I have a passion for gardening and growing flowers, vegetables. and berries.  Over the years I’ve discovered a wonderful way to enjoy and abundance of free flowers.  I’ve developed ways to indulge this passion without breaking the bank. It takes a little more work and a lot more patience however you can have a beautiful abundant garden for very little money.  

Are you ready to join me on this journey to gardening for nearly free. Let’s jump in and explore how you can unlock the beauty of nature and transform your outdoor living space into a vibrant, colorful oasis.

How flowers are good for your brain

Flowers have a way of lifting our spirits and bringing a sense of calm and tranquility to our lives. Whether you display them in vases around your home or admire them in your own backyard, the presence of flowers can have a profound impact on our well-being. 

Studies have shown that having flowers release a host of feel good chemicals in the brain. Endorphins, natural pain killers, oxytocin, the “love” neurotransmitter, and serotonin. These brain chemicals can reduce stress, improve mood, and even boost creativity and productivity. By learning how to grow your own flowers from last years seeds, you’ll not only save money but also enjoy the therapeutic and brain benefits of nurturing these natural wonders.

Free flowers

How to identify flowers that are likely to produce seeds

The first step in your journey to free flowers is to identify which flowers are likely to produce an abundant supply of seeds. Some of the most prolific seed-producing flowers include marigolds, sunflowers, zinnias, cosmos, and nasturtiums. 

These flowers are often referred to as “self-seeding” or “self-sowing” because they naturally drop their seeds, which then germinate and grow into new plants the following season. I call the flowers the next season that grow from these self seeding plants the “volunteers.” The vibrant and lush flowers you see in the above picture are all volunteers. They came from plants that I grew the prior season. 

How to collect and store flower seeds

Once you’ve identified the flowers you want to grow during the following year, it’s time to start collecting their seeds. Wait until the flowers have fully bloomed and the petals have started to dry out and fall off. Gently remove the seed heads or pods and place them in a dry, well-ventilated area to fully cure. 

After a few weeks, you can easily remove the seeds and store them in an airtight container in a cool, dark place until you’re ready to plant them the following year.   The other method I use for growing free flowers the following year is to let the plants die at the end of the summer and not remove the dead plants until the following spring.  

The following spring I remove the dead plants and wait for the seeds the flowers dropped to germinate and grow.  I use this method for Calibrachoa (million bells), Petunias, Marigolds, and Zinnias.  

volunteer verbena seedlings
Free Flowers, flowers in seed starter tray

Preparing the soil for planting flower seeds

To directly seed the flower seeds in your flower bed wait until the last chance of frost has passed. To ensure your flower seeds have the best chance of germinating and thriving, it’s important to prepare the soil properly. 

Start by clearing the area of any weeds or debris, and then loosen the soil to a depth of about 6 inches. Incorporate some organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, to enrich the soil and provide essential nutrients for your plants. Finally, level the soil and lightly rake the surface to create a smooth, even planting bed. 

Once you’ve prepared the soil, create shallow furrows or holes in the ground, spacing them according to the seed packet instructions. Carefully place the seeds in the furrows or holes and cover them with a light layer of soil. Water the area gently, being careful not to displace the seeds.

Planting flower seeds in flower starter trays

Choose a high-quality organic potting mix and fill your flower seed starter trays to  1 inch from the top of the cells in the tray. Add 1 or 2 seeds to each cell and cover with more potting mix, following the recommended planting depth on the seed packet. Gently press the seeds into the soil and water them thoroughly. Be sure to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged as the seeds germinate and the seedlings begin to grow.

Planting seedlings that started in last years hanging baskets, flower pots, and flower beds 

All of the flowers in the following picture the Zinnias, Marigolds, and Verbena were started by transplanting the volunteer seedlings that grew from the prior years flowers. It is best if you don’t let them grow where they spout. Multiple seedings will grow together, competing for nutrients. The result will be random clusters of unhealthy plants.   

A better way to utilize those free flowers is to choose the healthiest of the volunteers and transplant them into seed starter trays. Once they are several inches tall and have developed a healthy root system they can be transplanted back into your flower beds, hanging baskets, and flower pots. 

 

free flowers, zinnia, marigolds, and verbenia in a garden

Caring for flower seedlings

As your flower seeds begin to sprout and grow, it’s important to provide them with the proper care and attention. Keep the soil consistently moist, but avoid overwatering, which can lead to fungal diseases or root rot. Gently remove any weeds that may compete with your seedlings for nutrients and water. If necessary, thin out the seedlings to ensure they have enough room to develop strong, healthy root systems.

Transplanting flower seedlings to larger pots or the garden

Once your flower seedlings have established a good root system and reached a height of a few inches, it’s time to transplant them to their final growing location. If you started them in seed starter trays, carefully lift them, being mindful of their delicate roots, and plant them in larger pots, hanging baskets, or directly in your garden beds. Water the transplants thoroughly and monitor them closely for the first few days to ensure they’re adjusting well to their new environment.

Maintaining and nurturing your flowers for continuous blooming

To keep your flowers thriving and producing an abundance of blooms, it’s essential to provide them with ongoing care and attention. This includes regular watering, deadheading spent flowers, and applying a balanced, organic fertilizer every few weeks. Depending on the flower variety, you may also need to stake or support taller plants to prevent them from toppling over.  Set up a dripper system on a timer for your pots and hanging baskets.  That way you control how often and how much water you give them.  With a little TLC, your flowers will reward you with a stunning display that will last throughout the growing season.

hanging baskets

Harvesting flowers for indoor decoration or gifting

One of the joys of growing your own flowers is the ability to pick them for indoor arrangements.  From early spring until the first frost I have flower arrangements throughout my living space.  The add beauty and a sense of calm to the space. 

Everyone who stops by for a chat or cup of coffee leaves with a bouquet of fresh flowers.  It’s my way of connecting and sharing the abundance of my gardens. 

When your flowers are in full bloom, gently snip the stems at an angle.  The angle exposes more vascular surface to the water.   Strip the foliage from the lower parts of the stem leaving a few inches of foliage attached above the water line.  Place the cut flowers in a vase with fresh water, For longer lasting blooms add a little sugar and vinegar to the water.  

Creative ways to display and enjoy your free flowers

The possibilities for displaying and enjoying your free flowers are endless. From simple vases and bouquets to more elaborate arrangements, the creativity is up to you. 

Consider pressing some of your flowers to create unique artwork or greeting cards. You can also dry the flowers and use them in potpourri or as natural decorations around your home. The beauty and versatility of these homegrown blooms will inspire you to find new and exciting ways to showcase them.

pink flowers in vases

Thank you for visiting my social media sites, where you’ll find exclusive pictures of what’s new in my gardens and the new recipes I’m creating in my kitchen. When you make this recipe, thank you for leaving a comment in the “Leave a Reply” section at the end of this blog.

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