Beautiful flower beds for a great price

May 5, 2011 4:56:45 PM PDT
The Uptown Houston district is known for its colorful blooms, and it's truly a labor of love.

Keeping the landscape beds looking beautiful and colorful is a tough job. That's why we talked to the expert who puts this all together, and shows us which flowers get you the most bang for your buck.

Have you ever home with a pallet of beautiful colorful flowers and a week or two later it ends up being a waste of money because they don't make it? We talked to an expert who gave us some tips on planting beautiful colorful flowers so they don't die. She also shares her top list on which ones thrive in Houston's hot climate.

Amidst the hustle and bustle of Uptown Houston, colorful blooms take center stage along the medians. Every spring, more than 40,000 plants are planted in the landscape beds. The flower beds are just 30 inches wide but are like winding ribbons of color that wow neighbors.

"The purple, the yellow, the white, it's fabulous," one resident said.

Landscape designer Cheryl Langford is in charge of the project. It takes a crew of 15, several truck loads of flowers and a map to perfectly place each plant in the bed.

"They have already done a great job," she said.

So we asked Langford to help us get started on our own colorful landscape beds.

She focuses on three key components.

First, you have to have a great foundation, so choose a soil that's made for flowering plants. You must also build up your bed with soil.

"Make sure you build up four to six inches higher than the grade, whatever you are doing, because color does not like wet feet," Langford said.

Wet feet occurs when the soil is saturated with water for more than a day. Over time, this could kill your plants.

Second, have a good irrigation system. For those who have big landscape beds, it may be worth investing in a sprinkler system.

"You have a consistent moisture in your bed and you can regulate that of course with days and minutes on your controller," she said.

The third component is planting the right flowers for the season. Langford's favorite is called Serena Angelonias, a full, sun-loving plant. Hands down, Langford says, it will give you the most bang for your buck.

"They get very little disease, they don't require a lot of water and they give you a lot of color," Langford said.

Another sun-loving plant is the Rudbeckia Tigereye. This is Uptown's signature flower.

"It's the sunflower, the smaller sunflower on the esplanades," she said.

Other plants that love the sun are Golda Coleus, a great plant for contrasting color, and Grafitti Pintas, which attract hummingbirds, and Cora Vincas.

When it comes to planting your design, start with the taller flowering plants and work your way down to the ground cover blooms.

Some shade-loving blooms that thrive in Houston's heat? Lanford's top three picks are Impatiens, Caladiums and Begonias.

Sun-Loving Blooming Plants:

Serena Angelonias
Golda Coleus
Grafitti Pintas
Cora Vincas

Shade-Loving Plants:


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