Recycle: Tired Summer Flowers

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Did you ever think it would happen? The weather has finally turned cool in North Texas.

You are clearing out your tired summer annual plants and flowers from your home landscape beds. (Hint: “annuals” are flowers and plants that only live for one growing season vs. “perennials” that live year-round through multiple seasons).

Us Texans tend to love periwinkles, petunias, verbenas, and pentas in the summertime because they visually pop with pretty colors and they like our heat.

Now fall is here, and you want to upgrade the front of your house with cold-loving flowers like mums, snap dragons, pansies, and ornamental cabbages.

Don’t throw away those summer flowers in the trash. Compost them.

Fresh flowers are a great nitrogen source, and dried flowers and plants are a great carbon source. Together, they create an ideal composting mixture. (Remember, compost happens when you combine carbon sources, nitrogen sources, water, and air!)

Here are a few ways to compost your flowers at home:

1. Pull them up from your bed, and leave them where they are to rot. (If you’re worried that they may look messy, you can throw them to an unseen corner of your bed, or you can mulch over them). This is called sheet composting.

2. Add them to your backyard compost bin, and water them in.

3. Leave them in a walkway between your beds where you often walk, and yes – walk over them! Add some leaves and water, and continue walking over the old flowers throughout the fall and winter seasons. The flowers will eventually break down with the other organic items, and you can rake all of this material back into your beds come spring. That will add another layer of organic matter to your soil. This is a method of composting called walkway composting.