Skip to main content

How to plant flowers in 6 simple steps for a vibrant, colorful garden

Flowers lift the spirit. Whether they brighten your home from within a vase or around your yard, vibrant flowers add beauty, color, and charm wherever they are. If you're ready to plant perennials that you can enjoy for years to come or annual flowers that will bloom for a single season, you’ve come to the right place.

Recommended Videos




1 hour

What You Need

  • Flower seeds or plants

  • Garden spade

  • Compost or flower food

  • Garden hose

  • Mulch

  • Garden sheers

  • Flower pots

  • Rocks or pebbles

  • Potting mix

Planting flowers may seem like a daunting task, particularly if your green thumb hasn’t quite developed. Buying a bouquet is certainly easier than sowing new seeds, but learning how to garden is a rewarding experience. With these six simple steps, you can up your flower game and bring your curb appeal to the next level.

how to plant flowers shutterstock 57091351
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Planting from seeds vs. transplants

Gardeners often debate whether it's best to start from seeds or purchase already sprouted plants, but the method you choose is entirely up to you. That being said, it is important to consider the climate before deciding. A flowering plant takes about three months to grow from seed to flower, so if you live in a region with cold winters, you would need to start your seedlings indoors and then transplant them outdoors once the temperature is high enough. If you simply plant the seeds outside in the spring, you could risk not seeing any flowers at all and find yourself with a short growing season. Luckily, most plant nurseries in your area will have seedlings available that have already sprouted and matured a bit. You just need to purchase them and transplant them when the temperature is right.

What are the five steps to planting a flower?

Whether you started your flowering plants from seeds or as young plants from the nursery, the transplanting process is the same.

Step 1: Read the label of your new plants to determine how much sunlight each species needs and how much space the roots require.

Step 2: Make a design plan based on the plant's needs. For example, if your flowers need “full sun,” plant them in an area that gets six or more hours of direct sunlight per day. If your flowers need “partial shade,” however, position them in an area that gets between four and six hours of direct sunlight.

Step 3: Prepare your soil so the plant's roots have exactly what they need to grow and soak up nutrients. The roots of flowering plants need loose soil to grow and spread out, so use a garden spade to dig into and loosen up the soil.

Step 4: Ensure your soil is full of nutrients to promote healthy flower growth. Add compost or flower food to give your flowers the best chances.

Step 5: Plant your seedlings carefully. Use your garden spade to dig a hole in the soil that’s roughly the size of the pot the plant is currently in. Then, carefully remove the plant and place it in the hole you created. Cover the top with soil and gently pressed down.

The final step: After-planting care

Your flowers are safely in the ground, but it's not time to get comfortable just yet. The sixth and final step involves caring for your new plants and setting them up for success this summer.

Step 1: Give the soil a good soak with your garden hose immediately after planting. Follow the plant’s instruction label to determine how often to water throughout the season.

Step 2: Add a thin layer of mulch on top of the soil. This not only adds aesthetic appeal but also locks in moisture and prevents evaporation.

Step 3: Once your flowers start to grow, be sure to prune when appropriate. Use a pair of garden shears to carefully clip away dead leaves.

how to plant flowers shutterstock 380327731
Image used with permission by copyright holder

How do you plant flowers in pots?

If you’re planting a potted flower garden on your patio or deck instead of in the ground, much of the process is similar to what we’ve already covered. However, there are a few additional steps for successful potted plants.

Step 1: Choose a pot that’s big enough for your flower’s roots to expand. It’s also important that your pot has a drainage hole at the bottom to prevent root rot.

Step 2: Line the bottom of your pot with rocks to promote good soil drainage. Add some potting mix on top of the rocks so that the plant will be tall enough and still have its roots under the soil line.

Step 3: Water your newly potted flower plant generously and place it in an area that gets appropriate sunlight, according to the plant’s label. Gently press the soil down.

Whether you’re planting seeds in your garden, seeding plants in a flower bed, or creating a gorgeous potted flower garden on the patio, you want those beautiful blooms to bring color and life to your home for as long as possible. Healthy, flourishing flowers start with a healthy planting process, and these tips will ensure you have a colorful garden throughout a long and fruitful season.

Editors' Recommendations

Veronica Sparks
Veronica Sparks is a writer from Milwaukee, Wisconsin who loves writing about gardening, home décor, and DIY life. She’s…
This low-maintenance, attractive ornamental grass adds instant curb appeal
Blue oat grass is a gorgeous addition to your landscaping
Blue oat grass

If you're looking for something to add to your front or backyard landscaping, look no further than blue oat grass. Ornamental blue oat grass is a perennial that offers gorgeous blue-green colors to any yard. It resembles blue fescue grass, but is just a bit larger (it grows about 18-30 inches tall). The blue and gold hues look stunning against green grass, river rock, and mulch, and the hardy grass is ideal for use in most areas because it grows in the sun, partial sun, and in various substrates like soil, clay, and sand.

Prices range depending on how you plan to plant the grass. If you buy, plan on spending around $15-$25 per plant, depending on the size. If you're buying just the seeds, it can be as cheap as $4 for 100 seeds. Whether you're looking to grow or plant blue oat grass, here are a few things to keep in mind so it stays looking healthy.

Read more
6 kinds of perennials that bloom all summer for a gorgeous garden all season
Hostas, Lily of the valley, Blue lupine and more, these perennials will brighten your garden all summer
Close up of white and pink phlox flowers.

Gardening is a lot of work, but it can be well worth it if you do a little homework before you start digging. If you want your flower beds and garden to bloom for longer than a few weeks, you can't just plant seeds without care and expect month-long results. In fact, many perennial plants, those that you do not need to replant every year, have relatively short flowering seasons, leaving your garden looking a little bare for a good portion of the summer. And after all that work, there is nothing worse than looking at a bare garden.

So how do you get your garden to look gorgeous all summer? We’ve pulled together a list of perennials that will boast beautiful blossoms throughout the entire summer and return year after year with an abundance of color and fragrance. For a more interesting-looking flower bed, be sure to incorporate a variety of heights, a cohesive color scheme, and flowering plants that thrive in varying amounts of sunlight. Check out the recommendations below to build long-lasting floral arrangements you can enjoy for months on end.
Perennials by height
Tall Perennials
Tall perennial plants prevent your garden from looking too uniform and crowded. Be sure to place them in the back or in an area where they won't block other plants.  A few of our favorites include:

Read more
A rooftop garden is the summer oasis you need: Your ultimate care guide
how to take care of a rooftop garden woman watering her

Your outdoor oasis is a place you go in the warmer months to relax in the sun (or to comfortably unwind in the shade). So when you’re putting this space together, plants are a natural part of the equation. Why not create a rooftop garden so you can spend your summer surrounded by plants?

If you’re lucky enough to have a residential rooftop as part of your living space, landscaping your rooftop yard is a must. Take advantage of this scenic area by choosing the best rooftop garden plants and growing a beautiful, healthy garden that you can enjoy all summer long. If you’re not sure where to begin, we have some great tips for how to care for your rooftop garden so you can bask in this perfect summer oasis.

Read more