New to Flower Gardening? Learn About Different Types of Flowers.

Different Types of Flowers

For a flower gardening novice, designing a beautiful flower bed can be quite overwhelming.  It is easy to wander through a plant nursery and become confused by all of the choices.  Before shopping for flowers, you should think about how you want your flower bed to look, how much sunlight the area receives and what types of flowers you want to buy. 

Now it’s time to decide what kinds of flowers to buy.  Do you want spring flowers, summer flowers, fall flowers or a combination of all?  You also need to consider how much time you have to devote to your flower garden, how often you want to plant beautiful flowers and if your flower bed will have any potential pests.  The nest step is to decide if you would like annuals, perennials, bulbs or a mixture of all three. 

Different Types of Flowers: Annuals

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What are Annuals:  Annuals are a popular choice for gardeners of all levels of experience.  Annual flowers complete their entire growing cycle in one season.  They make an excellent choice for any size flower bed and container gardens.  These flower types are often easy to grow and provide beautiful flowers for the entire growing season. 

Benefits of Annuals

  • Short term commitment: If you dislike how the types of flowers look or you don’t like that layout that you chose, these flowers die at the end of the growing season. Simply uproot the flowers and discard them. 
  • Long lasting blooms:  These plants often bloom for the entire growing season, providing color until the first frost
  • Diverse choice in flower types:  Annuals come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors.  There are plenty of beautiful types of flowers that can tolerate sunny or shady locations.
  • Cost effective:  Annuals are often less expensive than perennials.  They can also be grown from seeds if desired.  Certain types of flowers, such as petunias and forget-me-nots, will even self-sow if the conditions are right.

Disadvantages of Annuals

  • Poor cold weather tolerance:  Most annual flowers do not tolerate frost well and must be planted after the danger of frost has passed.  There are some annual flowers, such as pansies, that can be planted even if there is risk of frost.  
  • Must be planted every year: Unfortunately if you love your annuals, you will have to invest time and money to replant them every spring.

Different Types of Flowers: Perennials

Day Lilies
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What are Perennials:  Perennials are flowers that bloom for more than one growing season. They are a popular choice for many gardeners because they are easy to take care of and are available in many different shapes, sizes and colors. 

Advantages of Perennials

  • Live for more than one growing season: Plan your flower bed once and enjoy it year after year!
  • Diversity: Just like annual flowers, perennials are available in an endless variety of sizes, shapes and colors. There are perennials to fit any location.
  • Can be moved to different locations: If you decide that you don’t like your original plan these flowers can be moved.
  • Perennials reproduce:  Over time perennials will expand in your flower bed. The good news is that they can be divided and replanted in new beds or shared with friends.

Disadvantages of Perennials

  • Some perennials do not tolerate cold weather well: Check with your nursery to be sure that your perennial will tolerate the winter months in your growing zone.
  • Variable bloom times: Some perennials have blooming flowers for only for short periods of time.  Many perennial gardeners plant a variety of plants that bloom at different times, insuring a colorful garden for the entire season.
  • Not all perennials require the same care: It is important to educate yourself about how best to care for your flower types because there may be variability in pruning and winter care.
  • Different needs for light and water: When designing your perennial gardens, remember to take into account each plant’s specific light and water requirements.  Allow room for plants to spread in the flower bed.  Also consider the flower’s height at maturity to prevent taller plants from obscuring smaller types of flowers.

Different Types of Flowers: Bulbs

color overdose
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What are Bulbs:  Bulbs make a beautiful addition to any home garden.  Like perennials, bulbs will bloom for years.  It takes a bit of planning to add bulbs to your flower garden as they must be planted well before you expect them to bloom.  Spring flowering bulbs must be planted in the fall.  Summer flowering bulbs are planted in the spring. Many bulbs are able to withstand the cold winter temperatures.  However, there are some varieties, such as gladiolus, that must be dug up in the fall and replanted in the spring.

Advantages of Bulbs

  • Blooms year after year
  • Spring varieties are often the first flowers of the season!
  • Plants reproduce and fill your flower bed
  • Easy to care for!

Disadvantages of Bulbs

  • Some types of flowers propagate densely and will need to be divided.
  • Foliage must be allowed to die back to nourish the bulb for next season
  • Some bulbs may not perform well in warmer climates
  • Bulbs are enjoyed by many critters: Be sure to check for tips to prevent losing your precious bulbs to deer, rabbits and rodents.
  • Not all bulbs are pet friendly: Many bulbs, particularly lily, are toxic to pets.

If you are just getting started with flower gardening, talk to someone at your local nursery. They can provide you with tips and information to help you choose beautiful types of flowers.

Mix of flowers
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