Now that it’s spring, more plants are in flower than at any other time of year and the look this season is bold, flamboyant and, well… BIG. Here’s our Five (5) Best Flowers to Plant in Spring that will have your garden blooming in all things bold, brash and colourful!
Native to the Americas, this giant of the flower world can grow up to 3m tall and bear a flower head up to 30cm in diameter, (although the smaller varieties usually look better in a vase). Sunflowers are annual plants and are easy to grow from seed. For a continued supply of flowers, sow new plants every 2–4 weeks throughout the growing season. They like a well drained, slightly acidic soil in full sun with protection from strong winds. Avoid overhead watering and plant at least 25cm apart to avoid fungal diseases. Sunflowers make excellent cut flowers and can last 7–10 days in a vase. For floral arrangements, cut the flowers when almost fully open, leaving the stem long. Harvesting the seed for human consumption can be a fiddly exercise, but seed heads left to mature on the plants can be a treat for parrots in bird aviaries. The sunflower is a recognised emblem of the worldwide ‘Green’ movement.
Hydrangeas last wonderfully as cut flowers and look beautiful in a vase. Grow them in semi shade with protection from strong winds and hot afternoon sun. They prefer a rich, well drained soil and dislike drying out, so mulch well and water as necessary during dry weather. Grow them in garden beds or large tubs. Coloured hydrangea flowers reflect the soil pH, where purple indicates neutral, blue means acidic, and pink, an alkaline soil. White hydrangeas don’t change with soil pH. Flowers are borne in late spring and can continue into autumn, depending on the variety and climate. Remove spent blooms to prolong flowering and prune just above two swollen buds in autumn. Hydrangeas are easy to grow from cuttings and tolerate frost. Native to Japan, Korea & Siberia.
This hardy perennial is a landscaping darling, flowering in a range of colours from spring until autumn. Although each flower only lasts a day, it is usually replaced by another on the same stem the following day. Daylilies benefit from being kept moist and well fed, so mulch well and use Searles Flourish to boost blooms. Plant in full sun. Remove developing seed pods to prolong flowering and propagate by division in winter. There are deciduous varieties of daylily which behave rather like a bulb, becoming dormant over winter. These varieties are cold tolerant. Evergreen varieties are more typically perennial, growing well in tropical and subtropical regions. Daylilies grow happily in dry, well-drained or boggy soils. They cope with drought, frost, windy and seaside conditions and have little trouble with pests and disease. Some daylily flowers are edible and popular in Chinese cuisine.
There are few flowers as flamboyant as the hibiscus. Great for hedging, as potted specimens or in poolside plantings, give them full sun and a neutral to slightly alkaline, well-drained soil. Hibiscus hate drying out so maintain a thick layer of mulch (don’t let the mulch touch the stem of the plant). Flowers appear from winter into summer. Apply Searles Flourish to boost flowering. Hibiscus will grow just about anywhere in Australia but in cooler areas it’s advisable to select from cold-tolerant or deciduous varieties. Prune in autumn to maintain vigour and bushiness. The native hibiscus is a national emblem of the Stolen Generation of Australia’s indigenous people.
The vireya flowers sporadically throughout the year in lovely shades of pink, red, white, orange or yellow. It belongs to the rhododendron genus but unlike the standard rhododendron which is limited to cooler zones, vireyas can be grown from north Queensland to Tasmania, provided they are protected from frost. Vireyas can be shrub-like or grow as epyphytes on trunks of trees. They need a part shade position and a free-draining soil which is slightly acidic, so add plenty of organic compost or peat moss. Use a slow release fertiliser like Searles Robust and don’t let the soil dry out. Prune them in November (they are least floriferous in the summer) to keep them compact. Vireyas will grow happily in pots of Searles Cymbidium Orchid Mix. Rhododendron lochiae, which is a deep red colour, is native to north Queensland and quite easy to grow in home gardens.