Guide for Beautiful Annual Flowers in Garden
Alright, so despite their shared initials, Annuals flowers vs. Perennials don’t quite hold the same cultural weight as Alien vs. Predator. But for some of us, gardening truly is a matter of life and death.
The brief lives of annual flowers rejuvenate a garden with fragrance and color. Yet gardeners too have their prejudices, and some see short-lived annuals as a great deal of work, particularly when compared with enduring perennials.
How wrong they are. Annual plants provide a yearly reminder of the world’s natural beauty, and it’s a lesson that’s never less than spectacular. Blues, oranges, reds, pinks, whites, and purples brighten the summer landscape, attracting birds and butterflies, and perfectly complementing the dependable greenery of perennials.
you can read this article about how to grow perennials in your garden
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced gardener, you’ll find most annuals easy to grow, with a variety of species, colors, and cultivars to suit any taste. And if there’s more you’d like to know, the articles below will provide a fresh glimpse into the wonderful world of annuals.
Planting Annuals Flowers indoor and outdoor gardens
The short, happy lives of flowering annuals
The category of annuals encompasses a great many different plants, but one trait is common to them all: a life of just one growing season. Annuals germinate, flower, set seed, and die in a single year, sometimes in just two or three months. Annual flowers seem conscious of this short lifespan, spilling their energies into great displays of color that make them favored as bedding plants or eye-catching accents in ornamental gardens.
What’s in a Name of Annuals Flowers?
Annual plants aren’t as easy to categorize as you might think. Some annuals drop a lot of seed and reappear as new plants the following year. In colder climates, some plants considered annuals are tender perennials that would live longer if not exposed to frost. Such plants are also known as half-hardy annuals.
These semantic distinctions have a purpose. Annual plants tend to require less soil preparation than the oft-pickier perennials. You may also wish to preserve tender perennials in indoor containers during the cold winter months.
What Plants are Annuals?
True annuals can be classified in a few different ways. Annual flowers are the best-known annuals, but most garden vegetables fall under the category of annual plants. Annuals also receive seasonal distinctions. Summer annuals live through spring, summer, and fall, while winter annuals germinate in autumn and die in spring.
Where do Annuals Flowers come from?
Certainly not the annual garden design stork. Annual flowers can be started from seed indoors or out, purchased in individual containers, or in plastic trays known as cell packs that typically feature four or six “cells” that contain seedlings. Annual flowers and annual plants are often planted in mass for maximum coloring, and most gardeners prefer the ease of cell packs.
If you choose to start growing annual flowers indoors, sow seeds about eight weeks before the usual date of the last frost. Purchase cell packs from your local garden center to help keep seedlings’ roots separate, or start from peat pots. Provide well-drained, moist, warm soil, and about 12 to 16 hours of sunlight or artificial light. Transplant seedlings to larger containers as necessary. Harden- off seedlings about 10 to 14 days before outdoor planting by placing them in a sheltered spot outside for increasing periods.
Soil preparation is especially important if you are planting annual flowers for the first time. Begin by removing unwanted plants with a hoe and rake or an herbicide. Till the garden soil to a depth of six to eight inches, mixing in several inches of organic matter, such as high-quality peat.
Annuals need soil that is moist but well-drained. If the soil crumbles easily in your hand but still retains its shape when held in an open palm, the moisture level should be sufficient for transplanting plants (annuals). Soil pH should be between 6.0 and 7.4.
Time to Transplant Annuals
If you’ve purchased your annuals in cell packs, transplant right away if the weather is permitting. If not, keep transplants in a lightly shaded area and water regularly.
When it comes time to transplant, lift annuals from their cell packs by gently squeezing or prodding the container bottom. Annuals will root better if you loosen the soil ball. With peat pots, remove the bottom and any part above the soil surface.
Set annual flowers in the soil at the same level as in their containers. Watering immediately will help the roots to establish. Check spacing requirements for annual flowers before planting.
Annuals typically have a longer blooming season than perennials, and you can encourage the growth of annuals flowers by “deadheading” or removing withered flowers before they set seed.
Otherwise, annual plants are generally low maintenance. To encourage roots, water heavily rather than frequently, avoiding foliage. Adding liquid fertilizer at the time of transplanting and again six weeks later will help to ensure that the short lives of your annual plants are happy and productive.
