5 Edible Flowers to Grow In Your Garden

When you think about an edible garden, berries, tomatoes and salad greens usually come to mind. However, nothing is quite as gourmet or unusual as adding bright blooms and petals to your salads, desserts and meals. Edible flowers picked straight from your organic garden and rinsed before adding to a dish make a colorful and tasty complement to your summer meals.

The best tasting part of many flowers is the petals. Remove pistils and stamens or stems before consuming.

Note that not all flowers are edible, do your research to properly identify flowers before eating them. You’ll also want to make sure your flowers are grown organically for the healthiest and safest choice. Choose Espoma’s Bloom! liquid fertilizer or Flower-tone for organic gardens.

For flowers that look good as well as taste good, consider some of the following:

 

Daylilies

These perennial garden favorites also make for great meal additions. Add to stir-fries salads, dessert or sautés. Harvest blossoms just before they open and stuff as you would squash blossoms. These plants are grown almost anywhere, but thrive in USDA hardiness zones 4-9.

Lavender

Lavender is an all-purpose bloomer. Besides serving as both an edible and ornamental plant in your garden, lavender is also pet-friendly and can help to repel pests. Add flowers to sauces, dressings, baked goods, ice cream and more. Don’t forget to remove the flowers from the stalk. Hardy in zones 5-9.

Coneflower

Bright and colorful coneflower is known for its healing properties and is often used as a home remedy for colds. These plants are also known favorites of pollinators. Add petals to salads and dishes for a vibrant splash of color, save the roots and seed heads for tea.  Best grown in zones 3-9.

Violas (Pansy, Viola, & Violets)

Sweet pansies, violas and violets make wonderful additions to lollipops, ice cubes and cakes. Pansies are especially great because the whole flower is edible. Choose varieties best suited to your growing conditions. Best suited for zones 2-10.

Best Products for Growing Edible Flowers:

Bloom! Plant Food

Build a Butterfly Bouquet for National Pollinator Week

What’s better than decorating your home with summer bouquets of flowers directly from your garden? Having a cut flower garden is not only convenient for on-demand bouquets, but also for adding color your garden with stunning oranges, yellows, purples, pinks and blues. While you often choose plants for bees, these flowers are for the butterflies.

 

Pollinators need love year round and that starts with gardening organically. In honor of National Pollinator Week, here are our best tips for celebrating by building a butterfly bouquet with the flowers they love!

 

Breathtaking Flowers Butterflies will Love

Yarrow (Achillea)

Yarrow is a vibrant yellow perennial. It has a lengthy flowering time from June through September. It is a relatively tall flower with an average growth height of 2.5-3 feet. Butterflies love these flowers because they’re easy to land on and also loaded with sweet nectar. Give your flowers a strong soil base to help them thrive through the hot summer months with Espoma’s Organic Garden Soil. Best suited for zones 3-8.

Ox-Eye Daisies

Ox-Eye Daisies are a classic addition to your garden. Their flowering time covers the summer months from May to August. With their white rays and yellow centers, they will be sure to brighten up your cut flower garden. They grow 1-3 feet tall so they will not take up too much space. Butterflies love Ox-Eye Daisies because they are nectar-rich. Best suited for zones 3-8.

 

English Lavender

English Lavender is a garden essential! Their flowering period covers the summer months of June to August. They grow to the perfect height of 1.5-2 feet. People and butterflies love English Lavender for its fragrance and remarkable blue-purple color.. Best suited for zones 5-8.

Blanket Flower (Gaillardia)

The Blanket Flower is a vivid, color-rich butterfly flower to add to your garden. They flower in summer months from May through August. Blanket Flowers tend to be on the shorter side, only growing 6-12 inches tall. Their stunning blood-orange red petals and yellow tips will have your jaw on the floor by the time flowering season rolls around. Butterflies cannot pass up the nectar and vivid colors on these stunning flowers. In order to get the biggest flowers, fertilize with Espoma’s Bloom! liquid plant food. Best suited for zones 3-10.

