The Q&A Archives: Planting Flowers to Fill a Bed

Question: I am a new homeowner, so this is my first time planting flower beds. I want them to be full and colorful, but not so crowded that they become straggly. I am planting snapdragons, pansies, and assylum. How many per foot, or how close together should I plant them for fullness?

Answer: Plant spacing is important for long-term plant health. It's definitely tempting to pack a bed with transplants so it looks full from the outset, but the plants can soon become crowded and less attractive. The spacing I suggest will make the area look somewhat sparse at first, but with proper watering and maintenance, the bed will fill out well.

Space your pansy plants 8"-12" apart. Pinch them back when the flowers start to fade and the plants will stay compact and bushy. As for alyssum, there is are annual and a perennial types. Space annuals 6"-8" apart and perennials 12" apart. The annual kind can be sheared back after the blossoms fades and the plants will develop a second flush of bloom. Snapdragons will produce several upright stems and come in both dwarf and tall species. Space these plants 6" to 12" apart.

Mulch among the plants, water when the soil feels dry an inch deep, and feed plants monthly with a standard annual flower fertilizer. By following these guidelines your plants will have adequate air circulation for disease prevention, and the right conditions to reach their full potential.

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