Kids Go Gardening - fun with flowers

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Pick your colours!

  1. Choose your container
    It might be a large pot, a collection of little pots, and old drawer or suitcase, a planter box from the garden centre or a flower box you built yourself. To grow flowers your container should be 15-25cm deep and have holes for water to drain through.
  2. Choose your flowers
    Pick your favourite colours at the garden centre. You might choose plants that are already flowering in single pots. If you want to plant lots, look for smaller plants in six-packs so you can help them grow into bigger plants. They’ll reward you with their flowers in just a few weeks.
    How many plants do you need? Read the label to see the recommended space. Most flowers need at least 10-15cm between each plant. For example, you will need one flower plant for a small pot (10-15cm diameter), or three for a medium sized pot (25-30cm).
  3. Fill your container
    Start with enough planting mix so your pot is about three quarters full with 5cm of space left at the top. A planting mix from the garden centre is best when you are planting winter flowers in pots. But you could also use good home made compost mixed with a bit of sand.
  4. Plant your flowers
    Gently tip your flowers from their little pots. Press on the bottom of the pot to pop your seedling (don’t pull the plant from the top or you might damage it. Plant your flowers, adding enough extra mix to make sure so their roots are fully covered. You will need to leave 1 or 2cm of space at the top of the pot for easy watering. Water thoroughly after planting.
  5. Look after your flowers
    Make sure your flowers get lots of sun. Water enough to keep the potting mix is kept damp. You won’t need to water as much as you do in summer. Carefully snip or pinch out old flowers and the plant will keep growing more, right through until Christmas time is you care for them well. Feed you flowers with liquid fertiliser about once a month.

Easy winter flowers

Polyanthus, also called primroses, come in super bright primary colours. Choose yellow, red, blue, pink, and orange, white and more.

Pansies are loved for their funny little ‘faces’ with interesting blotches and ‘whiskers’. They come in nearly every colour your could think of! The smallest pansies are called violas.

TIP: If your pansies get tatty over winter, trim them back and feed them with liquid fertiliser. A fresh crop of flowers will soon appear.

Calendulas are the flowers for you if you love sunny colours in winter - yellow, orange and gold. They grow easily from seeds, which are nice and big so easy to sow.

FUN FACT: Calendulas contain pigments that give them their beautiful strong colours. If you feed calendula flowers to your chickens they will lay eggs with brighter yellow yolks.

INTERESTING: Calendulas belong to the daisy family which means they are ‘compound’ flowers. In other words, what looks like one single daisy flower is actually a whole lot of little flowers (florets) together on one stem. The ‘disc florets' are in the middle with the colourful ‘ray florets’ around the outside.

Experiments with flowers

Changing colours

Make a good strong dye using food colouring and water. Pick some white or pale coloured flowers. Cut your flower stems on the diagonal and place them in a tall glass with coloured dye in the bottom. Wait and watch. The longer you keep your flowers in the dye the stronger the colour.

When we cut a flower off the plant it cant get water from its roots any more but its stem can still drink! Inside a stem there are bundles of tiny drinking straws (called xylem). This water moving up the straws is called capillary action. Why does this happen?

Grow them differently

Start with two similar flowers in the same sized pot with the same potting mix. What happens when you dont feed one of them? Do they grow differently when you put one in the shade and one in the sun. What happens?

Questions to ponder…

  • Why are flowers so colourful?
  • What is a flowering annual?
  • Where do flower seeds come from?

Did you know?
Some flowers are edible. Some are herbs for healing. And some flowers are poisonous - always check!

Build a Flower Tower

Gather some pots of different sizes and some small flower seedlings. Half fill the biggest pot with planting mix. Take the next biggest pot and sit on top. Add more potting mix and plant flower seedlings (or seeds) around the edge. Continue in this way as you build your tower. Make it double decker, triple decker or higher!

Look for these products, tips and advice at an Go Gardening garden centre near you.



Mixed colours of polyanthus

Pansies come in an array of colours and faces

Calendula Pacific Beauty can be grown from seed

Calendula seeds are big and curly

A pansy flower tower