Bee Balm

Bee balm is another pollinator favorite that should earn a spot in your pollinator garden. The Bee Balm’s flowering period only covers July through August, but their violet blue, red, pink or white color will be worth it. They thrive in zones 4-8 and are relatively tall, growing an average of 2-3 feet. Bee balm is nectar-rich and its bright coloring makes it an easy sell to butterflies. Boost your Bee Balm with Espoma’s Organic Flower-tone fertilizer for big, healthy flowers. Best suited for zones 4-8.

 

Espoma products needed for a butterfly bouquet:

Bloom! Plant Food

 

 

5 Reasons to Start a Cutting Garden

The temperature is only getting warmer, which means it’s time to start a cutting garden! From lilies, to dahlias and zinnias, you can have nonstop blooms.

Cutting gardens can include anything from roses and shrubs to perennials, annuals and even bulbs. Cuttings from berry bushes can even make a great complement to fall bouquets. The fun doesn’t stop with just pretty vases and bouquets, you can also grow flowers for dried arrangements in the cutting garden.

You may be wondering why you would want to spend time in the sun and dirt all day. Trust us! The five reasons below are just a few personal favorites of why growing a cutting garden is worth it.

Stop by your local garden center to find out which plants will work best in your yard for your cutting garden.

5 Reasons to Start a Cutting Garden:

1. So Many Blooms

Nothing beats a fresh cut flower arrangement. It’s even better when it’s handpicked from your cutting garden. Enjoy blooms both in your garden and your favorite vase. Feed blooms with Espoma’s Bio-Starter Plus when you plant for extra flower power.

2. The Health Benefits

Digging, planting and working in the garden all benefits your physical and mental wellbeing. Gardening gets your body moving. Unplug from electronics for a bit and enjoy the fresh air. It will help clear your mind.

3. Unlimited Bouquets

There’s no reason to never have fresh flowers for bouquets when your cutting garden is in bloom. Those endless bouquets don’t come with a price tag and there’s no need to tip the delivery person.

4. Bring The Family Together

Gardening brings people together. Whether you are trying to get your family involved or are looking for some help, gardeners are open and honest about everything. If you don’t have a place to garden at home, join a community garden and make friends who also like to get their hands dirty.

5. Boost Curb Appeal

Having a cutting garden will help boost curb appeal. Surround your property with beautiful flowers of all kinds for a look that will make your neighbors green with envy. Proper maintenance and Espoma’s liquid Bloom! will have your house looking picture perfect, and boost your real estate values, too!

Think hydrangeas would be perfect for your cutting garden? Laura from Garden Answer shows you how to plant them.

 

Top Picks for Growing A Cutting Garden:

Bloom! Plant Food

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Best Roses to Grow in Any Situation

Roses are the most classic flower to include in a garden. They’re prolific bloomers, fragrant and colorful.

With a little care and maintenance, you’re only a few steps away from success. Yet the ideal conditions for growing roses aren’t always there. We have you covered. Here are the best roses for each situation.

Learn how to plant roses with Laura from Garden Answer.

 

Roses for Full Sun

Roses thrive in full sun. When they get anywhere from 6 to 8 hours of sun a day, they bloom vibrantly and to their fullest. Any variety will be spectacular when grown in these conditions. They are hardy in zones 4-9 and with the right care, can come back to thrive year after year. Feed your roses monthly with Espoma’s Organic Rose-tone to ensure proper growth.

While all roses thrive in the sun, our favorites are…

Sunblaze® Miniature Roses

You can’t go wrong with any variety of the Sunblaze miniature roses. The name says it all and these sun-loving beauties won’t let you down.

Photo courtesy of Star® Roses and Plants

Autumn Sunblaze® is the perfect variety to showcase this summer. It is a miniature rose, so it is ideal for a beautiful container. Put that container in the full sun for these roses to thrive!

