There are few places in the country that have as challenging a climate and soil for growing flowers as we do right here in the ‘Falls.’ We frequently have 30 or more days with temperatures above 100 degrees. Flowers selected for planting here must be capable of withstanding such harsh temperatures.
Our soils can also be challenging. Many have a thin layer of topsoil on poorly drained subsoil. Soil drainage is one of the most important, if not the most important, factor when it comes to success or failure in growing flowers. Plant roots need oxygen to survive just like people, and the only way they get it is for the excess soil water from rainfall or irrigation to drain away quickly and be replaced with air. Incorporating compost into the soil helps with soil aeration as well as supplying vital nutrients to the plants.
Thus the two key factors to having a successful flower bed in Wichita Falls are bed preparation and plant selection.
We start by building raised beds to facilitate drainage and aeration. 4” is a minimum, more than 8” may create a bed that will stay too dry. On new beds we add 6” of compost the first year and 3” per year thereafter.
Flowers, especially annuals, need lots of nitrogen, so plan on giving them a dose of water soluble fertilizer (i.e. Miracle Grow) at least once a month. One of the exciting parts of having a flowerbed is selecting species and varieties that will give a full season of color. The ones described here have worked well for us and we hope they will for you, too. Happy Gardening!