Mulch is a great way to keep your flower bed soil moist and cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
There are many different types of mulch, so find the one that is best for your needs. Some popular options include cedar, peat, bark, forest soil, or cocoa.
Obviously, mulch is one of the most important tools gardeners can use to protect soil and reduce weed growth.
This article will discuss the best mulches for flower beds.
Best Mulch For Flower Beds Reviews in 2023
- #1. 100% Natural Cedar Shavings Mulch For Flower Beds – Best Overall
- #2. Hoffman Peat Moss Mulch For Flower Beds – Best Water Retention
- #3. SuperMoss Potting Bark Mulch For Flower Beds – Best For Orchids
- #4. Scotts Growing Media Colored Enhanced Mulch – Best Colored
- #5. Hull Farm Cocoa Bean Shell Mulch – Best Moist
#1. 100% Natural Cedar Shavings Mulch For Flower Beds – Best Overall
When it comes to the best mulch for flower beds, we highly recommend that you try out the 100% Natural Cedar Shavings, which not only helps increase plant and flower yields but also just looks really nice in your flower bed.
It offers a great combination of looks, performance, and price and we think this is why it is one of the most popular brands.
We know that when it comes to mulching flower beds, it is hard to choose a mulch over another one. Some work better than others, and some have advantages and disadvantages.
But surely, one of the best materials for mulching flower beds is 100% natural cedar shavings.
Cedar shavings have a lot of advantages over other types of mulch.
First of all, they are very effective at suppressing weeds. They also help to retain moisture in the soil, which is important for plants that need a lot of water.
Cedar shavings also have a pleasant smell, which can be a nice addition to your garden.
One disadvantage of cedar shavings is that they can be, at times, expensive.
However, they last a long time, so you won’t need to replace them as often as you would other types of mulch. And the mulch we selected here is one of the most appreciated mulches in its category at an affordable price.
So, for those who want the best mulch for flower beds, the 100% Natural Cedar Shavings Mulch For Flower Beds should be right up your alley.
We just want to say that this is a pretty attractive natural cedar mulch and looks way better in person than in the pictures. It is hard to make this claim with some other brands.
We also think that it is fair to claim that this stuff does a great job of making sure your roots don’t rot. It prevents bugs and pests from eating and attacking your flower roots. Finally, this Mulch is just a really popular choice because it simply works better than most. It is great at preventing soil mold and weeds from growing.
- Easy to use
- Not expensive
- Environmentally friendly
- Conserve water
- Comes with a nice smell, though some may dislike it
- May decompose slowly so nutrients are not going to the soil fast enough
- A bit expensive
#2. Hoffman Peat Moss Mulch For Flower Beds – Best Water Retention
It is easy to apply and helps retain moisture in the soil, which can be important for flowers that need lots of water. Hoffman Peat Moss Mulch is also a great way to suppress weed growth.
It is a great choice for those who want plenty of soil retention and aeration in the soil.
We think that this mulch is really easy to use and you just simply mix it in with soil, which will greatly increase its capacity to hold nutrients.
For flower beds, this stuff is perfect because it is easy to manage and doesn’t make a mess everywhere, unlike some of the other mulch we tried which is kind of hard to apply.
We like how a bag of this stuff will last a while and the mulch itself works for long periods of time without decomposing. So it is basically a set-it-and-forget-it kind of project.
- Great water retention
- Boost moisture
- Seeds free
- Look nice in the garden
- Suppress weeds
- 99.8% organic
- May be too acidic for non-acid-loving plants
- Low in nutrients so you need to add a fertilizer
#3. SuperMoss Potting Bark Mulch For Flower Beds – Best For Orchids
SuperMoss Potting Bark Mulch is a great way to improve the appearance of your flower beds.
It is made from 100% recycled materials, so it is environmentally friendly.
SuperMoss Potting Bark Mulch is also biodegradable, so it will decompose over time. This mulch does help to retain moisture in the soil, which will help your plants to thrive.
Another really nice option when it comes to the best mulch for flower beds is the SuperMoss Potting Bark Mulch.
This mulch is made of organic and sustainable Douglas Fir Bark.
We love how this stuff is 100% natural and organic, which we wholly endorse, and think that everybody should be using natural mulch without fillers.
Many people also like it because it is highly absorbent and will absorb and retain water. It also is pretty flood and rain and wind resistant and doesn’t just fly out.
