How to Grow Flowers & the Kinds of Flowers You Can Grow At Home

Once you understand the basics, learning how to grow flowers is relatively easy, especially if you decide to transplant. This section shares the flower gardening advice that you need to know, including…

Which Kinds of Flowers Are Right for You?

how to grow flowers

Your aesthetic preferences will be a big part of choosing the kinds of flowers you’ll grow, but before you go pickin’ the prettiest flowers, consider the following…

  • Your growing space - Almost all flowers prefer well-drained, fertile soil and most need full sun, but some flowers are shade-tolerant and others actually prefer the shade. If you plan on growing flowers in a shady spot, be sure to choose shade-tolerant varieties!

Speaking of your growing space, take the time to review and implement the strategies discussed on our Starting a Garden page before going any further, especially if you plan to plant your flowers in beds.

  • Shape and size of plant - the plants you choose should fit the space available to them. And don’t lock yourself into the same flowers or flowers of similar size… while grouping flowers in clumps of three to five is recommended, consider growing groups of flower plants of different height and shape next to each other for a more interesting look. As a general rule for multilayer gardens and beds, taller plants should be grown behind shorter plants.
  • Color of flower - the same plant often comes in a variety of colors. If you really like the look, shape and size of one but the color’s not right, check to see if it comes in a different color.
  • Transplanting pre-grown plants or starting from seed? Below we’ll explain the guidelines for transplanting pre-grown flowers and growing them from seed. While transplanting is easier and offers the instant gratification of immediate blooms in your garden after planting, it does have a couple of drawbacks…
    • The satisfaction of doing it all yourself from seed can’t be matched.
    • There are many flower varieties that are only available in seed form.
  • Insect and disease resistance – if you know about a certain pest or disease that’s common in your area or if you’ve had problems with one in the past, choose flowers that are naturally resistant to those diseases. Our flower planting guide will share the specifics, but generally speaking you can help to keep your plants disease- and pest-free by:
    Planting flowers native to your region
    Keeping your plants healthy (with proper watering, soil maintenance, weeding, preventive pest control measures, etc.)
  • Annual or Perennial? Your final decision – and one of your biggest – is whether to plant perennials (grow and flower for at least three years), annuals (complete life cycle in one year) or a combination of both. Here are the main advantages of each…
    • Perennial:
      • Live much longer so you don’t have to replant every year
      • Less expensive to maintain since new plants don’t need to be purchased each year
      • Fewer pest problems since the plants are typically stronger
      • Require less water
    • Annual
      • Flowers blooms remain for much longer (usually from spring until the first fall frost)

    You can always mix and match for a “best of both worlds” approach, but there’s another option as well… plant a variety of perennials that bloom at different times.

  • Plant hardiness is used to categorize the cold tolerance of annual flowers into one of three categories. Consider your plants’ hardiness when deciding the planting times for your annual flowers:
    • Hardy - can tolerate light frosts after hardening off without being killed or badly damaged.
    • Half-Hardy - can tolerate cold, wet, damp weather but can be damaged or killed by frost.
    • Tender - need warm soils to germinate and grow properly.
      For example, if you’d like to have spring blooms in your garden, purchase hardy annual flowers.
  • Flower garden designs - We highly recommend drawing out your flower garden designs on paper before getting started. Not only will this provide a map for planting time, but it will also remind you which annuals you planted where… an important consideration for your annual crop rotation (further discussed in the planting section pages below).
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How to Grow Flowers: Planting Annual & Perennial Flowers

How to Grow Flowers: Woody Vs. Herbaceous Perennials

Herbaceous perennials’ stems die down to the ground each year, while woody perennials’ stems survive the winter and continue to get larger each year as they grow back. Most garden flowers are herbaceous perennials.

Perennial flowers grow and flower for at least three years, often much longer, while the much shorter-lived annual flowers grow, produce flowers and die in a single year.

Annuals can be started from seed or transplanted from pre-grown plants, while perennials can be started from seed, transplanted or propagated from existing flowers’ root divisions.

For instructions about how to grow flowers using each planting type, choose one of the following…

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How to Grow Flowers: Watering Guidelines

Overwatering is one of the main reasons that flower gardeners fail.

Keeping your plants consistently moist should be your goal, but it’s better to deliver a thorough watering once per week than to water lightly every day. Flowers require about one inch (2.5 cm) of water per week either from rainfall or irrigation.

During weeks with less than one inch of rain, water in the morning to allow enough time for it to be absorbed or evaporate before moisture-loving disease organisms have a chance to take hold.

If your flowers’ leaves begin to sag or they start to lose their blossoms, you’re probably not watering enough.

See Garden Watering Guidelines for more information and recommended tools.