Annual Flowers Guide (Indoor Container or Outdoor Gardens)
Take a look at the typical flower garden or read a standard guide to annual flowers, and you’ll consistently encounter the same five annuals: begonia, impatiens, marigold, petunia, and zinnia. “Not that there’s anything wrong with that,” as the Seinfeld crew might say. But seeing as since annual flowers are about color and diversifying the look of your garden, it seems natural to look beyond the Fab Five for annuals a little less banal.
If you’ve become impatient with impatiens, there are alternatives. Torenia is one of the few annual flowers that, like impatiens, grow well in shade. Commonly known as “bluewings” or “wishbone flower,” its flowers are colored an eerie and yet attractive blue-purple.
You can even make wishes on it: inside its corolla tube are two wishbone-shaped stamens that pull apart once the flower is pollinated. Torenia should be planted in early spring or started indoors.
Another colorful shade-blooming impatiens alternative from the world of annual flowers is viola avalanche bronze-lavender. Though better known in the UK than the U.S., we like viola avalanche only because its name makes us imagine famous violist Lionel Tertis starring in a sports drink commercial.
The frilly blooms of marigold can look a little old-fashioned when surrounded by other annual flowers, but melampodium’s yellow daisy-like flowers are extremely bright, cheerful, and youthful.
Think of Judi Dench as marigold and Samantha Morton as Melampodium.
And yes, Melampodium sounds like skin cancer, but these little annuals are as low maintenance as it gets: they’re drought-tolerant and don’t require deadheading.
There’s nothing wrong with petunias exactly. It’s just that as annual flowers go, phlox Flowers sound so much more contemporary than petunias.
It’s even got the slangy “ph” at the front. As the kids would say, “Phlox areis phat.” Phlox’s colors are also much more intense, including bright red, hot pink, and luminescent blues and purples.
Phlox is the Greek word for flame, and annual flowers don’t get much fiercer than phlox.
Skipping past the zinnias and begonias in search of half-hardy annuals, we stop at gazania. This African daisy looks right at home among annual plants.
What’s most impressive about gazania is its color variety, with flowers blooming in various combinations of pink, yellow, orange, bronze, and white.
Like most annuals, gazanias like full sun, but these tender perennial flowers are better in mild summers rather than hot and humid ones.
Annual Flowers by Color
It’s often said that uniformity is essential for a successful flower garden and beautiful container plants in the Backyard or Patios. We beg to differ. Fortunately, there are annual flowers to be found in almost every color.
Annuals enjoy sunlight, so what name could be more suitable than Helianthus annuus, the sunflower? The sunflower’s tall stem and large, yellow flower head are iconic symbols of summer.
As for orange annual flowers, we’re big fans of Thunbergia gregorii, or orange clock vine. This tender perennial is a rooting and creeping plant that makes for good ground cover, and its blooms are simple and bright and very very orange.
Pink annual flowers don’t get much more interesting than Alonsoa meridionalis “Apricot,” or mask flower. Blooms are a subtle pink with a darker throat.
For a lighter touch in red annual flowers, there is scarlet gilia, a very beautiful biennial wildflower. Its blooms feature long corollas, like little scarlet trumpets heralding the approach of summer.
Cleome, or spider flower, is a tall-growing white annual. At three to six feet, it’s suitable for the back row of most planting beds. As for our favorite blue annual flowers are, we’ll go with lobelia, a late summer bloomer that’s tolerant of shade.
Using Winter Annuals Effectively
For many, winter is just a dull and drab few months, best endured under a fluffy blanket next to a warm heater and not out in the garden. This really need not be the case. Annuals often called bedding plants or seedlings that bloom in late winter and early spring are indispensable in offering massed color and interest when the rest of the garden is still “asleep”. They can be planted from autumn right through to spring.
“Hot” colors (reds, yellows, and oranges) are really hot at the moment and are especially useful in giving a winter’s garden a feeling of warmth. Fortunately, there are many outstanding bedding plants to help achieve this.
Also in vogue is the use of contrasting colors like yellow and black or violet and white. You can achieve this either through planting blocks of single colors next to one another or by using plants that combine them in a single bloom. For those that prefer something a little calmer on the eye, there are some pastels shaded bedding plants available.
Generally speaking, it’s best to avoid clashing colors like orange and pink or yellow and blue. However, if you look at wildflowers you will often see these growing in the same field and looking very good together. But then Mother Nature does make up Her own rules so why can’t you?
Because of the wide variety of winter bedding plants readily available, there is an equally huge number of ways they can be used. They thrive in containers, flowerbeds, hanging baskets, and window boxes, basically anywhere you want to add a touch of living color. Dwarf plants can be used for edging the front of your beds, creating a framework around which the rest of the bed is hung, while those that grow to a medium height are ideal for brightening up the center of a bed.