Overall, this stuff looks great and will make any flower bed come to life with vivid colors and a burst of fresh scents. It is well worth the price.
- Orchids love it
- Organic and Sustainable Douglas Fir Bark
- 100% natural and organic
- Highly absorbent and ideal for orchids
- Great for use in floral & craft projects
- Not heat treated or baked
- Mulch can wash away with rain
#4. Scotts Growing Media Colored Enhanced Mulch – Best Colored
Scotts, a well-known provider of lawn and garden supplies, offers a new colored enhanced mulch product.
The mulch is made of Scotts Growing Media, which is a special blend of materials designed to improve plant growth. The mulch is available in four colors: black, brown, red, and green.
The colored enhanced mulch can be used to improve the appearance of gardens and landscapes. It can also be used to protect plants from the sun and wind.
This mulch helps to retain moisture in the soil, which can help plants to grow healthy and strong.
I have to say that the Scotts Growing Media Colored Enhanced Mulch is easy to use. It can be spread over garden beds or around trees and shrubs. The mulch can also be used as a top layer for compost piles.
Note that this mulch has a nice deep forest brown color and a color that will last for years. It is truly the mulch for the lazy who want little to no maintenance (like me at times).
I really want to emphasize this, the Scotts Growing Media does a really good job of retaining soil moisture and preventing weeds from growing.
While it does do a decent amount of protection, what it really excels at is that it just looks really nice and will enhance the overall look of your flower bed.
Plus, we really think that it is a bargain as it stores well and lasts longer than most of the other mulches that we have tried out.
- Color Guard keeps color lasting all year
- Can be used around trees
- Shrubs and flowers love it
- Can be applied in vegetable gardens after seeds have germinated
- Maintain soil moist
- Good temperature control
- The amount of mulch is small
- A bit expensive
#5. Hull Farm Cocoa Bean Shell Mulch – Best Moist
The shells are high in nitrogen, potassium, and magnesium, which are essential nutrients for plant growth.
They also contain calcium, phosphorous, and other minerals that are beneficial to the soil.
Cocoa bean shell mulch helps to improve soil structure, moisture retention, and drainage. It also reduces erosion and weeds.
So, though it is our last product, the Hull Farm Cocoa Bean Shell Mulch is the best mulch for flower beds if you want a mulch with fertilizer embedded as well.
This is made of cocoa bean shells and is all-natural. We like it because it breaks down slowly and certainly won’t just disappear into the soil.
And in case you were wondering, the approximate fertilizer value is 2.5-1-3 and a good thing is that it will certainly not burn any vegetation.
All in all, this is definitely a very nice mulch to try if you already tried other options and just can’t seem to find the right fit.
- Good water retention
- Weed suppression
- Improves soil texture
- Does not strip nitrogen
- May smell like chocolate
- A bit expensive
- Toxic to dogs
Each of the mulches mentioned above can be a great choice for adding nutrients and moisture to your flower beds.
However, if you’re looking for an organic mulch that will help your flowers thrive, 100% natural cedar shavings are the way to go.
Hoffman peat moss mulch is a great choice if you’re looking for a more environmentally-friendly option, while SuperMoss potting bark mulch is perfect for adding color to your flower beds.
No matter which mulch you choose, be sure to apply it generously and keep it topped up throughout the growing season.
What type of mulch to consider when buying mulch for your flower bed? A Buying Guide
There are many different types of mulches that you need to consider for your flower beds. Below are the most common ones.
- Wood or hardwood
- Inorganic rubber
- Straw as mulch
- Bark mulch
- Cocoa chip
- Grass clippings
- Recycled Paper
It is worth noting that each of the mulch described below is good for flower beds. And the choice will depend on your budget, availability of the mulch, the application (type of flowers), if you need to drain the soil or to keep it moist, and if you need to control your soil’s temperature.
1. Wood mulch for flower beds
When applied correctly, wood mulch can protect your plants and soil from the elements while adding organic matter to the soil. We all know this, but mulch comes in many different forms. However, when it comes to flowers, wood mulch is surely the top choice.
There are many types of wood mulch available, but organic wood mulches like cedar and eucalyptus are best. They decompose slowly, adding nutrients to the soil as they do, and are really good for water retention, and for keeping bad pests away from your lovely plants.
Inorganic mulches like stones can also be used, but they don’t add any nutrients to the soil.