PLANT TYPE: Miniature Rose

FLOWER COLOR: Orange

FLOWERS: Small, 40 petals

FOLIAGE: Glossy

FRAGRANCE: Slight

GROWTH HABIT: Bushy

HARDINESS ZONE: 5 – 11

HEIGHT: 12-15″

LIGHT REQUIREMENTS: Full Sun

SPREAD: 15″

Sunny Knock Out® rose is beautiful in full sun. As the name implies, the blooms are a bright yellow that fade into a cream color from center to petal. It’ll stay bright and colorful even as cooler months approach.

PLANT TYPE: Miniature Rose

FLOWER COLOR:  Yellow to cream
FLOWERS:  Abundant and continuous
FOLIAGE:
  Dark green, semi-glossy

FRAGRANCE: Slight
GROWTH HABIT:
  Bushy
HARDINESS ZONE:
  4–11

HEIGHT: 3–4’

LIGHT REQUIREMENTS: Full Sun

SPREAD: 3–5’

 

Container Roses

Want to have a beautiful rose garden, but don’t have the space in your garden to include them? Turn to containers! As long as the containers are placed in full sun, they will thrive.

Some roses are too big to plant in containers, but miniature varieties work well for smaller spaces. Don’t be fooled, just because they are miniature doesn’t mean they aren’t spectacular.

Photo courtesy of Star® Roses and Plants

Rainbow Sunblaze® is a great variety for any summer garden. The petals are multicolored, which will help them stand out anywhere you plant them. Pair them with a beautiful container and it will be the talk of the neighborhood.

PLANT TYPE: Miniature Rose

FLOWER COLOR: Multicolored

FLOWERS: Small, 25-30 petals

FOLIAGE: Semi-glossy

FRAGRANCE: No Fragrance

GROWTH HABIT: Upright

HARDINESS ZONE: 5 – 11

HEIGHT: 12-18″

LIGHT REQUIREMENTS: Full Sun

SPREAD: 18″

Photo courtesy of Star® Roses and Plants

Sweet Sunblaze® is a beautiful variety to add to any container in your space. This rose, introduced in 1987, has gentle pink blooms that add softness to your garden. Pair with an edgy container for a striking contrast or with a neutral container for a more classic look.

PLANT TYPE: Miniature Rose

FLOWER COLOR: Pink

FLOWERS: Small, 26-40 petals

FOLIAGE: Glossy

FRAGRANCE: Slight

GROWTH HABIT: Bushy

HARDINESS ZONE: 5 – 11

HEIGHT: 15-18″

LIGHT REQUIREMENTS: Full Sun

SPREAD: 18″

 

Disease Resistant Roses

Some gardens and plants are more susceptible to diseases. Black spot is the most common disease in roses. It is caused by a fungus that spreads from plant to plant and can wipe out an entire garden. Planting disease-resistant roses helps prevent the spread of disease.

We rounded up our favorite roses that are disease resistant.

Photo courtesy of Star® Roses and Plants

Knock Out® Family of Roses

Known for their punch of color, these roses are perfect to add to any sunny garden. Knock Out are disease resistant and love 6-8 hours of sun a day.

PLANT TYPE: Shrub Rose

FLOWER COLOR:  Cherry red, hot pink

FLOWERS:  Abundant and continuous

FOLIAGE:  Deep, purplish green

FRAGRANCE: No Fragrance

GROWTH HABIT:  Bushy

HARDINESS ZONE:  5–11

HEIGHT: 3–4’

LIGHT REQUIREMENTS: Full Sun

SPREAD: 3–4’

Photo courtesy of Star® Roses and Plants

Double Knock Out® Rose

The Double Knock Out gives a double the punch. It has twice as many petals and is offered in a multitude of colors, depending on the variety. You cannot go wrong with these roses.

