How To Amend Flower Bed Soil (Easy Guide)

If you’ve ever tried to amend flower bed soil, you know it can be a daunting task. There are many different methods, but few of them work as well or as fast as the way I do it: by adding compost and then mixing in some garden lime. 

Let me show you how easy this process is and how it provides major benefits for all your plants.

How to Amend & Care for Neglected Soil
Soil amendment is crucial for proper growth and health of flowers
The best amendments for flower bed soil are organic matter like compost, leaf mold, or aged manure
Soil amendments should be done every 2-3 years or as needed based on soil tests
It’s essential not to disturb the plant roots during soil amendment during the growing season
Soil should be tested for nutrient contents before adding any amendments

Why Is My Soil So Bad?

Soil is a living thing. It’s made up of decaying plant and animal matter, which has been broken down by microbes that live in the soil. 

Soil has a lot of nutrients in it, because plants take up nutrients from the soil and use them to grow. 

If you don’t add fertilizer to your garden bed, it will become poor because there are not enough nutrients for plants to grow well without fertilizer.

Do you want to keep your flower bed soil properly hydrated? Consider adjusting your flower bed sprinklers to ensure they’re distributing water evenly. Our guide on how to adjust flower bed sprinklers offers easy-to-follow steps on optimizing water distribution in your flower bed.

What Kind Of Fertilizer Should I Use?

When it comes to fertilizing your flower bed, there are two main types: organic and chemical. Organic fertilizer is made from composted plant and animal matter, while chemical fertilizer may be made with synthetic ingredients such as ammonium nitrate and phosphorus sulfate. 

The type you choose depends on your soil’s needs and whether or not you have any allergies or sensitivities to chemicals such as ammonium nitrate.

There are also several different kinds of each type for example, fertilizers with high nitrogen content (such as blood meal), high phosphorus content (like bone meal), or high potassium content (like wood ash). 

You can also find granular forms that dissolve over time or liquids that need to be diluted in water before using them on your garden beds.

How Much Fertilizer Do I Need?

The amount of fertilizer you need depends on the condition of your soil. If it’s in good shape, you’ll use less. 

If it’s not, then you’ll need more fertilizer to help build up the nutrients and make your flowers grow better.

In general, if there is organic matter in your soil and it has been worked regularly by digging or tilling it with a shovel (and not too much compost), then a light application of fertilizer every few years should be all that’s needed.

A soil test kit can tell you exactly what nutrients are lacking so that you can choose a fertilizer based on these results.

Looking for ways to revamp your garden’s aesthetics? Consider aging your flower pots for a rustic look. Our tips on aging flower pots offer a step-by-step guide to adding an antique vibe to your garden decor.

What Does Tilling Have To Do With It?

Tilling is a great way to add amendments and get rid of weeds. It’s also a lot of work. So how often should you till?

It depends on the type of soil you have, but as a general rule, most people should only need to till once every three years or so.

Do I Need To Get Rid Of Weeds First?

You should remove weeds before you start to amend the soil. If you don’t, they’ll compete with your new plants for nutrients and water. They can also spread disease and pests to your new plants – not something you want anywhere near your flower beds!

Can You Amend Poor Soil Right On Top?

Yes, you can amend poor soil right on top. It will take longer to improve the soil if you do this, but it’s a good way to add compost or manure if you don’t want to disturb your bed too much. 

If you plan on adding fertilizer as well, however, it’s best to mix it into the soil before planting so that nutrients can be taken up more quickly by your plants.

Are you on a budget, but still want to have a garden filled with fresh flowers? Our expert tips on affording fresh flowers might be what you need. They provide cost-effective ways of growing and maintaining flowers in your garden.

Do I Have To Mix In All My Amendments At Once?

If you are wondering how to amend flower bed soil, you may have a specific timeline in mind for when you’d like to see results.

 It’s important to know that there is no one correct way of doing this; there are several options for timing and spacing out your amendments.

