The Foolproof & Fabulous Flower Bed

Creating the perfect flower bed is actually a two-part process. There are obviously the flowers, and then there is the soil. There are recommendations for both.

Jerry Goodspeed, a horticulturist with the Utah State University Extension Office shares his tips for flowers and soil.

When it comes to flowers, pick flowers you like based on color and type. But if you’re looking for some recommendations, here are some that include traditional winners and brand new varieties.

‘Senorita Rosalita’ Cleome

‘Calliope Dark Red’ geranium

Any osteospermum

‘Superbells Lemon Slice’ calibrachoa

‘Prince’ purple fountain grass

Now that you have some ideas about what to plant, the bigger decision is how to get your soil ready.

Good soil is the key. You can improve any soil by adding organic material. I recommend at least 1″ per year worked into the soil. You can use most kinds of compost, including composted manures, leaves, garden waste, etc. You want to make sure it has been properly composted and weed free. Adding weeds to the flower bed does not make it perfect… not even close.

Add a fertilizer. You can add a slow release fertilizer that will give a little nutrient to the plants all season long. They are a little more expensive, put you only have to apply them once. You can also apply an all-purpose, but you will need to apply it a couple more times throughout the season. Or you can also use a water soluble fertilizer, like miracle grow or Rapid grow, but they are only good for about 7 to 10 days so you will need to apply them quite often.

Work the soil deep. Most roots want to be 4 to 6 inches in the soil. Work it as deep as you can so the roots have a loose soil to grow into.

Space them properly and plant. Having said that, I like to plant my annuals closer than recommended. This helps them crowd out the weeds earlier and gives the bed that full look a lot sooner. Look on the label to see how wide they are going to get. I generally like to plant 1 to 3 plants per sq. ft.

You can contact Jerry through the Utah State Extension office.

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