Flowers are beautiful. It’s a reward to look out your window and see them. But how to start? What are the most important steps? With these 8 easy steps for beginner flower gardening, you’ll have flowers in no time!
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8 Easy Tips to Start Flower Gardening – Beginner’s Essential Steps
- Know your zone
- Consider what you want
- Research plant care
- Pick the right spot
- Prepare the ground and soil
- Pick your plants
- Planting day!
One quick word before we dive in, remember that it’s easy to see these massive gardens in your mind and overwhelm yourself in the process of trying to create those visions.
I say dream big and create them all… but in manageable chunks!
Do yourself a favor and start small! Master that area and expand when you’re ready. It makes for a more enjoyable experience with less stress and less money wasted. 🙂
1. Know your zone
I would say this is the most important part of flower gardening – knowing your USDA hardiness zone.
A gardening zone is an area that particular plants or flowers thrive in. It also shows how much winter or frost a plant can withstand.
Choosing native plants for your site is a huge benefit not only for wildlife but for you! They can naturally withstand your winter better!
Unless you want nothing but annuals, knowing this will save you time, money, and a lot of hassle!
Every single plant you will buy should list what zone it’s hardy in, so please know this information before you start planning!
2. Consider what you want
There are so, so many different varieties of flowers.
Some people like to cater to pollinators such as butterflies, bees, hummingbirds, and the like. Others focus on a color pattern or combination or a perennial garden vs. an annual flower garden.
I like a combination of all of the above.
I would say that most of what I plant caters to benefit pollinators and wildlife in general. I also have a combination of annuals and perennials.
Most of my annuals end up in containers, though, from the seeds I start indoors. While most of what is growing in the ground are perennials.
If you are a beginner to flower gardening, you may not realize all of the variety out there, so really think about what you want before starting.
Above all, making it beneficial for the pollinators that need us while making it fun and beautiful for you will make everyone happy!
3. Research plant care
So you have an idea of what you want to plant, now it’s time to research the care of the particular flowers you have planned for your flower garden.
You do want to follow the care listed on each flower, for if you don’t, you’ll be wasting money, time, and inviting plant diseases and non-beneficial insect infestations.
Unfortunately, I have experience in this area! I’ve planted sun-lovers in the shade and shade-lovers in the sun, and all I ended up with was either dead plants or miserable ones that either got bugs or diseases.
Simply moving these stressed flowers made them thrive, so knowing your plant care as you begin flower gardening will make everything better and easier!
It will also save you time as you won’t be outside watering every single day in the summer due to an unhappy plant that only wants some shade or moist ground.
Side note: It’s smart to notice if the particular plant attracts pollinators or not. We should provide nectar flowers for our declining bee, butterfly, and other pollinator population!
4. Pick the right spot
I’m sure by now you have an idea of where you want your first flower garden?
Ask yourself these questions before digging in:
- Is there enough sun/shade for the plants I want?
- Is there any protection from high winds or weather?
- Is it an area that cats or dogs use regularly?
- Is the area high or low? Moist or dry?
- Is it easy to water or close enough for a hose?
- Can I see this area easily?
- Is the ground hard to prepare?
- Does the area get morning or afternoon sun?
Asking yourself these flower gardening questions will save you a lot of time and strife.
If you choose an area that is wrong for the plants you want, it’ll take away all of the fun. And your money!
- If the area is low and you want to plant drought-tolerant, sun-loving plants, they may not be happy there as the rainwater will collect in that area, making it too moist.
- You’d be surprised how many people I know that plant these elaborate flower gardens, only to find they are too far from a watering source and get tired of lugging watering cans back and forth.
- Or worse yet, they can’t even see and enjoy it from the house.
Super important to note how the area is all day long. What might be sunny in the morning might be nothing but shade all afternoon long, or vice versa. It’s essential to know the area you want to start flower gardening in!
5. Prepare the ground and soil
Depending on the area you’ve chosen to begin flower gardening, you may or may not have your work cut out for you.
If you are a beginner, choose an area where there isn’t much to do to prepare.
For instance, tearing out an old patio on rocky soil might not be the best place to start.
For the most part, all I have to do here is have the hubby work the area with the rototiller and replant the chunks of grass in areas that may need it.
You can hand dig it if you don’t own a rototiller; make sure you remove all weeds and turn the soil around to aerate it and make it easy to work with and plant.
Compacted soil is never great for plant roots, just like too small shoes aren’t good for our feet!
- At this point, you can also add soil amendments like organic matter, compost, or some source of good gardening soil.
