Annual Flowers - Bed Preparation, Maintenance and Design David Hillock Assistant Extension Specialist/ Consumer Horticulture
Advantages: • Versatile, sturdy, & relatively cheap • Easy to grow • Produce instant color • Provide season long color and interest!
Disadvantages: • Must be planted yearly • involves some effort & expense • Must be dead-headed for continuous bloom • Some look disreputable by late summer
Temporary ground covers, Uses:
Uses continued: • hanging baskets,
Uses continued: • containers,
Uses continued: • bedding plants,
create interest or direct the eye, Uses continued:
Uses continued: • cutting gardens, dried flowers , etc.
Plant Selection Cultural Considerations: • hardiness • soil & moisture conditions • degree of sun or shade • maintenance
Aesthetic Considerations: • size • form: • spreading, round or oval, vase, pyramidal, columnar • texture • color
Bed Preparation: • Choose a suitable site: • i.e. - sun, shade, wet, dry • close to water source • away from shallow rooted trees and shrubs • compete for water and nutrients
Prepare site by: • removing debris • remove/control weeds • glyphosate • first season devoted to weed control • check & adjust drainage • Raised beds may be necessary
Soil tests are recommended! • determine proper amounts of fertilizer to apply • incorporate P & K into bed if needed • often need only nitrogen
Amend soil with organic matter • incorporate 3-4” of composted organic matter • spade or till in 8-12” deep • improves soil aeration • improves drainage • encourages healthier root system • easier to plant and manage
Shape bed by slightly raising or mounding towards the center or back • provides better drainage • positions plants so they can be viewed more easily
Plant while soil is moist - not saturated • Plant during cooler part of day - evening • Water in immediately • Apply light mulch 1 - 2 inches thick • shades out weed seed • moderates soil temperatures • holds moisture
Maintenance: • Water regularly • Fertilize based on soil tests • Daily walk through to monitor for problems • Remove pests by hand or mechanically • Use insecticides/fungicides only when needed
Maintenance cont. • Weed control is best done by: • Use of mulch • Hand pulling • Shallow cultivation
Maintenance continued: • Weed control with herbicides • Preemergence herbicides • Treflan – Preen, others • Post emergence for grassy weeds • Sethoxydim – Poast, Grass-getter • Fusilade – Grass-b-Gone
If no soil test is taken: • Apply two pounds of 5-10-5 per 100 sq. ft. at planting • Apply another one pound at six week intervals throughout the growing season.
What to look for when buying: • The plant should be: • rosette-like - short, stocky, leaves arranged in a rosette like pattern, vs. tall and leggy with leaves spaced out across stem • healthy looking - deep/bright green, firm, lustrous; not yellow, brown, twisted, curling, sticky, etc.
The plant should: • have healthy roots - white, fuzzy, abundant; not brown, slimy, or wrapping in circles, or too few • be moist - but not soggy; and not water stressed • not be in flower - energy directed towards root formation
Design Concepts • Formal • Informal
Design Concept: A Mountain Meadow Effect – Informal • Do not worry about straight rows or spacing • plant them where they land • Use other landscape plants as part of design • shrubs, perennials, ground covers, etc.
Aesthetic Critique • Personality - Character • Is it apt: exactly suitable to its surroundings?
Spontaneity • Is it free flowing; not labored, loose but confident, happy, buoyant? (negative example: solid lines and boarders)
Color • Do color combinations have crisp oppositions, smooth analogies?
Color continued: • Use white near patios - shows up well at night • Use white and gray as separators of conflicting colors • Warm colors – red, orange, yellow gives illusion of smaller space • Cool colors – blue, green, violet gives impression of openness and space
Structure, Form, & Texture • Are there clear contrasts, effective relationships, harmonic rhythms?
Neighborhood • Does the flower bed integrate with neighboring flower arrangements?
Natural Environment • Are varieties used ecologically nested to the sun/shade, sand/clay, wet/dry, cool/hot, and endemic disease facts of life for location?
Practical • Maintenance: Is it maintainable? (dead-heading) • % Risk: Experiment with less than 10% of entire commitment. Repeat past success! • Execution: Can it be simply planted?
Flower Colors: ns, foliage bronzy with shades of red, purple, crimson, orange Habit: 2-6’ Culture: full sun Utilization: background, specimen Acalypha wilkesiana - copperleaf
Acmella oleracea ‘Peek-a-boo’ - Spilanthes • Flower Colors: yellow with red eye • Habit: 12-15” tall, 24-30” wide • Culture: full sun to part shade; moist, well-drained soil • Utilization: groundcover, container, bedding; also known as toothache plant; purplish foliage
Flower Colors: ns, colorful leaves – green, yellow, red, pink, purple Habit: 6-12” rounded Culture: sun, almost any soil, can shear Utilization: carpet, edging Alternanthera ficoidea – Joseph's coat, garden alternanthera
Flower Colors: color provided by foliage and flowers – scarlet, crimson, orange, yellow Habit: 1 ½-5’ Culture: sun, average to dry soil, water sparingly Utilization: background, specimen Amaranthus tricolor – Joseph's coat amaranth, fountain plant
Flower Colors: purple, white, or pink Habit: 18-24”, upright, slightly cascading, airy Culture: sun, heat loving Utilization: cut, border, bed, mass, specimen Angelonia angustifolia – summer snapdragon, angel flower
Angelonia blue bicolor Angelonia blue
Flower Colors: ns Habit: trailing vine Culture: sun, hot humid weather Utilization: trellis, arbor Basella alba – Malabar spinach
Begonia semperflorens-cultorum – wax begonia, fibrous rooted begonia • Flower Colors: white to shades of red or pink • Habit: 6-16” round • Culture: shade, full sun if moist • Utilization: planters, edging, carpet, indoor
Flower Colors: white, reds, pinks, violet, yellow, or orange Habit: 3-12” tall, 6-24” spread Culture: full sun, well-drained moist soil Utilization: planters, edging, border Calibrachoa – Million Bells
Flower Colors: rose-pink, mauve, white Habit: 3-18”, prostrate to upright Culture: sun, part shade, moist well-drained soil, heat tolerant Utilization: border, bed, ground cover Catharanthus roseus – Madagascar periwinkle, rose periwinkle
Flower Colors: red, yellow, gold, orange, pink Habit: 6-24” Culture: sun, tolerates dry, porous soil Utilization: cut, border, edging, bed, dried Celosia cristata – crested cockscomb
Flower Colors: cherry, pink, rose, violet, white, rose-purple Habit: 3-4’ Culture: sun, part shade Utilization: background, cut Cleome hasslerana – cleome, spider flower
Flower Colors: grown for foliage colors –chartreuse, yellow, pink, white, red, maroon, green Habit: 9-16” Culture: sun or light shade, well-drained moist soil Utilization: edging, border, planter boxes, hanging basket, bed, carpet Coleus x hybridus - coleus