There are several ways you can approach amending flower bed soil:

You can add all of your amendments at once, but in smaller doses over time if needed. This is especially true if using compost from the local garden center or home improvement store because it is usually too heavy on its own for new beds or gardens without some help from other materials like peat moss or perlite (both which I will cover later). 

Adding just enough compost each time before planting will help maintain a healthy balance of nutrients while allowing the soil biology time to process them into usable forms. 

If you choose this method remember that it may take more than one year before any noticeable changes occur due to the short growing season most perennials experience during their first year outdoors

Is There A Way To Make The Flowers Grow Faster?

You can grow flowers and vegetables in your flower beds faster by adding compost. Compost is decomposed organic matter, such as leaves and grass clippings, that has been turned into a nutrient-rich material. 

When you add compost to the soil in your flower bed, it will help feed the plants so they can grow better and faster.

If you want your flowers or vegetables to grow even faster than using compost alone, mix fertilizer with the soil when preparing for planting. 

Follow package directions for how much fertilizer to use too much could hurt the plants instead of helping them thrive!

You can also incorporate mulch into your garden bed before planting seeds or seedlings. Mulch is any type of covering on top of bare ground (like grass clippings) that conserves moisture in soil and prevents weeds from germinating by blocking light penetration through them

Switching from natural to artificial grass for your flower bed? Our tips on how to care for artificial grass guarantees that your synthetic grass remains lush and healthy-looking all year round, with easy maintenance practices.

Can I Amend The Soil In Spring Or Fall Too?

While the best time to amend the soil in your flower bed is in the fall, you don’t have to wait until spring. 

You can add amendments in either season, but you may want to wait a few months before planting anything new if you do so during the summer or winter months.

How Often Do I Need To Add Amendments To The Flower Bed Soil?

How often you need to add amendments to the soil depends largely on the type of soil and how much you use it. 

If you’re growing flowers in a flower bed that’s been amended with compost, you may only need to add compost once a year.

On the other hand, if your flower bed has sandy soil or heavy clay content and is not being amended very often by nature (or by you), then it will be necessary for your flowers to have more nutrients than what’s already present in their current environment. 

In this case, adding amendments every few months would be beneficial for the health of your flowers.

Want to grow flowers on a concrete surface? Our guide on laying artificial grass on concrete provides easy-to-follow steps on how to do this, offering planting options that will thrive in such an environment.

Can I Mulch Over My Amended Soil Afterward?

If you have amended your soil and want to put down mulch, this is the time to do it. However, if you are using the amended soil in a container and adding Japanese maples or any other plants that need well-drained soil, wait until after planting before applying mulch. Then you can water often enough that the plants get all they need without being soggy and drowning in their own juices (which would be bad).

Tips for Mulching After Amending Your Soil

1.Mulching after soil amendment is beneficial and helps retain moisture, regulate temperature, and suppress weeds.
2.If the soil is well-draining, apply mulch immediately after amending; this is particularly useful when planting perennials in the garden bed.
3.Mulching after planting is recommended when amending the soil is not feasible, particularly in a container garden where the plant has requirements for specific soil quality.
4.First, water your plants before laying the mulch, and ensure the mulch layer depth is two-three inches to protect roots and maintain soil moisture.
5.Avoid piling the mulch next to plant stems, as this could lead to rot, fungi proliferation, or disease. Maintain a gap of at least 1-2 inches between plant stem and mulch.

How Can I Make Sure The New Plants Stay Healthy?

To get the most out of your amendments, you may want to consider mulching the soil with an organic material like straw. 

This will help keep the moisture in and help prevent weed growth. You should also make sure that you water your plants regularly. 

Even if it doesn’t rain much where you live, there are still ways of getting water into the ground during dry spells:

  • If there’s a nearby pond or lake, use a hose near its edge
  • Dig a shallow trench far enough away from any trees or shrubs so that they don’t get damaged when you dig it (you shouldn’t be digging more than about four inches deep) and fill it with water for several days before planting your new flowers.