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How to Grow Flowers: Supporting Tall or Bulky Flowers

Some perennials grow tall and bulky to the point that their stems cannot support their weight. For these plants, you’ll need to set up some kind of support to prevent them from falling to grow flowers  Supports come in several styles, including:

  • Support grids, links and hoops have one or more stakes that are placed in the ground next to or around the plant. As the plant grows, the stems are guided through the grid slots, hoops or connected stakes to keep the flowers upright.

  • Small plant support hoops (also called mini-supports) include a single stake with a hoop extending from the top at 90 degrees. how to grow flowers

    The plant stem is threaded through the hoop as the plant grows (pictured right).

  • Stakes are typically sturdier than the above options and can support more weight. The plant stem is connected to the stake by a piece of string or other tie.

    When using a stake…
    1. Position it next to the stem so that the top of the stake remains at least 6 inches below the top of the stem
    2. how to grow flowers
    3. Drive deep enough into the ground so that the stake remains firmly in position
    4. Loosely tie the stem to the stake (in multiple locations, if necessary), being sure to create two loops: the first loop should go between the stem and the stake to prevent them from touching, and the second loop should go between the stake and the knot.

    The Gardener's Blue Ribbon Stake It Easy is a good and versatile choice. Its pieces can be snapped together as your plant gets taller and heavier, and its built-in anchor steps make it easy to "step" into the ground..
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Pruning Flowers: Deadheading, Thinning, Pinching & Cutting Back

Pruning your annual and perennial plants serves several important purposes:

  • Makes blooming last longer
  • Revitalizes the plant
  • Spurs new growth
  • Helps with pest control
  • Prevents plant from crowding its neighbors
  • Guides the direction of the plant’s growth

Pruning is accomplished with one of a few methods: deadheading, thinning, pinching and cutting back…


Removing dead or dying flowers, also called “deadheading”, is beneficial for the growth of additional blooms and the overall rigor of the plant. Not only do dead and dying flowers look unattractive, but they will eventually go to seed which directs much of your plant’s available energy away from the plant’s growth and flower production.

how to grow flowers

When deadheading, use a good pruner to prune the flower’s stem all the way back to the stem of a branching flower or new flower bud.


Thinning is the practice of removing plant stems. In addition to aesthetic reasons, thinning is done to redirect the available nutrients, water and energy into the remaining stems for better growth and pest and disease prevention. To thin your plants, cut back one out of every three stems all the way to the ground.


Most flowers will also do better with a periodic “pinching”, which is the removal of the top couple of inches from the growing stem using your fingernails. The first pinching should occur when the plant is old enough to have three or four leaves left below the pinch, even if that means removing some flowers (if you purchase started flowers for transplanting, find out if they have already been pinched). Future pinchings depend on your goals: the more often you pinch, the bushier and “branchier” your plant will become.

Cutting Back

At the end of the growing season, annuals can be removed from the ground entirely and added to your compost pile. When your perennials start to die, cut the stems back to about 4 inches (10 cm) above the soil to get them ready for winter.

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How to Grow Flowers: Other Important Flower Bed Maintenance Tasks

How Do Flowers Grow?

Interested in learning the natural process of flower growth? Review our How Do Flowers Grow page.

All garden plants share a number of maintenance requirements, each of which will contribute equally to the overall health of your garden…

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How to Grow Flowers – A to Z Flower Planting Guide

Click the first letter of your flower's common name to jump down the page or scroll down to review our entire guide...


Know of a common flower that should be added to our guide? Please let us know!

Anemones how to grow flowers
Bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) how to grow flowers
Camellias (Camellia Japonica) how to grow flowers
Carnations (Dianthus) how to grow flowers
Chrysanthemums (Ajania/ Dendranthema/Leucanthemum) how to grow flowers
Daffodils (Narcissus) how to grow flowers
Dahlias how to grow flowers
Gardenias how to grow flowers
Geraniums (Geranium / Pelargonium) how to grow flowers
Gerber Daisies (Gerbera) how to grow flowers
Goldenrods (Solidago species) how to grow flowers
Click here to return to the top of the How to Grow Flowers Guide
Hibiscus how to grow flowers
Hostas how to grow flowers
Hyacinths how to grow flowers
Hydrangeas how to grow flowers
Impatiens how to grow flowers
Irises how to grow flowers
Click here to return to the top of the How to Grow Flowers Guide
Jasmine (Jasminum) how to grow flowers
Lilacs (Syringa) how to grow flowers
Marigolds (Calendula or Tagetes) how to grow flowers
Morning Glories (Ipomoea) how to grow flowers
Orchids (orchis) how to grow flowers
Pansies (Viola) how to grow flowers
Petunias how to grow flowers
Phlox how to grow flowers
Poppies (Papaver) how to grow flowers

Roses (Rosa)

how to grow flowers

Sunflowers (Helianthus)

how to grow flowers
Sweet Peas (Lathyrus Odoratus) how to grow flowers
Tulips (Tulipa) how to grow flowers
Water Lilies (Nymphaea) how to grow flowers
Zinnias how to grow flowers
More coming soon  
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