PLANT TYPE: Shrub Rose

FLOWER COLOR:  Cherry red, hot pink

FLOWERS:  Abundant, continuous double blooms

FOLIAGE:  Deep, purplish green

FRAGRANCE: No Fragrance

GROWTH HABIT:  Bushy

HARDINESS ZONE:  5–11

HEIGHT: 3–4’

LIGHT REQUIREMENTS: Full Sun

SPREAD: 3–4’

 Featured in this Post:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello Sunshine – Plants that Love the Sun

While most plants need only need some sunshine throughout the day, others love being in the sun all day. Sun loving plants can fill spots where you need some life or color in the garden. Know where the sun hits the most in your garden before picking plants out and then head over to your local garden center for the best choices.

Sun Loving Plants:

1. Sunflower

As the name states, this flower was made for the sun. It screams summer the way no other flower can. Since they are native to the United States, they will grow well and easy pretty much anywhere there is sun while bringing along pollinators to help. Your climate will determine how big and tall your flowers get.

2. Black-eyed Susan

Named for their dark brown centers peeking out of the gold or bronze petals, black-eyed susan’s thrive in the sun. These daisy-like blooms are perfect for the long summer days. They tend to grow to about 2 feet tall and handle high heat and drought conditions well. Hardy in zones 3-9.

3. Catmint

This perennial is drought tolerant, and has a long flowering period through summer into fall. They can sprawl throughout the garden, which makes this a fun groundcover. It comes in a large variety of colors. It is a powerhouse in the garden and is easy to grow. Hardy in zones 3-9.

4. Peonies

Another fan favorite, peonies make the most amazing cut flowers. When growing them in a cutting garden, be sure to get them into full sun. With so much texture, color and fragrance, there is no shortage of reasons no to include them in your garden this year. Hardy in zones 3-8.

5. Dwarf Fountain Grass

Fountain grass is a perfect ground cover anytime you want to add texture to your garden.  Planting a dwarf variety will help you add texture in smaller areas. This pant does well in both dry and wet areas, so as long as you give it sun, it will do well. Hardy in zones 5-9.

6. Sedum

This is a plant that will keep on giving. Every year, sedums tend to grow bigger, so it is a perfect plant for a border or an area that needs filling. Depending on the variety it will either hug the ground or grow up to 3 feet tall. Hardy in zones 3-10.

Since these plants will be hanging out in the sun all day, be sure to keep them watered and give them a boost they deserve with Espoma Organic’s Bloom! liquid fertilizer. After planting, mix it with water and give them a good drink! See the back of the bottle for directions.

Once you’re done in the garden, try making a hanging basket for your porch.

Espoma Product Featured in this Post

Bloom! Plant Food

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIY Mother’s Day Planter (Extended Cut)

Calling all moms out there! This Mother’s Day, create a gift any mom will love with the help of your little one. Yes – it is a bit messy, but it is worth every drop of paint. If you don’t have a little one to help, you can make your own classic piece that will go well anywhere you place it.

Laura from Garden Answer is a new mom this year, so she is diving right into this project for her mom – with the help of Benjamin. This project is perfect for any woman out there.

Materials needed:

  • Terra Cotta Pots
  • Chalk Paint (Two Colors – One Light and One Dark)
  • Tempera Paint (Various Colors, Black)
  • Photo Paper or Stencils
  • Exacto Knife or Box Cutter for Photo Paper
  • Paint Sponges
  • Smaller Paint Brush
  • Q-Tips
  • Clear Acrylic Sealer
  • Espoma Organic Potting Mix
  • Two to Three Plants
  • Wet Ones (For Clean- Up)

Steps for Painting a Monogrammed Planter:

  1. Print off what border and monogram you want to use on photo paper and cut out the design. If you want to skip this step and use a stencil you found at the store instead, feel free to do so. Set this aside.
  2. Paint the outside of the pot with the lighter colored chalk paint so it is one even color. Continue painting the inside rim. This is to ensure uniformity when the plant is inside and the soil doesn’t hit the top. Let dry.
  3. Hold the stencil on the pot carefully, or tape it down where you want it. Using a clean sponge brush dab the inside of the stencil with the darker chalk paint. Let dry and repeat if you have multiple stencils.