We suggest that you apply aged hardwood mulch in a thin layer, around flowerbeds. Old wood mulch is a superb choice for flowerbed soils, as it nourishes the soil as it decomposes. Lightweight softwood mulch, often made from pine, can come to be too acidic and does not decompose quickly.
Freshly panned, green mulch from your municipality, or your own produced wood-chipping can lead to too much release of nitrogen into your soil. As such it is preferred if you do not lay down fresh mulch near flowers. Commercially-available wood chips are usually matured and dried before being commercialized, so you can use them right away. By the way, you can find these even colored for visual appeal.
2. Inorganic rubber mulch from recycled tires
They are no real benefits to using recycled rubber mulch for flower beds. Rubber mulch may seem a good idea because it helps with weed control, it’s durable and long-lasting, and it s a great way to recycle old tires.
However, this type of mulch isn’t really suitable for flower beds. The reason is simple. There may be chemicals and dyes from the rubber that will leach into the soil.
Having said that, this rubber mulch is a popular choice for walkways and playgrounds. It is also a great choice for the landscape.
Nowadays, there are a number of companies that claim they managed to remove most of the chemicals from the tires and only use natural dye for painting these. Be cautious of these claims unless they are clearly printed on the packaging. Note that using recycled rubber mulch is, nevertheless, a great way to help reduce waste.
3. Straw as mulch for landscape flower beds
Mulching your landscape flower beds with straw is a great way to prevent weed seeds from germinating and growing. Straw also helps to retain moisture in the soil, keeping your plants healthy and looking beautiful. You can purchase straw mulch from most garden centers, or you can bale your own straw from a local farm. Be sure to use a weed-free straw, as weed seeds can easily germinate in the moist environment created by mulch.
4. Bark mulch for flower garden
Adding bark mulch to flower beds is a great way to protect the soil from erosion, keep the soil temperature cool in summer and warm in winter, and add organic matter that will improve the soil’s structure. The type of bark mulch you choose matters: hardwood bark mulch breaks down more slowly than softwood bark mulch. So, selected hardwood is a better choice for garden beds that you want to keep looking good for several years.
Wood chips made of bark are also a good option for flower beds; though shredded bark wood is a preferred option for nutrient-hungry gardens as they break down more quickly than chips bark mulch. Shredded solutions add organic matter to the soil, and still help suppress weed growth.
They also make an attractive finish around plants. The disadvantage of using wood chips is that they can take up nitrogen from the soil, so it’s best to use them in conjunction with fertilizers around plants. Putting a layer of fertilizer and then a layer of bark mulch should do to avoid this problem.
5. Cocoa chip mulch for landscape flower beds
Cocoa chip mulch is made from the leftovers of the cocoa bean production process. The hulls and shells are ground into a fine powder and then formed into small chips. Cocoa bean hulls are high in nitrogen, potassium, and magnesium, making them an excellent choice for adding nutrients to landscape flower beds.
So, if you’re looking for an easy and affordable way to add nutrients to your landscape flower beds, consider using cocoa chip mulch. Cocoa bean hulls are a natural by-product of the chocolate manufacturing process, and they make an excellent mulch because they add nutrients to the soil while also helping to control weeds. Cocoa chips are also easy to find and relatively inexpensive.
The mulch is dark brown in color and has a chocolate-like aroma. It is also a natural repellent for pests such as slugs and snails. Cocoa chip mulch can be applied 2-3 inches thick and will last up to one year before needing to be replaced. Note that cocoa hulls decompose very quickly. Because of this, it is best not to apply them in thick layers. Also, do not water this mulch excessively to avoid any mold.
6. Grass clippings for mulch for your garden
If you’re looking for a way to add organic matter to your flower beds without spending any extra money, try using grass clippings. Grass clippings make an excellent mulch and they’re also a good source of nitrogen. Just be sure to use only non-fresh, dry clippings, as wet clippings can breed mold and diseases.
Another benefit of using grass clippings in your flower beds is that they’ll help keep the soil cool during the summer months. This is especially helpful in areas where the summers are hot and the temperatures tend to stay high for extended periods of time.
If you’re not able to use grass clippings right away, you can always store them in a compost bin until you’re ready to use them. In this case, you’ll have great compost at the right time.
