How to Grow a Bed of Annuals

Creating a flower bed full of annuals can be an effective way to add bright color to your garden arrangement. Annual flower beds are also great for accenting areas surrounding mailboxes or other fixtures. Learning how to grow a bed of annuals requires only a few preparatory considerations and a handful of tools and materials. The guide below will present some of the essential steps in setting up a bed of annual flowers.


  1. Image titled Grow a Bed of Annuals Step 1
    Choose the location in which you will grow your annuals. Your location should be selected before any other planning is done, because light and soil conditions will affect which plants will grow well. Outline the boundary of your planned annual bed by sprinkling flour along the ground.
  2. Image titled Grow a Bed of Annuals Step 2
    Decide which type of flowers to plant. Choosing flowers will largely depend on aesthetic preferences. However, if your bed is partially or even fully shaded, you will need to choose flowers that can cope with low light. Information regarding preferred light conditions for each plant can be researched online or found on the back of seed packets.
  3. Image titled Grow a Bed of Annuals Step 3
    Loosen the soil in the flower bed. Using a pointed shovel or spade, dig to a depth of approximately 6 inches (15 cm) following the outline you created with flour. Continue to loosen the soil through the entire area of the flower bed, piling the soil back into the bed when you are finished.
    • Ideally, the soil in the flower bed should sit about 6 inches (15 cm) above ground level. This will improve drainage and keep the soil warmer. If loosening the soil alone does not raise the level adequately, add local topsoil over the top of the flower bed.
    • Folding compost into the soil is best accomplished at this point. If you do not have a compost pile on your land, you can buy compost in bags from a nursery or hardware store.
  4. Image titled Grow a Bed of Annuals Step 4
    Rake the soil in the flower bed smooth. Once an adequate height has been achieved, you should smooth the soil out to prepare it for planting. You can do this with either a rake (ideal for large flower beds) or a hand cultivator. This process will also help to break up any large clumps of compacted soil.
  5. Image titled Grow a Bed of Annuals Step 5
    Plant the annuals in your flower bed. Gently remove each plant from its plastic cell pack and work it into the soil. Pay attention to the ideal spacing based on the type of flower; this information will be provided on the plant ID tag or on the seed packet. The outermost row of flowers should be positioned around 6 inches (15 cm) from the perimeter of the bed.
  6. Image titled Grow a Bed of Annuals Step 6
    Water the flowers. Once the entire bed is planted, water the annuals until the soil is moistened throughout. Keep the bed watered and weeded carefully for a few weeks until the flowers are firmly established. Add fertilizer if desired after a few weeks.


  • An ideal flower bed should show a balance of color, flower shape, and foliage density. Blending these different appearances will make your flower bed feel dynamic and cohesive.
  • When designing your flower bed layout, keep plant heights in mind. The tallest flowers should be placed in the center or rear of the bed so that they don't obscure the shorter flowers.


  • Do not attempt to grow flowers from seeds directly in your garden. Start the seeds indoors during late winter and transplant them to your flower bed after the last frost.

Things You'll Need

  • Flour
  • Spade or shovel
  • Compost
  • Rake
  • Annual plants
  • Hand trowel
  • Garden hose
  • Water
  • Fertilizer

Article Info

Categories: Theme and Feature Gardens