time and patience. Annuals are flowers that bloom only once. They will bloom continuously from early spring until fall. You could have a garden spot just like the one in this photo!
I Am Limited As To What I Can Grow In My Soil
I have to be realistic about growing flowers in my soil. I am very limited as to what I can plant directly into the ground. I moved my house to its present location about 30 years ago. It was moved onto a lot filled with pine trees. These pines had to be removed, and the stumps hauled away. That left me with virgin Florida soil which is mostly sand. I could have hauled in topsoil, but that was too costly. To make matters worse we have “hard pan”. About two feet under the surface of the ground the earth is actually very hard. Once a plant's roots reach that “hard pan”, the plant will die. I found this out the hard way. I’d plant a shrub and be delighted when it would begin to grow, but then the plant would die. I have learned my limitations now. I now grow beautiful annuals in pots. Actually, I like this method because I can move my plants around to different locations.
Pick Out The Annuals You Want To Grow
If you are fortunate enough to live in an area that has decent soil, annuals are very easy to grow by planting them directly into the ground. There are so many ways to start these beauties from seed. Your success will depend on your gardening zone. Don’t put these tender little seedlings in the ground until all danger of frost is gone. If you aren’t sure of your zone, look on the Internet.
Now, pick out the flowers you want to grow from the seed display in the store. This is the hard part, because you will want to grow them all! They are some annuals that I have found to be very easy to grow and very pretty. My very favorite is the Zinnia. They come in all colors and different heights. I also love Marigolds. Try mixing colors. When you put them into the ground, try planting the tall flowers toward the back and the shorter ones toward the front. Be sure and label your seedlings as to what they are. Use a stick and place the empty seed packet over the stick.
Ways To Produce Seedlings Of Annuals
Here are some easy ways to produce seedlings to plant in your garden:
Peat Pellets: These consist of compressed peat. You place these into a shallow container of water where they will soak up the moisture and expand to several times their original height. Then they become soft, and they will have a little depression in the top for sowing the seeds. These are pretty inexpensive and can be bought at garden centers.
Peat Pots: These are just little pots made of peat. The seeds are sown directly into these pots, and the roots grow right down into the peat. After transplanting, the peat will decompose and the roots have room to grow.
Seed Tapes: If you want to have plants in a single row, these are really nice. The seed is spaced along a biodegradable tape. As soon as the tape is covered over in the prepared flower bed and moistened, it decomposes, and the seeds will germinate and grow at uniform distances. I think this works very well if you want flowers along a pathway or driveway.
Seeds can also be sown directly into a pot that has been cleaned well with soapy water. This is SO important. If you fail to clean the pot really well, you can get a fungus disease that will cause “damping off”. This will kill your baby seedlings. Fill the pot with good commercial potting soil. When the seedlings germinate and have reached a height of five to six inches the plants are thinned out. Leave one strong seedling to be planted directly into the ground when it reaches five to six inches in height.
Another way to plant seed is to use a seed flat filled with good potting soil. These seed flats can be purchased at garden centers. After they have germinated you may have to thin them out. When they reach a height of five to six inches, they are planted directly into the ground where you want them to grow.
You can also just plant the seeds directly into the ground. This is done by spreading the seeds over the surface of the soil and pressing them in.
Always be careful not to cover the seeds with too much soil regardless of the method you use to plant them. Just barely cover the seeds and gently press down. No matter which method you use to grow the seedlings they must be kept damp and in a shady area; otherwise, the sun will bake them.
Prepare the flower bed. You can’t just go out, dig a little hole with a trowel, and stick a baby seedling down in the hole and expect it to grow and flourish. First, the bed where you want to grow your flowers has to be thoroughly tilled. Dig down with a hoe about 12 inches. Remove any weeds, grass or pebbles. Use a rake to smooth the top.
Plant the seedlings. The seed package will advise you on how deep and how far away from each other the seedlings should be planted. Remember, plants have to have space to spread out. Don’t plant the seedlings too close together. If you find out later they are too close, you can carefully dig some out and replant them somewhere else. You must water the seedlings until they get a good "foothold".
There Is Something Special About Growing Your Own Annuals
You can buy annuals already growing at garden centers. These are all ready to plant in pots or directly into the ground. They are wonderful and you get results in your garden much quicker. But there is just something special about looking at a flower and knowing that YOU planted that seed yourself. There is so much self-satisfaction in that. You can pat yourself on the back. When your friends and neighbors compliment you on your beautiful flowers, you can be very proud of yourself! You will have enough annual flowers to cut and have bouquets in your house to enjoy and to share.
Use Compost To Grow Better Flowers
If you are blessed to live in an area of the world that had rich soil necessary to grow flower with a vibrant color, you don't have to add extra nutrients to the soil.
It is necessary for me to add Compost, which I call Black Gold, to the soil.
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