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8 Easy-to-Grow Flowers for Spring

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If you want a garden full of gorgeous spring flowers but don’t want maintaining them to be another time-consuming chore, plant flowers that don’t take much effort to grow. We asked Melinda Myers, gardening expert and host of the Great Courses “How to Grow Anything” DVD series, to name eight annuals that don’t need much attention, besides being watered regularly. “These plants thrive in the cooler spring temperatures, flower with minimal care, and are less picky about growing conditions,” she says. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a beginner, who doesn’t appreciate gardening made easy?

Pansies

A spring favorite, pansies are fragrant and come in a variety of colors. The chemical-free types are actually edible!

Violas

The smaller-flowered relative of pansies, violas are “great around bulbs and mixed with other annuals and perennials and in containers,” Myers says. Though it’s classified as an annual, violas often reseed and return the following year like a perennial.

Alyssum

Myers recommends this aromatic plant but warns that some varieties will stop flowering in high heat but – good news – they perk back up as temperatures cool. It’s also attractive to pollinators like bees and butterflies.

Snapdragons

Unlike the tall variety, which may need some support, the shorter and dwarf types can stand on their own. Snapdragons are showy flowers that come in beautiful colors like peach and purple.

Calendula

Also called pot marigold for its resemblance to the marigold plant, calendula is an edible flower with a citrus palette, from bright yellow to deep orange.

Dianthus

This pretty flower (also known as “pinks”) grows well in containers, perfect for a gardener with limited space.

Petunias

“There are lots of new varieties of petunias that are free flowering,” says Myers, meaning, they’ll bloom continuously during the growing season rather than bloom for a few weeks then stop.

Osteospermum

This flower, more commonly known as African daisy, looks right at home in flowerbeds and containers as well as borders.

Where to plant them

You can’t just plop seeds anywhere in your yard and expect a beautiful plant to grow – good sunlight and soil are key ingredients to success. “Monitor the light condition throughout the day and in different areas of the yard to determine the amount of available sunlight,” Myers says. Then match the plants that prefer this amount of light to the location – you can get info on a plant’s needs from its label or neck tag. To determine what kind of soil you have in your yard, try Myers’ way: Grab a handful and rub it through your thumb and finger to form a ribbon. If it’s smooth and sticky, it’s clay, which holds moisture and often drains poorly. If the soil is gritty and falls apart, it contains a lot of sand and drains fast. “Adding organic matter like compost will improve drainage in heavy clay soils and the water-holding ability in sandy soil,” she says.

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