Your plants need regular watering even when they’re dormant in winter months if they don’t get enough water during those dormant periods, their roots can rot! 

So stay on top of things by checking up on them regularly throughout the year; that way you’ll know what kind of care they need based on their condition at any given moment throughout each season.”

Tips for Ensuring New Plants Stay Healthy

1.Mulch your soil with organic materials like straw, wood chips, or shredded leaves to retain soil moisture and suppress weeds.
2.Water your plants regularly to ensure proper hydration, particularly in hot or dry weather conditions.
3.Avoid over-fertilizing your plants, as this could cause nutrient burn or damage to the roots.
4.Monitor for signs of pests, plant disease, or infestation, and treat accordingly with appropriate measures like insecticides or fungicides.
5.Trim your plant’s leaves or deadheads flowers regularly to promote healthy growth and maintain an aesthetically pleasing appearance.

Are There Any Other Types Of Flowers That Will Grow In Poor Soil?

While you’re still planning what to plant, you can do a little research to see if any plants are more tolerant of poor soil. 

Does it matter that your soil is acidic? Is alkaline soil better? What kind of soil do most flowers like growing in?

Flowers that are more tolerant of poor soils:

  • Flowering tobacco (Lobelia erinus) – This flower can grow in clay or sandy soils, which tend to be low in nutrients. It grows best with constant moisture and does not need much fertilizer.

Flowers that require less fertilizer:

  • Chinese lantern (Physalis alkekengi) – This plant needs little care and thrives even if its roots don’t get enough water or sunlight. Just keep an eye on it so it doesn’t get too dry!


Hopefully, this article has helped you take the first steps toward improving your flower bed soil. It’s not that hard to do, and it will definitely pay off.

I know from experience how rewarding it is to look at a beautiful garden or yard full of beautiful flowers and other plants and if growing them yourself was what got you into gardening in the first place, then maybe this is just another reason why! Good luck! 

If you have any questions about how best to amend your flower bed soil or any other questions about gardening or landscaping, feel free to ask us here at GardenLine: we’d love to help!

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources for improving your flower bed soil:

What is the Best Way to Improve the Soil in an Established Perennial Bed?: This article discusses tips for improving soil in an established perennial bed, including proper composting, drainage and pH level adjusting, among others.

Making Good Soil Out of Bad: This resource highlights how to salvage a garden bed with poor soil, and offers some practical ways to improve its quality for better yields in flower and vegetable beds.

Soil Preparation: How Do You Prepare Garden Soil for Planting?: This resource explains how to prepare garden soil for planting, with useful tips on soil testing, fertilization, pH level balancing, and more.


What are the best amendments for flower bed soil?

The best amendments for flower bed soil include organic matter like compost, leaf mold, or aged manure. Perlite or vermiculite can also help to improve drainage; crushed eggshells can be added to increase calcium, and bone meal or wood ash for phosphorous.

Can I amend soil in the middle of a growing season?

Yes, you can amend your flower bed soil during the growing season. However, be careful not to disturb the roots of the plants by digging too deeply or adding excessive amounts of nutrient-rich matter.

How often should I amend my flower bed soil?

It varies based on the type of soil you have; it’s recommended to do an analysis of the soil contents to determine the right rate of amendment. Generally, you can amend your soil every 2-3 years or as needed, based on the results of the test.

Can I use sand to amend flower bed soil?

It’s not recommended to amend flower bed soil with sand. While sand can help to improve drainage, it can make your soil too dry and decrease its nutrient content.

How can I tell if my flower bed needs a soil amendment?

If plants are not thriving or producing as they should, then it’s often a sign that soil amendment may be necessary. You can also check if the soil is too compacted and waterlogged, or if it has a high clay content which prevents water drainage.