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Old January 21, 2018   #1
rhines81
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Default Flowers this year

For the past several years my flower beds have sat mostly empty. I have 5 different beds in the middle and surrounding my driveway so I though what the heck - I should start my flowers from seed this year.

I know el-zippo about flowers. I have been reading up a little, but not really finding some of the information I need - maybe someone here can help.

The main questions I need to know is what size inserts I should be using in my 1020s and should I plan to pot them up once before transplanting outside?? I hope to grow right from the insert to the ground without having to pot up. I have a variety of mixed 36, 48 and 72 cell inserts.

Here is what I am planting:
Alaska Shasta Daisy
Calendula (Mix)
Columbine (Mixed Colors)
Coreopsis (Early Sunrise)
Gaillardia (Arizona Sun)
Gloriosa Daisy (Double Gold)
Lupine (Mixed)
Morning Glory (Mix) [for around elevated front deck steps and landings]
Pansy (Mix)
Snapdragon (Mix)
Sunflower [several types, for bordering my veg garden - jap beetles love these and leave my peppers alone]
Zinnia (Forecast)

I have already gotten my seed and will start the pansies in about 3 weeks, most of the others in mid-March, sunflowers & zinnias end of April and morning glories mid-May.
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Old January 21, 2018   #2
Nan_PA_6b
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I think lupine hates to be transplanted? See what the directions say. If so, probably best not to pot up. Or perhaps just direct sow them.

I don't think sunflowers like to be moved, either, but they get big quick, so maybe start them in larger cells.

Morning glories get big quickly too. They need to be nicked before sowing, I think (Writing this all from memory), and iirc, they take a while to germinate.

Pansies they sell in the stores in tiny cells, so I don't think you need to pot them up.

Personally, I'd just direct sow all of them. I don't think lupines bloom the first year, though.

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Old January 21, 2018   #3
bjbebs
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I always pot up once. Start in plug size trays and move up to extra deep 50 cell trays. If plants are left in plug trays too long and I anticipate planting delays they go into 3 1/2 inch square pots.

Will start vinca next week, followed by impatiens and petunia mid Feb. March plantings include gazania, zinnia, cosmos and coreopsis. Some can be direct seeded but most suffer little transplant shock. Sunflower seed will go right into the ground.
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Old January 21, 2018   #4
nancyruhl
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Room on the heating mats are always at a premium and germination rates uncertain. I always start in smaller trays and pot up. I have some trays I collected at work that fit 4 in a 1020 tray. I do one per variety and then pot into salvaged four packs or whatever I have available.
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Old January 21, 2018   #5
Worth1
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I take a blow torch to every flower that comes up.
Cant stand the things choking out my beautiful poison ivy.

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Old January 21, 2018   #6
greenthumbomaha
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Five beds of flowers in addition to a vegetable garden is quite an undertaking, unless you are retired and can spend the morning on maintenance. You might consider planting shrubs in some of those beds. Annuals are typically high maintenance in a large area weeding , frequent irrigation, deadheading. Just my 2cents.

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Agree with Nan on direct seeding, and nancyruhl on the breadth of varieties you listed. zinnias and marigolds grow and flower fast, just throw them on the ground and they take heat well
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Old January 21, 2018   #7
GrowingCoastal
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A nice mix for attracting bees to the garden.
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Old January 21, 2018   #8
rhines81
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Hard to believe but 4 out of 5 of those beds are weed free, hardly anything grows in them unless I plant it due to a lot of old mulch. If I wanted to direct seed I would have to get rid of the mulch in the area which is why I want to plant starts instead. They are also isolated with boulders and slightly raised. The 5th bed which is level to the driveway and yard, I may or may not plant because it's heavy in weeds but a few daffodils still come up in it every year. One of the beds is about 6 foot wide and there are shrubs that take up the back half and there is technically a 6th bed but that is 100% shrubbery. My larger concern is the deer population, but I do have other things for them to munch on.
And yes I want to attract many, many more bees - they are almost a rarity anymore. I've even considered calling up a beekeeping club to let them put a couple of hive on my property (but still looking into the pros/cons of that).
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Old January 21, 2018   #9
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Bees like certain favorite things and when they latch onto them it is very hard to attract them.

