I am terrible at plants. I don’t know why, I always follow the instructions. But Steve just rolls his eyes and laughs when I bring home beautiful potted flowers and plants – “how long do you think these will last?” Yeah, great question. But as the weather turns pleasant and stays warm overnight, I can’t stand NOT trying, again! The neighborhood is bursting with blooms from every front porch and back yard, surely I can do it if they can? It’s a great time to rip up all those dead plants I bought last year and replace with new ones that are fresher, prettier and more Katie-resistant. I’ve rounded up a few sure winners (please God) and hope this guide helps us all figure out the best flowers to plant (or hang) now.
First off: perennials vs annuals. Perennials come back each year. The top portion will die, but new growth returns each spring from that same root system. Annuals, on the other hand, die and mean it. They’re dead after one year and aren’t coming back.
Container plants. These are plants and flowers that do best in outdoor pots. Think front porch, maybe one big one in a flower bed? But these root systems need containing, so best contain them. Top three hardy and budget friendly ones: Violas, Pansies and Coleus. They all come in lots of variety, fill out a pot nicely and can be paired with grasses or sweet potato vines.
Hanging Baskets. You have some hooks above your front porch? Or maybe a really pretty side patio that needs some top-down color? I don’t know anyone who can mess up ferns. They can be impressively heavy, but they take up space and are hyper green. Love them. Also check out begonias, ivy geranium (perfect for two things: hot weather and repelling flies) and nasturtiums (they prefer poor soil and full sunlight – sign me up).
Climbing Vines. These are my favorite. They hardly ever betray me and often burst with color and fantastic fragrance just days after planting. If you buy “fast climbers,” you can have your fence, trellis or column covered by season’s end. And, they make you feel like a very accomplished gardener. 🙂 My tried and true winners: bougainvillea, clematis and the Black Eyed Susan Vine.
Perennials. Perennials tend to be a little less expensive than annuals, in general, and they are great bang for your buck, since they (theoretically) return year after year. And if you choose wisely, hardy ones require very little TLC but provide lots of coverage and color. My favorites? Daisies, Lavender and Roses.
Shrubs. By far, my favorite is the hydrangea. It’s a show stopper, grows practically on its own and returns for a performance (even for me!) each spring/summer. I love how fat and colorful the blooms are – like globes, really. You can try out the shrub variety, but there is also a smaller potted plant and even trailing varieties. So good, so pretty. If you’re into Curb Appeal, definitely plant some azaleas. These make great place holders and can grow to be enormous. Great pics here for examples of breathtaking azaleas! Evergreen shrubs like Blue Star Juniper are always winners, too. Obviously not as much poppy color, but they’re dependable and inexpensive.
One more thing. We just added some rock around our flower beds to define their borders. A variety of sizes and colors, these rocks have transformed our curb appeal and made everything look tidier and more intentional. This has GOT to be the easiest and most inexpensive way to dress up a front yard: adding borders. Bricks, rocks, liner, whatever. Try it and see what you think.
And (so that wasn’t the last thing, but the second to last thing): if you’re looking for reliable online resources for plant purchase, there are so many, in a range of prices. I personally recommend these sites: Home Depot, Etsy, The Sill, Bloomscape and Amazon.
So what do you think? What do you plant now? I’d love to hear about the flowers and shrubs that make your apartment, home, front yard ready for spring. 🙂