Some homeowners mistakenly believe that North Carolina has the perfect climate for growing flowers. This is partially thanks to the state’s location. However, Heffner Landscaping understands the truth about growing flowers in North Carolina. We know that key elements can make planting flowers difficult in this state.
For example, North Carolina is home to rather unfavorable soil when it comes to planting. Much of the ground contains clay. While it’s possible to grow plants in this type of soil, it takes a slightly different approach than in other states that have more fertile soil.
We also know that North Carolina has had unseasonably warm weather recently, which has made it difficult for flowers that traditionally grow well in this state. To top it off, the large amount of rain in 2019 has created a difficult environment to grow plants for even the most seasoned gardeners.
Thankfully, we have some tips to make planting and growing flowers in North Carolina easier. Keep in mind that if you ever need help with your lawn, you can count on us for all of your landscaping needs.
Understanding the Soil
Believe it or not, the first step to growing plants in North Carolina is to make sense of the clay soil. Good soil creates a strong foundation for plants. However, the red clay in North Carolina lacks much of the nutrients that plants need. It’s also too tightly packed and heavy for some flowers to grow freely.
North Carolina isn’t the only state that deals with this type of soil. In fact, a number of southern states have problems with heavy, red clay soil. The particles in the soil are uniform, which makes them bind together tightly. As a result, it effectively smothers plants. It’s the same result as packing potting soil in a flower planter too tightly.
Also, this red clay soil lacks microbial organisms. These organisms are responsible for creating much of the nutrients that plants eat in the soil. Like the plants, these organisms have a hard time thriving in clay soil.
In addition, clay soil is very slow to drain. Once again, this has to do with how packed the soil is and the lack of air pockets. A lot of times, it causes root rot in plants because they sit in the water and are unable to breathe. Because of that, the roots of the plants may grow toward the surface since they don’t have to grow downward to find water. Both of these elements can cause problems for flowers.
Improving North Carolina Soil
In order to grow flowers in North Carolina, you have to improve the soil first. It’s not an easy task and typically requires the help of a professional landscaper. To start with, use minerals such as gypsum, lime and vermiculite. Each of these improves the quality of soil in a different way.
For example, the lime adjusts the pH levels of the soil. On the other hand, gypsum improves aeration in compacted soil, which is a big problem for clay soil. Lastly, vermiculite increases aeration and improves moisture retention.
Mixing in composted manure is a great way to add nutrients and enrich the soil as well. To slow the release of water, especially with how rainy North Carolina has become, homeowners can use peat moss. It absorbs water and slowly releases it to the roots of your flowering plants.
How to Plant Flowers
Planting flowers in North Carolina generally involves four steps. The first step is to choose where the flower garden will be. The location depends heavily on the areas that are available in your yard and the kinds of flowers that you plant. For example, flowers that require full sun, which require around six hours, need a spot that receives direct sunlight for most of the day. Partial-sun plants, however, only require about two hours of sunlight each day.
The next step is to prepare the soil. Also, during this step, you should remove weeds or any other unwanted vegetation from the garden. Some weeds can choke out flowers and prevent them from growing.
Next, it’s time to actually plant the flowers. Decide whether you want to grow flowers from seeds or use grown nursery plants. The perfect time to plant flowers depends on where in North Carolina that you live. For example, areas on the western side of the state don’t typically have the last frost until around mid-May. However, the southern and eastern parts of the state usually have the last frost between March and April. It’s important to start planting flowers after the last frost.
The last step is to put the seeds or flowers into the ground. For small seeds, simply push them directly into the soil. If they’re larger, you might want to dig a small trench and place the seeds inside. Then, cover up the trench with soil and water the area.
If you choose to plant mature flowers, you must dig holes that are about the same width and length as the pots that the flowers come in. Then, carefully remove the flowers from the containers. Before you put them into the ground, gently loosen up the roots to encourage them to grow downward into the soil. Like with the seeds, it’s important to water these new plants after you cover the roots with soil.
Which Plants Grow in North Carolina?
Because of the mild temperatures in most parts of North Carolina, you can plant a wide range of flowers. However, some of them thrive better in this state than in others.
For places with hot temperatures, try planting zinnias. These flowers love hot, sunny lawns that get a lot of sun. They come in a wide variety of heights and colors.
If you don’t want to do a ton of watering, periwinkles and portulacas are great choices. They don’t need a lot of water and come in a variety of interesting colors. Because they can grow with little watering, they’re perfect for summer homes.
When your home and yard have a lot of shade, the ground doesn’t get a lot of sun and stays cooler. Torenias are a great choice for this type of lawn. These flowers, which are often violet and blue, thrive in shady environments.
You Don’t Have to Do It Alone
How to plant flowers in North Carolina You don’t have to plant your flowers yourself. You can reach out to Heffner Landscaping for all of your landscaping needs. We can help you with everything from planting flowers to mowing your lawn and much more. Call us at 910.692.2565 to set up an appointment.