While many Square Foot Gardeners use their boxes, Mel’s Mix™, and grids for growing fresh veggies, a good number grow non-veggie gardens that include flowers. If you love flowers, join the club because we do, too — and we’ve got some great ways to add a little (or a lot of) flower power to your SFG!
Here are 5 ways you can add flowers to your SFG, along with some handy tips to keep you blooming.
- Cutting Flowers: If you’ve ever dreamed of having a cut flower garden, stop dreaming and start planting! Flowers grown to be cut and arranged in displays and bouquets typically have strong stems and more upright growth, ideal for use in a Square Foot Garden. Think of your favorite bouquet flowers like dahlias, sunflowers, carnations, delphiniums, gladiolus, and lilies, then plan out your grid and you’re off to flower garden heaven. Make sure to plant taller flowers along the north side of your box.
- Edible Flowers: Edible flowers are a tasty way to add variety — and beauty! — to your food garden. Incorporate seasonal blooms like sunflowers, violets, pansies, nasturtiums, honeysuckle, daisies, pansies, and roses into your planting grids, and remember to take into consideration each plant’s growing habit. Some of these are tall flowers that may need staking, others are vining and will need a box-end trellis, and still others are shorter and require thoughtful planting to ensure they receive adequate sunlight.
- Pollinating Flowers: Pollinating flowers are great for the veggie garden because they lure in those valuable pollinating insects like butterflies, bees, and moths. Some of our favorites include butterfly bush, dahlias, coneflowers, milkweed, snapdragons, daisies, marigolds, lavender, and sunflowers — all perfectly suitable for an SFG. Do be sure you understand how large (or small!) each plant will be at maturity to plan your spacing correctly. Then plant and sit back and enjoy the beauty and healthy harvest that come with flowers!
- Flowers for Pest Control: Some flowers have properties that either attract beneficial bugs to your garden or repel the pesky ones you definitely don’t want. Look for chives to scatter Japanese beetles and carrot rust flies, dahlias to repel nematodes, lavender to scare away fleas and moths, and French marigolds to fight against whiteflies and destructive nematodes. Oh, also nasturtiums to trap and kill aphids, sunflowers for drawing ants away from other plants, and petunias for repelling just about everything.
- Fragrant Flowers: Yearning for a little aromatherapy? Reach for fragrant bloomers! Depending upon their growth habit, these scented beauties can be tucked in at the base of a taller plant, trained on a vertical trellis, or simply grown in their own individual grid. We particularly love sweet alyssum, stock (also great as a cut flower), lavender, rose (be aware of the size of some of these, though), freesia, scented geraniums, scented marigolds, and scented primrose. And added benefit? Many of these also pull double-duty as spectacular cut flowers, and some go beyond and repel unwanted garden visitors Many of these pull double-duty and go beyond beauty to repel unwanted garden visitors. Many are spectacular as cut flowers, so display them around your home and watch your spirits soar!
Flower Growing Tips
- Plan it out: Plan your flower planting the same way you would your veggies in your SFG. Determine which flowers are small, medium, large, or extra-large and plant accordingly within each grid.
- Give support: Remember that some taller flowers with heavy flower spikes like delphiniums, foxgloves, hollyhocks and lilies may need staking or additional support. Consider growing these at the north end of your SFG and adding a vertical trellis for support, or adding stakes within the grid.
- Plan flowers only or a mixed SFG bed: If you want to grow a good number of flowers, you might consider a flowers-only Square Foot Garden box, but if you just love the presence of flowers within your veggies, there’s no reason to segregate them. Just remember to take plant height into consideration so taller plants don’t shade out their neighbors in the next grid.
- Seeds vs. transplants: Some flowers easily grow from seed (sunflowers, marigolds, cosmos, calendula, zinnias, and nasturtiums) while others are more successful when grown from transplants (roses, buddleia, alstroemeria, and delphinium). Do a little research ahead of time to know the degree of see-sowing difficulty involved with each one of the flowers you have your eye on. We want your flower-growing experience in Square Foot Gardening to be as rewarding as your veggie experience!