- Just cut it and turn it into the soil; no need to bury it deep. Also, it’s super smart to make plans to top off your flower beds with wood chips or mulch.*
*Doing this will add to the soil quality after time, and it will be a massive benefit to retaining moisture and protecting plants. It has made ALL the difference with my flower gardening quality!
Note: If your soil is parched, plan to water it before planting flowers, as no plant likes dusty, dry ground when it’s new!
6. Pick your plants
You have your list of wanted flowers, and the ground is ready. Now it’s time to narrow it down and get planting!
Now that you have your area ready, you’ll know for sure exactly what flowers will do best there.
People will generally plant the tallest flowers in the middle or the back of the garden, but honestly, this is your garden, so do what you like!
I really can’t stress this enough when flower gardening – you want to pick the right plants for the right area! Again, I highly encourage some native plants as well!
Native plants are hardier and can withstand more weather and plant problems than non-native. And of course, it’s beneficial to nature!
So let’s get planting!
7. Planting day!
So you have all of your plants, flowers, and seedlings, now it’s time to get that garden beautiful!
Flower gardening should be fun, so follow these easy steps below; no worrying allowed! 🙂
Please try not to pick the hottest, sunniest day to plant. Doing this will stress out your new flowers and could be too much for them.
- While it’s essential to make sure the ground isn’t dry, you also don’t want the flower plug or container to be dry, so water that first. This will decrease stress for the plant.
- Gather any tools you think you’ll need. I usually only use a trowel, a shovel if it’s a larger plant, and a hand weeder – optional, good gardening soil to place in the hole.
- Dig the hole a little deeper than the plant. Please note that you should ALWAYS stick to where the current soil is on the stem when you cover the plant up. NEVER go higher or lower, as this may suffocate the plant or stress it. So keep that in mind while digging the hole.
- I like to dig the hole a little deeper to put some Miracle Grow garden soil at the bottom.
- I also dig the hole a little wider than needed for the same reason, to add the garden soil and give the roots room.
- I gently place the plant in the ground and gently press the dirt around it, removing air pockets without compacting the soil too much.
- Label the plants if wanted/needed, and water thoroughly.
One thing to note is how big the plants will be once fully grown. It’s too easy to plant flowers too close in your flower gardening endeavors, beginner or not!
You have your flowers planted and watered; now it’s time to step back and take pride in all of your hard work!
But now what?
Well, flower gardening is an on-going hobby. We never stop caring for our flowers! 🙂
There are a few basic things you’ll want to do in the beginning, before everything gets rooted and starts growing good.
- Check daily for uprooted plants or chewed off seedlings. Seeing this is a sign of critters enjoying your plants! I put chicken wire or smaller-gauged wire around my seedlings until they are grown up a little to protect them.
- For the first week or so, you’ll want to water your new plants daily or every other day, depending on the weather.
- After that first week, you can water 2-3 times a week or so. It depends on how hot it is or how much rain you’re getting.
- Check often for stressed plants (wilting, infestations, diseases, dying). If you notice anything wrong, take note of the care the plant is getting and see if it matches the care sheet.
- There is no need to add fertilizer this first year to young plants (unless the care sheet says otherwise). Their nutrient needs will be small, and fertilizer might even damage new roots.
It’s normal for a new plant to be slightly stressed when newly planted, especially if it’s a plant that doesn’t like root disturbance.
But if you notice a plant stressing out beyond normal, double-check the care sheet and either move the plant to a better area or buy/make a short-term shelter to place over the plant to protect it against the direct sun.
One important thing I must add – flower gardening does not mean using a ton of chemicals! If you plan on using pesticides, fungicides, or any of those other awful chemicals, I can guarantee it will wreak havoc on your flowers and on anything alive that tries to visit.
Natural flower gardening means allowing nature to take care of itself; because it does! Birds will eat insects, beneficial insects will eat the pests, and generally, it all works together in a smooth, beautiful circle.
Pesticides are harmful to all, and a death sentence to more than you bargained for!
Successful flower gardening is a trial and error hobby as well. We’ve all lost some plants and made mistakes, but it’ll be less likely to happen for you if you follow these steps (and learn along the way).
What’s important is having fun and allowing your garden to bring you joy as you bring joy into your yard.
And if you choose the right flowers, you’ll have the added benefit of seeing many butterflies, bees, hummingbirds, and birds not only enjoying your gardens but taking care of unwanted pests.
What made you want to start flower gardening? Comment below and share your thoughts! For me, I grew up with parents and grandparents who loved their flowers and vegetables, so I loved it at a very young age. I hope this article was helpful!