7. Recycled Paper mulch for flowerbeds
When it comes to mulching flower beds, there are a variety of materials you can choose from. One of the most environmentally friendly options is recycled paper mulch.
Recycled paper mulch is made from old newspapers, cardboard, and other paper products that would otherwise end up in a landfill. It has all the benefits of regular mulch, such as keeping the soil moist and providing a nice weed barrier. The only problem is that it can blow with the wind. So ensure you put something on top of it.
Our advice is to use it as a bottom layer and complement it with another heavier mulch on top of it.
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
Is using mulch good for flower gardens?
Yes, using mulch for flower gardens is a good idea and that is for many reasons. First of all, it helps minimize the growth of weeds, which can ultimately steal important nutrients from your flowers. Secondly, mulching reduces moisture loss and moderates soil temperature, providing optimal growing conditions for your plants. This can be especially important during the heat of summer when plants are more prone to drying out.
In the winter, mulch even helps protect perennials from the extreme cold by insulating the root zone. However, it is important to note that not all mulch is created equal. The best mulch for flower gardens is a mulch that is organic, like shredded wood, which can break down over time and add important nutrients back into the soil. Inorganic plastic mulch may also be an option, as it can help control weeds and retain moisture. However, though plastic is long-lasting, you need to consider your environmental impact if you use it. You also need to make sure that your plants are receiving adequate amounts of water and nutrients when using this type of mulch. Overall, adding a layer of mulch to your flower garden can help support its overall health and growth.
What are the different types of mulch for flowerbeds?
Mulching is a great way to protect flowerbeds from the elements and add some color and texture to the area. There are three main types of mulch that can be used for flower beds:
- Inorganic mulch
- Organic mulch
- A combination of the two
1. Inorganic mulch
Inorganic mulch is made from materials such as rocks, plastic, rubbed, stones, or gravel. It doesn’t decompose as organic mulch does, so it doesn’t need to be replaced as often. However, it can be more expensive than organic mulch. As they don’t decompose, they don’t have to be replaced often, but they don’t improve the soil quality the way organic mulches do.
2. Organic mulch
Organic mulch is made from materials like bark chips or leaves. It decomposes over time, so it needs to be replaced every year to two years. However, it’s usually cheaper than inorganic mulch (as an initial investment).
3. Combination of inorganic and organic mulch
The third type is using both organic and inorganic mulches. Mixing these can be used together to create a layered effect.
How to apply mulch around flower beds?
To apply mulch around plants:
- Remove any weeds or grass from the planting area.
- Spread a layer of mulch 2-3 inches deep over the entire area.
- Press it down firmly with your hands so that it compacts and makes contact with the soil.
- You’re done.
Are leaves the right mulch for your garden and flower beds?
Yes, shredded leaves are one of the best mulch options for flower beds. Not only do they save you money by not having to purchase mulch, but they also help to enrich your soil as they decompose, maintain moisture, and protect your plants from winter’s and summer’s fluctuating temperatures.
If you have trees on your property that drop leaves in the fall, consider using them as a natural mulch for your flower garden. Before applying them, it’s best to shred the leaves first with a mulching mower, shredder, or leaf blower on the vacuum setting. Note that a light layer of leaves laid in your garden without being shredded is fine. However, a think layer of whole leaves can block air and water, leading to damaging your plant. On the contrary, a think layer can also lead to too much water retention, leading to molding and fungus. This is not good for your garden flowers. By adding the right amount of mulch made from shredded leaves to your flower beds, you can improve soil health and help your plants thrive. Remember, the key is to lay down the right amount of shredded leaves, no more than 4 inches thick.
Do I need to pull weeds before mulching?
The answer is not really, but it’s a good idea. While mulch can help in controlling weeds, weeding before applying the mulch will give you better results. Weeds are notorious for being a garden’s “worse enemy and bad plants”. And they are quite a challenge to eradicate. Though you may get lucky and have some weeds not regrow after being covered by mulch, pulling them out by the taproot will ensure they don’t pop again in the future.
Landscape weed barrier fabric (inorganic) can also provide an extra layer of protection against weeds. It’s important to note that simply cutting them at the soil line won’t kill them permanently. Therefore, weeding initially will reduce the chances of having weeds grow through the mulch, and help prevent the need for future weeding and maintenance. What’s nice is that controlling weeds is one of the benefits of mulch, but it’s important to prioritize weeding before mulching to ensure a healthy and beautiful garden.