The Q&A Archives: Flower Planting Layout

Question: My husband built two raised flower beds, about 8'x 16'. I've never done this before so now I need a plan to fill them. They are in full sun about 80% of the day. What do I plant and where would they look the best? Money is a consideration, so I bought these seeds: cosmos, zinnia, cleome, aster and bachelor buttons. Are these a good choice and what other suggestions do you have for seeds and a few plants?

Answer: You want to plant sun-lovers, which you have chosen. Other warm-season annuals that take heat and sun include sunflowers, tithonia, coreposis, and gaillardia. For sun-loving foliage plants consider herb plants such as artemesia and sage, which have interesting colors and textures.

What to plant where depends on the angle of the beds and how you plan to view them. If you're viewing from all sides, plant the tallest in the middle. If beds are against a wall, for example, plant the tallest in the back, then middle-sized, then low growers in the front. The height of plants is usually listed on the seed pack.

By the way, a great reference for flower gardeners is "Sunset Annuals: Quick Color and Beauty for your Garden." It includes a table with flowers listed by color and blooming season. It's probably available at a local library.

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