*If you want to mute the paint a bit, dab it onto paper or cardboard to lessen the amount of paint on the brush.

  1. Once your pot is dry, spray a clear acrylic sealer the all around the outside and inside of your pot. Since terra cotta is porous and water will seep, you want to ensure your paint isn’t ruined.

Steps for Painting a Butterfly Mother’s Day Planter:

Note: This planter requires the use of small feet, best to ask your little one to help! Grab him or her and let’s get started!

  1. Paint the bottom of your little one’s foot and gently place it on the pot. Use the same color twice in a “V” shape to make the butterfly wings.
  2. Repeat with different colors around the pot.
  3. Take the smaller paint brush and paint black bodies for the butterflies.
  4. Use the Q-Tip to make the ends of the antennae. Repeat step for every butterfly around the pot.
  5. Let dry!
  6. Once your pot is dry, spray a clear acrylic sealer the all around the outside and inside of your pot. Since terra cotta is porous and water will seep, you want to ensure your paint isn’t ruined.

Time to fill both planters with Espoma Organic Potting Mix and plant them up! Laura puts a Peachberry Ice Heuchera in the monogrammed pot to give it the classic farmhouse feel. She plants a Superbells Yellow and a Superbells Grape Punch in the butterfly pot to keep the bright fun colors feel.

Every mom – or grandma – will love these custom made planters. Happy Mother’s Day! Watch the quick version here.

 

Purple Please – Top Purple Plants for Your Garden

Every year gardeners want to expand their gardens to offer new colors and plants to make it fresh.

This year, Ultra Violet is the color on trend, so we looked for the best purple plants to include. We created this list of a variety of flowers, foliage and pollinators to fit any need. Plus they all smell divine.

When planning to plant, start your new plants off right with Espoma’s Organic Bio-Tone Starter Plus plant food plus mycorrhizae.

Top 5 Purple Plants

  1. Lavender

Not only is lavender a beautiful purple shade, but it has a strong fragrance that helps to alleviate stress. Lavender, with its attractive foliage, purple flowers and scent is the symbol of summer which is a must for every garden. Bloom time is from June to August.

  1. Verbena

Clusters of little purple flowers top the stems of this beautiful plant. Verbena is drought tolerant, so it fits into any climate. Bunched together this plant can pack a punch of color. Bloom time is from summer through fall.

  1. East Friesland Salvia

This plant shines purple through and through. This salvia plant is popular for the long spikes of purple flowers that bloom in the summer and fall. It is a pollinator plant, attracting everything from bees to hummingbirds.

  1. Heliotrope

Perfect for containers near your entryways, Heliotrope is known for its vanilla fragrant flowers. It is a wonderful treat for summer, especially when paired with lemongrass and lavender. These purple flowers are small and dense, but should not be overlooked. Bloom time is summer through fall.

  1. Purple Bee Balm

While the most popular varieties of bee balm is red, there are some beautiful selections that bring purple flowers. They are easy to grow and will bloom from summer through fall. It is a great pollinator plant, loved by hummingbirds and bees.

For even more options, head to your local garden center to see what plants work well for your area.

Once your new plants are established, feed regularly with Espoma’s Organic Grow! liquid fertilizer. It gives them the boost they need to have bright colors and vibrant blooms.

Espoma products in this blog:

 

Grow! Plant Food

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nosey Rosy – Guide to a Rose Garden

Rose gardens are one of the most classic pieces you can add to your landscape. With some love and regular upkeep, they can last for years.

