Master gardener offers flower planting tips

Impatiens are annuals that will last one season. They’re often used with perennial flowers to add color. (Staff Photo: Heather Middleton)

Impatiens are annuals that will last one season. They’re often used with perennial flowers to add color. (Staff Photo: Heather Middleton)


Guides help gardeners know where to plant a flower and how often to water. (Staff Photo: Heather Middleton)


Phlox is a perennial often used for ground cover. The flower comes in several different colors. (Staff Photo: Heather Middleton)


Flowers should be placed in ideal locations to encourage growth. (Staff Photo: Heather Middleton)


Gardeners have already begun planting their flower, fruits and vegetables. (Staff Photo: Heather Middleton)

JONESBORO — Judy Coker has been getting her hands dirty for 40 years.

Her love of gardening began with her grandmother

“I would follow her all around helping her,” Coker said. “I’ve always loved gardening.”

Coker has held the Master Gardener title since 2006. To help those who might have a not-so-green thumb, Coker has recommended several flowers that even the greenest gardener can grow.

Perennials are flowering plants that come back every year. Coker said these are really the best choice because they’re planted once.

She recommends geraniums, lantana, coneflowers, phlox and purple hearts.

There are several varieties of each colorful flower.

When planting perennials Coker said to plant in early spring after the threat of frost or in late fall.

“This helps to get the roots established and ready for the hot sun,” Coke said.

For those who want something different every year, annuals are a good choice, Coker said. These plants only last one season.

“A lot of people like these to add to their perennial baskets or beds,” Coker said.

Coker recommends impatiens, sun flowers, petunias, begonias and marigolds. Again, each of these flowers has several varieties and colors to choose from.

To care for the flowers, Coker said it’s important to follow the plant guide that comes with each plant.

“Think about your lawn and garden,” Coker said. “You don’t want to plant something in the sun that requires shade.”

She also recommends getting the plant in the ground or pot as soon as possible.

When transferring she said it’s best not to pack the dirt down around the roots.

“When it starts to grow you want the roots to be able to move,” she said.

Coker said using mulch around the plants will help them retain moisture and keep out weeds.

Sh recommends deep watering a few times a week.

“This is a very saturated watering that helps encourage roots to grow deeper,” Coker said. “This is better than doing a little watering every day.”

When planting in pots, the watering schedule is different because the soil dries out faster and needs watering more often.

For those eager to get planting, Coker said now is a great time to get started.

“Usually as soon as there’s no chance of a frost is a the perfect time to plant,” she said.