Even if you do manage to draw them into a place with flowers it is no guarantee they will have anything to do with stuff you want them to pollinate like cucumbers and so on.
I have set out the all you can eat buffet for them and they still go for certain things right next to the melons and cucumbers year after year.

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Old January 21, 2018   #10
rhines81
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I wish I even had any bees at all. I do have the carpenter bees (bumble bees) which do like the melon and cuc flowers, but I can't remember the last time I saw a normal honey bee anywhere around even in some of the thick clovers I have in spots. This is why I am considering inviting a hive or two.

Oh yea, by the way, the bumble bees also liked the flowers on the grapes that I had last year. Unfortunately, the flowers on the grapes all dropped and no grapes last year, I think this will be the year I get some!

Last edited by rhines81; January 21, 2018 at 09:25 PM. Reason: Grapes
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Old January 21, 2018   #11
Cole_Robbie
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The most bee-friendly flowers I have grown have been my fall mums and Montauk daisies. After the first frost, I have had warm fall weather the past few years. It's warm enough for the bees to fly, but there are no flowers for them. In that environment, they were all over my flowers, because I had the only blooms around.
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Old January 21, 2018   #12
pmcgrady
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Last season was a good one for bee's here... especially when the squash and cukes were blooming
most bee's I've seen in years.
Hope that's a good sign!
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Old January 21, 2018   #13
Nan_PA_6b
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For honeybees: orange butterfly weed. For bumblebees: monarda/bergamot/bee balm.

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Old January 22, 2018   #14
AlittleSalt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhines81 View Post
For the past several years my flower beds have sat mostly empty. I have 5 different beds in the middle and surrounding my driveway so I though what the heck - I should start my flowers from seed this year.

I know el-zippo about flowers. I have been reading up a little, but not really finding some of the information I need - maybe someone here can help.

The main questions I need to know is what size inserts I should be using in my 1020s and should I plan to pot them up once before transplanting outside?? I hope to grow right from the insert to the ground without having to pot up. I have a variety of mixed 36, 48 and 72 cell inserts.

Here is what I am planting:
Alaska Shasta Daisy
Calendula (Mix)
Columbine (Mixed Colors)
Coreopsis (Early Sunrise)
Gaillardia (Arizona Sun)
Gloriosa Daisy (Double Gold)
Lupine (Mixed)
Morning Glory (Mix) [for around elevated front deck steps and landings]
Pansy (Mix)
Snapdragon (Mix)
Sunflower [several types, for bordering my veg garden - jap beetles love these and leave my peppers alone]
Zinnia (Forecast)

I have already gotten my seed and will start the pansies in about 3 weeks, most of the others in mid-March, sunflowers & zinnias end of April and morning glories mid-May.
I cannot speak for zone 5A, but here in zone 8A Texas - what I have found is there is no need to pot up any flowers that I have grown myself.

I have grown from your list:

Alaska Shasta Daisy, sow seeds in ground.

Lupines, plant them in ground.

Morning Glories, plant them in ground. They are very invasive and will take over an area quickly when let go to seed. They are beautiful though, and might invite some bees to visit - especially bumblebees.

Sunflower, sow seeds in ground.

None of those four like to be transplanted, but it can happen.

Marigolds are ones that can be started in seed cell flats that do very well when transplanted - no need to pot them up.

Ivy and mint are a couple that like a mix of sun and shade. Once you get them started, they'll spread on their own or you can take cuttings and start them in ground = tada, a new plant. Both will flourish in full shade, and are good plants to grow around shade trees.
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Old January 22, 2018   #15
Ann123
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Worth1 View Post
Bees like certain favorite things and when they latch onto them it is very hard to attract them.

Even if you do manage to draw them into a place with flowers it is no guarantee they will have anything to do with stuff you want them to pollinate like cucumbers and so on.
I have set out the all you can eat buffet for them and they still go for certain things right next to the melons and cucumbers year after year.

Worth
This is also my experience. Last season I grew a currant tomato and a few blacktail Mountain watermelons on my balcony. I saw a bee visiting all the tomato flowers (I thought they didn't like tomato flowers?). I seemed like it wanted to visits each and every one of them. Took an eternity. Then it flew in the direction of the watermelons that had loads of flowers. Made one circle over the watermelons and off it went. Didn't like watermelon flowers.
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