Roses bring beauty by either becoming the statement plant or a fine complement to focal point. You can use roses to cover up an unsightly area or introduce a new fragrance, they are incredibly diverse. Roses are offered in a large variety of colors and patterns to match anyone’s need.

When choosing the best rose for you garden, be sure to know how much sun the area gets. Check the tags on the rose plants to ensure you are picking up ones that will thrive in yard. If you aren’t sure what to choose, your local garden center can help choose for your space and your region!

Planting Tips for Rose Gardens:

  1. Plant Time. Wait until after the last frost to get your roses in the ground. Most roses want to establish roots in the spring before the weather gets too hot.
  2. Space is Key. When planting, dig a hole deep and wide enough to accommodate the roots. If you are planting more than one bush, keep at least 3 feet in between each plant. Add Bio-tone Starter Plus to promote bigger blooms.
  3. Feed Often. Give roses Espoma’s Organic Rose Tone to help keep roses vibrant and looking their best. Feed regularly as described.
  4. Watering Deep. Roses don’t do well in drought conditions as they need a good deep drink often. At least once per week water about an inch deep and evenly around the plant. It does better as the soil is even throughout. Try to get the water around the roots and not the leaves.
  5. As your roses start to bloom, be sure to keep up with the maintenance. If the blooms are looking dead, remove the spent flowers. This will give the bush extra energy to produce bigger and fuller blooms. Roses will continue to flower throughout summer, so don’t be afraid to deadhead into August.

Watch as Laura from Garden Answer plants her own roses!

Bulbs to Plant Now for Late Summer Color

Right about now, daffodils and tulips are in full bloom making even the simplest of streets beautiful.

People are snatching up the blooms and putting them in vases and arrangements. And some are even heading into garden centers to get those flowers for their garden.

But, in most regions, spring blooming bulbs are best planted in fall to be able to bloom in the spring.

Don’t worry! There are many varieties of spring-planted bulbs that are just as beautiful as your traditional favorites.

Keep your garden thriving and plant bulbs now to have amazing summer color. Wait until the last frost date has passed to plant to ensure your bulbs won’t freeze. Check the tags on your bulbs for planting information or head over to your local garden center for specific region information. Don’t forget to mix your soil with Bulb-Tone to create beautiful big blooms!

Our Favorite Bulbs to Plant this Spring

Dahlia

With a variety of sizes, colors and designs, dahlias have become one of the most popular flowers. Be sure to buy a bunch of bulbs though, it’s hard to plant just one. Bloom time is between mid-July and September. These dazzling beauties will showcase your garden anywhere you plant them. They are technically a tuber, but are planted the same way you would plant a bulb.

Lily

Stay on trend this year and plant a lily. With the option of Asiatic, Trumpet or Oriental, or a mixture of the three, your garden will be full of color lasting summer through fall. Look for lilies with the color and pattern to add texture and design. Bloom time is between June and September, depending on variety.

Begonia

Known as a grandmother’s flower, begonia’s are perfect for any garden. Most people don’t know that the begonia family is quite large, with lots of colors, shapes and sizes. Bloom time starts in mid-July. Since there are so many options with begonias, choose something in the double flower, ruffled double flower or the pendulous varieties.

Calla Lilies

This eye-catching flower will add wonder to your garden. Calla lilies are elegant and timeless and perfect for containers. They come in a large variety of colors and textures to match every style. Bloom time is between July and October. Grab varieties of calla lilies such as Flame, Captain Marrero or Ruby Sensation for the paintbrush affect.

Ranunculus

This exquisite flower is a display itself with its layer upon layer of silky petals. It is similar to a rose and is often considered high end delicacy. One thing to remember is to soak the bulb before planting to encourage growth. Bloom time is between June and August.

Watch below as Laura from Garden Answer shows how to plant bulbs!

 

Hellebore Care Guide

These long-blooming, low-maintenance flowers really brighten up winter landscapes. Laura from Garden Answer shows how to care for winter hellebores using Espoma’s liquid fertilizers.