VIDEO: 4 Proven Tips to Pick Flowers for Planters (That Last!)

by | Updated: Dec 9, 2021

Tips on how to pick flowers for containers or flowerpots

So, you walk into your local garden center …

You’re all ready to pick 3-5 flowers for your planters, but suddenly, you see HUNDREDS of flower choices.

You’re looking at row, after row, after row of flowers.

How are you supposed to know which flowers to pick??

With row after row of flowers at the garden center, how do you know which flowers to choose? These tips can help.

No worries, you’ve got this!

In this tip, you’ll discover 4 proven questions to help you start narrowing down your choices, so you can pick flowers for your planters that are more likely to last — particularly in our tough western growing conditions.

Watch my video below or scroll down for the article.

Here’s what to think about when picking flowers, so your flowers are more likely to last — particularly in tough western states like Colorado and Utah.

#1: How much sun will my planters get where I place them?

Some plants love the sun. In fact, they need the sun in order to give you colorful blooms.

Knowing how much sunlight your planters get is a good way to narrow down your flowers choices.

But other plants?

Not so much.

They actually prefer shadier conditions.

Before you go to the garden center, take a look at where your planter will be and ask yourself:

How much sunlight are my pots getting and what times of day?

That way, when you get to the garden center, you can look for flowers that love sun or flowers that prefer shade.

Look at the plant tags tucked in the flowers. The plant tags should tell you whether the flowers like sun, shade or something in between.

If you’re ever unsure of how much sunlight different flowers need, you can always ask at the garden center. People are usually happy to help you.

In western states like Colorado and Utah, our sunlight is more intense on our plants in than other parts of the country because we’re gardening closer to the sun at elevation. To better understand what “sun” and “shade” mean here, check out my free mini-training: The Top 5 Mistakes in Flowerpot Gardening (And How to EASILY Avoid Them).

#2: The next question for you is, do you have wildlife in your area?

And specifically, I mean deer.

There are deer-resistant flowers that deer are less likely to eat from your planters.

Here’s why I ask.

Some plants have developed defense mechanisms, so they’re less likely to be eaten by deer.

For example, they may have a scent or a taste that deer don’t like.

If you know that Bambi and his friends like to stroll through your neighborhood like it’s an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet, be sure to ask where the deer resistant flowers are when you go to the garden center.

(Sometimes these flowers are grouped together at the garden center. Sometimes they aren’t.)

The key word here is “deer resistant.”

If an animal is hungry enough, it will eat anything that’s available to it.

Nonetheless, you’ll give yourself a little bit of an advantage if you know that your neighborhood has deer, and you seek out deer-resistant flowers.

Okay, next question:

#3: Do you get really hot summers? Or are you more likely to get summer frosts?

Here’s why I ask.

Some flower plants do really well in the heat. They can handle it like a champ, like the zinnias below.

ZInnias are flowers that love the heat. They are heat-tolerant annuals.

Other flower plants prefer cooler temperatures and are happier in sweater and jeans weather.

In fact, when temperatures get down around freezing, they’re going to be a lot more forgiving than some other plants (like pansies or violets below).

Pansies and violets are frost-tolerant flowers, making them good for mountain planters.

Seldom are these two the same.

So, if you know you live somewhere hot and you’re putting your flower plants out in the afternoon sun, then you want to ask for “heat tolerant” annuals or “heat resistant” annuals.

But if you know that you live at a higher elevation with a much shorter growing season and you have the chance of much colder temperatures, then you’re more likely to want to ask for “frost tolerant” annuals or “cold hardy” annuals. These are your flowers that are more forgiving at colder temperatures.

Okay, last question to ask yourself to set yourself up for more success with your planters or pots.

And it’s this:

#4: How much energy do you want to put into growing flowers?

Some flowers need more water than others.

All flowers need a little bit of your energy, right?

You need to water your flowers.

You may need to remove the dead blooms.

And you may need to fertilize them from time to time.

But, if you know you’re not-so-great about watering or you’re not-so-great at removing those dead blooms, there are actually flowers you can choose that are almost designed for you.

For example, let’s say that the idea of trimming off dead blooms on a flower sounds like a lot of work to you. (This is known as “dead heading.”)

Well, did you know there are some flowers that lose their petals on their own?

Often times, they’re called “self-cleaning” flowers. They lose their blooms and take care of it all themselves, so you don’t have to do a thing.

When you look at flowers at the garden center, look for words like “self cleaning” or “no deadheading” on their plant tags. (Not every plant tag says it, so it’s okay to ask about self-cleaning flowers too!)

If you know you’re not so great about watering…

You may want to ask about flower plants that need less water.

Or, you may want to invest in planters that contain self-watering reservoirs. You could run mall hoses from your irrigation system (known as “driplines”) straight into your planters or pots.

There are things you can do to pick plants that are much more suited for your lifestyle.

Are you still with me?

If yes, you’re on your way to choosing the right annuals for your planters and flowerpots this summer!

Related tips that may interest you:

Hey, do you know your flowerpot personality?

Take this fun, 2-minute quiz to find out! You’ll also get personalized ideas for flowers, so growing flowers is relaxing — not taxing.

Take this fun quiz >>

© 2020-2021, Go West Gardener
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Ann from Go West Gardener with her flowerpots and garden

Hey there, I'm Ann

I’m a Certified Colorado Gardener, dog mama and Midwesterner-turned-Colorado girl. I help budding gardeners in the intermountain west skip the “Why didn’t anyone tell me that phase?”, so they can get pretty results faster. More about Ann >>

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