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An easy flower to grow – if not the easiest of all of them – the sunflower, Helianthus, is a delight, either in a container or in a garden border. They grow so well, even a child can do it.
Maintenance: Grow seedlings in deep pots and cover with glass (or put them on a warm windowsill) before seedlings emerge; alternatively, sow where they are to flower, but you may wish to cover the seeds with netting to prevent birds from getting at them. The flowers need little maintenance, apart from regular watering.
Soil type and location: Moderately fertile, well-drained soil and best planted in full sun, outside or in, depending on the variety.
Long-flowering (from June to October), simple and fast-growing, and easy to maintain, calendula is one of the easiest annuals to grow and will reward you with a bright splash of orange color. Plus, it’s one of the best plants for your health, if you choose to harvest and eat the flowers. Bees love them too!
Maintenance: Sow in fall or late spring, where they are to flower. Once in bloom, calendula requires almost no maintenance, just the occasional water. If you deadhead the spent blooms, there’ll be even more flowers.
Soil type and location: Poor to moderately fertile, well-drained soil, plant in full sun or partial shade.
Tender geraniums, often known as pelargoniums are a delight to grow and look at, and there are so many varieties, you can mix and match them for a real riot of color. Upright varieties look great in borders, while trailing pelargoniums look amazing in window boxes.
Maintenance: There’s one thing pelargoniums can’t get enough of: sun. Plant them in a sunny spot, windowsill or in window boxes and they’ll reward you with lots of blooms. You will need to protect these plants from frost, so move them to a bright conservatory or window sill in winter.
Soil type and location: Fertile, well-drained soil in full sun.
Lovely, low-maintenance nasturtiums not only make great cut flowers, but are also edible and great for adding a peppery flavor to salads.
Maintenance: Nasturtiums thrive in poor soil, so don’t fertilize them. You can start them as seedlings indoors, or sow them where they are to flower in late spring.
Soil type and location: Poor, well-drained soil and they enjoy full sun or partial shade.
A highly fragrant herbaceous garden favorite for generations, phlox make a great addition to borders or flower beds and don’t require much once they are in flower. They do really well in cooler climates, too, as they love lots of moisture and don’t need too much sun.
Maintenance: Phlox love any extra nutrition they can get, so fertilize and mulch them throughout the summer. They also need plant supports until mature.
Soil type and location: Fertile, moist soil, in full sun or partial shade.
Another garden classic, pansies make great container garden plants and come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors. Kids will love their little faces.
Maintenance: If you’re buying plug plants, just plant them in clumps where they are to flower; pansies are hardy and can be planted in late fall or early winter. If growing from seed, start them indoors.
Soil type and location: Moderately fertile, humus-rich, well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade.
Pretty nigella is an easy-to-grow annual that requires little apart from the occasional water, and is very easy to grow from seed.
Maintenance: Sow seeds where they are to flower; thin out seedlings when large enough. Deadhead to prolong flowering.
Soil type and location: Any well-drained soil, in full sun.
8. COMMON POPPY
Poppies are wonderful for adding bright color to any garden, but they really come into their own in larger gardens with meadow patches. Sow on their own for impact or add them as part of a wildflower mix for a more cottage style look.
Maintenance: Sow where they are to flower, in fall or late spring. Water thoroughly and occasionally, rather than little and often. Disturb the soil a little to aid germination.
Soil type and location: Preferably poor soil, in full sun.
9. SWEET PEA
Another cottage garden plant classic, the humble sweet pea, Lathyrus odoratus, is powerful when it comes to scent, and makes a lovely fragrant plant. Sweet peas are also hardy and highly suited to wet weather (including British summers). You can even sow them in toilet roll tubes, that’s how easy they are to start!
Maintenance: Sweet peas have deep roots and will need lots of room to develop those roots, so will need a deep container. Sow seeds indoors in late winter, or sow directly where they are to flower in March/April. Pinch out the tips of the plants to encourage bushier growth and more flowers.
Soil type and location: Fertile, humus-rich, well-drained soil in full sun.
10. NATIVE GERANIUM (CRANESBILL)
Native geraniums (to be distinguished from South African pelargoniums, with which they often get mixed up) are easy care, hardy perennials that will delight you – and pollinators – year after year. They grow quickly, require almost no maintenance and great for a bee-friendly garden.
Maintenance: Deadhead regularly to prolong flowering period. If by mid-summer, your geraniums are looking a bit sad, revive the by removing old flowers and stems.
Soil type and location: Fertile, well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade.
You’ve probably spotted Periwinkles (Vinca minor) in your local park and wondered what are those cute little things, so you’ll be pleased to know that they are a very simple flower to grow that work nicely as ground cover due to their rapid growth and hardy nature. There are more than 30 varieties to choose from, with colors ranging from purple to blue and yellow, plus lots of beautiful variegated foliage also.
Periwinkle care and maintenance: Think less about it as maintenance and more about keeping it in check. As mentioned, Periwinkle is a pretty prolific spreader, a little like mint. Once in bloom (between April and May) be sure to get rid of any dominating surrounding weeds but rest assured that periwinkle will likely aid in keeping any future unwanted plants at bay.
Soil type and location: Acidic soil, shady spot.
Cosmos atrosanguineus / chococlate cosmos can be annuals or perennials and they feature divided leaves and daisy-like forms when in summer bloom. They are fairly hardy, need mulching in fall and to be kept frost-free in winter. But otherwise cosmos in general are one of the most fuss-free and rewarding species of flowers to grow.
‘If you used to draw flowers in school, they’ll probably have borne a resemblance to cosmos. These simple but beautiful blooms are oh-so-delicate and incredibly pretty in pots, with an open flower giving easy access to nectar for bees. They come in plenty of colours, and can also be cut and displayed in a vase in to add a pop of colour to your living space!’ say the Rowse Honey experts