Late spring is usually the best time to start planting seeds for beautiful summer flowers. While the spring rains can set the seedlings going, the soil is adequately warm for germination. Zinnias and sunflowers are some of the more popular annual summer flowers which people love to grow though there are many other varieties also.
If you want your summer flowers to grow well, then make sure that they get good sunlight for at least six hours every day. Southwest and desert climate zones are hot areas so try to utilize the afternoon sun. Soil preparation includes digging down for about six inches and turning it with a shovel. According to the directions mentioned on the seed pack, mix some compost, rotten manure and fertilizer. Then turn this mixture over with the soil. You must plant the tallest flower plants at the back followed subsequently by heights with the shortest in front. Follow this pattern if the flower bed has a wall or fence behind it. This way, the small plants will not get shaded by the taller plants which would be closest to the wall or fence.
If the flower bed is situated in the center of the yard, the pattern to be followed is the taller plants in the center followed by middle height plants. This should then be followed by the smaller plants which form the outermost ring. Think creatively as you plant the flowers with a wild mixture of colors, much like what you see in meadows. You could also use some coordinated colors. Remember pastel shades look wonderful. Colors like orange and purple with lots of cream and white interspersing or red and blue with some white thrown in the middle. Use various shades of blue and sprinkle a bit of bright yellow here and there.
You might have to plant seeds three times very closely. This is because many of the seeds will be lost to the birds and bugs. Water your seeds carefully. But before that, cover the seeds as directed and put a later of mulch on to. Baby plants will die if you use too much water or use too little of it. So water them only when they are dry and not because it is a habit. Once the seeds have sprouted, do not start your thinning for spacing immediately. Wait till at least 4 leaves have sprouted. 6, 12 and 18 inches for shorter, medium and taller flowers is the right distance to be maintained between the flowering plants.
The best part of summer flowers is that the more you pick them for bouquets the more you can expect them to continue to bloom. Seeding is the main purpose of a flower, if you look at it from the perspective of nature. Once that purpose is served, the plant stops blooming but when you remove the flowers the plant continues to bloom. The plant can be made to bloom a second time if, after the first bloom, you cut down the flowers by half. The flowers this time may not be as wonderful as they were the first time, but they would be lovely still. Late spring is the right time to plant seeds for summer flowers, if you want a fantastic display throughout the summer months.