Seeing colorful flowers blossom in the spring and summer is one of the many joys that come with warmer weather. From roses to sunflowers, there are all kinds of beautiful blooms to admire. But for gardeners, the sight is even sweeter when you were the one to plant and water the seed to maturity. Some of the best garden flowers flourish with the right care and beautify your outdoor space.
Gardening is a hobby that has a wealth of benefits. Between spending extra time outdoors, researching proper plant treatment, and reaping the (sometimes literal) fruits of your labor, it’s a great activity for overall wellbeing. In fact, one study from researchers at the University of Florida finds that gardening helped lower stress, anxiety, and depression among a group of healthy women attending twice-weekly gardening classes. Even better, you don’t have to be an experienced gardening pro to reap the mental benefits. Each participant never gardened before taking part in the study.
Another study by researchers at Anglia Ruskin University finds that community or home gardening improves body image. The study examined 84 gardeners in 12 urban gardening allotment sites in north London. The research team issued a series of questionnaires to the gardeners asking questions about body satisfaction and image. They found that people who garden in their community allotments have significantly higher levels of body appreciation, body pride, and appreciation for their body’s overall functionality than a control group of 81 non-gardeners recruited from the same area of London.
Of course, the mental benefits are more than enough to write home about. But it turns out that gardening can have a positive impact on your physical health, too. Research from The University of Colorado Boulder suggests that gardening could help reduce the risk of cancer, boost mental health and bring communities together. Scientists say it leads to eating more fibrous fruits and vegetables, exercising more and building social connections. These positive elements of gardening can ease stress and anxiety and lower the risk of various illnesses.
Ready to get planting? With spring and summer still ahead, it’s the perfect time to start picking out the flowers that will fill your garden. And with plenty of great options for beginners and expert gardeners alike, narrowing down your list might just feel like the hardest part. That’s why StudyFinds searched the internet for expert opinions on the best garden flowers to find the best of the best. These five are the top recommendations, but be sure to let us know if you have a favorite that we missed in the comments below!
The List: Best Garden Flowers According to Expert Reviews
Bright, beautiful, and resilient, pansies are a great flower for any garden. “These adorable annuals come in bright, cheerful shades and last until summer’s heat fades them,” House Beautiful says. “They’ll tolerate frost—and even a mild freeze, so don’t be shy about planting them early in the spring.”
“Pansy flowers are remarkably similar to the violets from which they were cultivated. They were originally cultivated as garden plants and are thus suited best for garden environments in nearly every part of the world,” explains Gardening Channel. “They first appeared in the 1830s and are known for their irregularly shaped flowers and distinctive colorings. They are known to symbolize loving thoughts.”
And for new gardeners, pansies are fairly easy to care for. “Pansies add color to your garden while the weather is cool, in spring and fall. They’ll even overwinter in some regions if they’re mulched for protection,” says HGTV. “Give these undemanding little plants sun and soil that drains easily.”
These voluminous beauties are eye-catching in any setting, but they’re a particularly perfect addition to a flower garden. “Often sweetly fragrant, peony flowers are showstoppers because of their large size and bright hues. They make excellent additions to fresh cut bouquets if you can bear to remove them from your garden. Plus, peonies are very long-lived perennials that don’t need a lot of care,” says Better Homes & Gardens. “A magnificent bloom with the most scrumptious flowers and lush green foliage, peonies are perennials that come back every year,” Housing adds.
“Peonies are the queens of the springtime garden,” claims The Pioneer Woman. “Their lush, full flowers appear in late spring, filling the garden with fragrance. There are many different types, but they’re all worth adding to your perennial beds. Peonies are long-living plants that can live for up to 100 years!”
As a relative of the classic daisy, it’s no surprise that coneflowers make the ranking for best garden blossoms. “Coneflower tolerates heat and drought, and it blooms all summer long. Plant these tall perennial flowers in the middle or back of the bed,” instructs Better Homes & Gardens. “This native prairie wildflower looks especially beautiful when you plant the ‘Magnus’ variety, which throws its petals out horizontally, daisy-style.”
“Apt for Indian summers, these tough perennials would be the right choice for a flower garden,” Housing notes. “They flower mid-summer through the fall,” adds Montana Happy. “This plant not only has purple flowers, but they come in a variety of other colors that will work well with your garden plans.”
These charming, cheerful flowers are a welcome sight in any garden, with their bright yellow color serving as a symbol of spring. “Plant daffodil bulbs and stand back,” says HGTV. “They’ll burst into bloom each spring, filling your garden with color and fragrance. Give these hardy bulbs a sunny or partly sunny home in the garden or in containers; they’re best planted in the fall.”
If you need an early reminder of warm weather to come, daffodils begin peeking through earlier than many of their neighboring blooms. “The flowers are up late winter or early spring, which will give your cottage garden beautiful color after a long winter,” notes Montana Happy. “These classic springtime bulbs, which must be planted in the fall for spring blooms, are one of the first signs that spring finally has arrived,” House Beautiful adds. “Their cheery yellow flowers are super-reliable.”
These unique blooms add a delightful pop of color to any flower bed and require surprisingly simple care to keep them thriving. “Cheerful marigolds are easy to grow in sunny spots, brightening your garden with shades of yellow, red and gold as they bloom all summer long,” says HGTV. “The most commonly used flower in India, the marigold is close to our hearts. It must find a definite place in your flower garden,” Housing adds.
“Originally cultivated for their medicinal purposes in Latin America, the marigold holds distinct spiritual significance to cultures around the world,” notes Gardening Channel. “These flowers have appeared as national symbols and as wedding decorations as well.”
And regardless of the color scheme you’re working with, marigolds come in enough hues to thrill every gardener. “They come in shades of bright orange, yellow, and cream,” House Beautiful notes. “You can also look for variegated varieties and mix the colors for a unique look.”
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