Whether you’re planting bulbs, annuals or perennials, flower gardens add a beautiful splash of color throughout the season. While growing flowers is not difficult, there are many factors that must be considered prior to planting. The more closely these plans are based on meeting the needs of your plants, the more likely you are to be successful. Click on the blog articles below for ideas, guides and more.


PansiesPlanting and caring for pansies, an heirloom garden favorite.

Sunlight: Full sun to partial shade
Maturity: 60-85 days from seed to flower
Height: 4 to 10 inches
Spacing: 6 to 12 inches apart in all directions

One of the most widely grown of all garden flowers, pansies (Viola x wittrockiana) — also known as violas — will bloom in a variety of colors all summer long and thrives in cool spring-time conditions. Striking plants with beautiful, round-faced blossoms are perfect for growing in containers, rock gardens, borders or edging. Plants are short lived in hot environments. Self-seeding perennial (grown as an annual in the North), 4-10 inches tall. (more…)


NasturtiumHere’s how to grow this beautiful annual with its trailing vines and colorful, edible blossoms in pots and garden beds.

Sunlight: Full sun to partial shade
Maturity: 55-70 days from seed to flower
Height: 12 to 18 inches
Spacing: 8 to 12 inches apart in all directions

A quick and easy-to-grow annual that reseeds itself freely. Home gardeners are growing nasturtium (Tropaeolum) for their colorful flowers and attractive foliage. Great for cool-weather climates, beautiful blossoms can also brighten up salads and pastas… they’re edible! (more…)

Morning Glory

Morning GloryA true old-fashioned beauty, annual morning glory vines with their large, trumpet-shaped flowers in a variety of wonderful soft colors are easy to grow.

Sunlight: Full sun
Maturity: 75-110 days from seed to flower
Height: 6 to 15 feet if grown on a trellis
Spacing: 4 to 6 inches apart in all directions

A favorite! Home flower gardeners are growing morning glory (Ipomoea) for their vibrant colors including purples, reds, pinks and blues. This vigorous vining plant is often found covering country fences where their delicate flowers greet you with the morning sun.

Perfect for covering walls, privacy screens and lattice — give these hardy annuals support and watch them grow! Dwarf varieties, with their multi-colored blossoms, are especially unique! Self-seeding annual. (more…)


Growing MarigoldsOne of the simplest – and most beautiful – flowers to grow, marigolds guarantee a reliable splash of color all summer long.

Sunlight: Full sun
Maturity: 50-80 days from seed to flower
Height: 6 to 18 inches
Spacing: 8 to 18 inches apart in all directions

Marigolds (Tagates erecta) are an easy-to-grow, compact flower ranging in color from pale yellow to deep orange and rust. They make a spectacular addition to containers and borders or scattered throughout the garden. Also, great for dried blossom arrangements.

Marigolds tolerate a wide range of soil and climate conditions, but especially love heat. There are many varieties of this cheerful garden favorite from miniature to giant. Try growing marigolds in and around vegetable plants to repel insect pests. Hardy annual. (more…)

Growing Lupine

Growing LupineTips for raising natural, water-wise lupine from seeds and cuttings.

A favorite spring-time activity, growing lupine (Lupinus polyphyllus) provides flower gardeners with a wide and brilliant array of colors. Plants have stiff, erect flower spikes of 1-4 feet that emerge from horizontal foliage. Flowers are similar to those of peas or sweet peas and grow in large, crowded racemes of deep blue, purple, yellow, pink or white. Found growing wild throughout most of the northern United States. Short-lived perennial.

Site Preparation:

Easy to grow, lupine thrives in cool, moist locations. It prefers full sun to light shade and average soils, but will tolerate sandy, dry soil. Plants develop long taproots, so loosen the soil to a depth of 12-20 inches using a roto-tiller or garden fork. They will not grow in clay.

Tip: For dramatic results, mass lupines in borders or scatter them throughout the cottage garden (see Flower Gardening 101). (more…)


Garden LiliesA favorite! The many types of lilies and their large, attractive flowers add dramatic color wherever they’re planted.

Sunlight: Full sun to partial shade
Maturity: 70-120 days after spring growth
Height: 1 to 6 feet
Spacing: 8 to 12 inches apart in all directions

One of the most beautiful summer-flowering plants, lilies (lilium) are grown by home gardeners for their exquisite trumpet-shaped blooms. Stems are strong, upright and unbranched, 1-6 feet tall. Flowers are large, beautifully colored in both bold and pastel shades and often fragrant.

Lilies may be grown individually in formal or naturalistic settings or en mass. Smaller species make excellent container plants. Blooms from late spring through early autumn, depending on species. Hardy perennial. (more…)


Hollyhocks Seed and care for these charming, heirloom favorites and they’ll fill with pastel blooms growing up to nine feet.

Sunlight: Full sun to partial shade
Maturity: 365 days or more from seed to flower
Height: 4 to 9 feet
Spacing: 18 to 36 inches apart in all directions

Home flower gardeners enjoy growing hollyhocks in borders or against walls and fences where their spectacular flowers stand tall above all else. The classic variety (Alcea rosea) has graced outbuildings and farmsteads for more than a century. Very attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds.

Showy blooms of white, light-pink, magenta and burgundy completely cover 4 to 9 foot stalks. Hollyhocks are considered a biennial, that is, they grow foliage the first year and flower, form seeds and die the next. Plants easily self-seed to provide an endless supply of blossoms. (more…)


GladiolusGrown from bulbs known as corms,  the many types of gladiolus are favored for their showy blossoms and classic, spiky stems.

Sunlight: Full sun
Maturity: 70-95 days from corm to flower
Height: 2 to 5 feet
Spacing: 4 to 6 inches apart in all directions

Gladiolus with their dramatic sword-like leaves have sturdy flowering stems that grow up to 5 feet tall. The trumpet-shaped flowers come in shades of almost every color and are the perfect backdrop to garden beds. Home flower gardeners particularly enjoy growing gladiolus for long-lasting cuttings and floral bouquets. (more…)


FuchsiasHere’s how to grow and care for fuchsia in hanging pots and other containers.

By Kim Haworth

My grandmother had a small nursery in Napa that specialized in growing fuchsias. I remember the pots of glorious flowers hanging along her driveway. As I grew older, and taller, I was able to reach the hanging baskets bursting with flowers and buds and, I’m ashamed to say that I spent many a delightful clandestine moment popping the fat buds between my pudgy fingers. Of course if I was caught, there was hell to pay, but the gratification of holding that soft, living tissue between my fingers and giving it a gentle squeeze, then being rewarded with the resounding popping sound was irresistible. It was a very tactile, but guilty, pleasure.

Dearie, as everybody called my grandmother, finally persuaded me to keep my hands to myself, and in doing that, gave me a deep respect for nature. (more…)


Growing EchinaceaOne of the best flowers for attracting butterflies, purple cone flower is easy to grow and adds color to the late summer landscape.

Sunlight: Full sun to partial shade
Maturity: 90-120 days from seed to flower
Height: 36 to 48 inches
Spacing: 12 to 24 inches apart in all directions

America’s grasslands are home to a brilliant array of flowers and echinacea, or the purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), is one of the best. These hardy perennials, with their large daisy-like flowers, make a lovely, water-wise choice for borders, native-grass lawns and xeric gardens. (more…)

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