Fill your garden with beautiful blooms with growing tips from flower farmers in the West

Dahlias Blooming
Kyle Johnson

1. Select the Best Suppliers. Good seeds, bulbs, tubers, and corms aren’t always the cheapest, but you’ll be happy when they flower. Go with online retailers such as Johnny’s Selected Seeds or K. van Bourgondien.

2. Buy New Bulbs—Sometimes. For the best flowers, buy new tulip, lily, and iris bulbs each year. Some bulbs just aren’t the same the second or third year.

3. Don’t Plant Too Early. Just because you’re excited to plant, and it feels like spring, doesn’t mean another frost might not come and wipe out your new seedlings. Plant after the last frost.

4. Start with Annuals. Many varieties of annuals flower the first season, and you don’t have to worry about planting zones. Planting annuals also simplifies the end of the season care since they won’t come back.

5. Start Seeds Indoors. If you’re planting flowers from seed, start them in seed trays indoors under grow lights or in a greenhouse. Don’t forget to harden off your seedlings before planting them in the garden.

6. Use Raised Beds. Filling raised beds with loose, well-draining soil will allow plants to develop healthy root systems that can access nutrients. Add compost or compost tea for even faster growth.

7. Plant Cut-and-Come-Again Flowers. Choose flowers that continue to bloom when cut. Cosmos are a great choice for this and they are easy to grow.

8. Leave Other Plants Alone. There are other plants, such as daffodils, peonies, and hyacinths, that should stay in the same place. With the proper care, they will produce beautiful blooms year after year.

9. Divide Your Dahlias. Dahlias not only have amazing flowers, but also the tuber clumps get bigger every year. At the end of the season dig up your tubers and divide them. Your collection will grow.

10. Grow Roses. Roses are part of a huge trend that’s not going away. Some of these oldies but goodies are having a notable resurgence.

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