Plant the seedlings out en masse to create maximum visual impact. If it’s a patio or front entrance you are looking to add a splash of color to, plant up containers and hanging baskets. Many annuals are also well suited to growing in the well-drained soil of rockeries.
Tips for Success
Make sure that you start with healthy seedlings bought from a reputable garden center. Remember to check the label on the plant tray or ask the nurseryman about light requirements, and spacing. Water the seedlings a few hours before planting.
Whenever possible grow annuals in a different part of the garden from a previous season, to reduce the risk of disease. Then prepare the area well by digging it over thoroughly and mixing in compost, 90g (a handful) each of superphosphate, and a general fertilizer per m², and mix well to spade depth.
Avoid pulling out seedlings by their leaves or stems. Rather push out the root ball from below. Make a hole in the bed with a trowel and place the seedling at the same depth as it was in the container. Fill up around the plant and lightly firm the soil around the roots. Water well after planting and keep the soil moist until the plants are established. Once they are happy in their new home, water deeply only once the soil begins to dry out, rather than a daily sprinkling.
Remember to keep removing any old flowers (deadheading), to keep your beauties flowering for as long as possible.
Smart Shopping for Annuals
Spring is in full swing. Garden centers and nurseries have loads of great plants. For quick color and longevity of bloom, nothing beats annuals or bedding plants as they are known in the trade. Follow the tips below to get the biggest bang for your buck!
Annuals are purchased because they are fast-growing, have tons of blooms, or have great colorful foliage. Coleus, dusty miller, and Persian shield are good examples. It is important to select healthy plants that have bushy growth that fills the pot. Foliage should be lush with vivid color without obvious disease spots or insect damage. For the blooming annuals, it is tempting to purchase a plant in flower.
But in most cases, this should be avoided if possible. A plant in flower could have been fed a high nitrogen fertilizer to spur rapid growth and development—this can result in a plant that is a heavy feeder. When these plants are transplanted into the garden and their high-maintenance diet is not maintained they can quickly lose vigor.
Look for plants that are just beginning to flower or are in bud. Sometimes plants are flowering because they have been in the pot too long and are too mature and leggy. These should be avoided, or if purchased, should be cut back to encourage densely branched new growth. Examples of these are marigolds, red salvia, and celosia. Continue pinching these plants for a while to get that bushy plant with many flowering stems.
What exactly is an “annual” plant?
An annual plant is one that lasts a single growing season. Whether annual flower, annual grass, or annual plant of the foliage variety, these plants complete their entire growing cycle within the year – thus, “annual.”
What are the Advantages of “Annual” Plantings?
Since annual flowers and plants are “nature’s sprinters” by necessity, they reach full maturity in a short period. More blossoms, more blooms, more highlights, or more extensive ground cover is achieved in a relatively short time. As a gardener or landscaper, you are rewarded every season when you use annual flowers and plants.
Plus, annuals are much more affordable than perennials and offer you more flexibility. And if this year’s plan is going to change next year, there’s no messy and delicate replanting. Whether you grow annual flowers and plants from seed or flats of young annuals, the season you plant is the season you are rewarded.
Do Annual Flowers and Annual Plants Work in all Soil Types and sun conditions?
Generally, yes. There are so many different varieties of annual flowers and plants that will thrive in full sun or shade, rich earth or sandy soils, pest resistant, even pest repellant (that old standby – marigolds), acidic dirt, or even rock walls. Whether you’re looking for a splash of color with a bed of annual flowers, a landscape accent with all shades of foliage, or ground cover from annual ryegrass to creeping vines, annual plants or annual flowers have been designed by nature and helped by plant breeders over the ages, to work everywhere and fill every niche.
What About Annual Plants that Go to seed? Will they Take over My Flower Beds?
Certain annuals do produce seeds. That’s what plants do. Modern hybrids and varieties may, in rare cases, present a problem with “carryover.” Most modern annual flowers do not produce viable seeds. But for the most part, annual flowers and annual plants last just that one growing season. The convenience and ease you get in giving your yard, garden, or display the “right” touch with well-chosen annual plants and annual flowers.
Do Annual Flowers and Annual Plants work Well in Containers?
Yes, annuals work great in pots, barrels, window planters, and even old boots – if you take care to give them the right soil, water, and other conditions they need to thrive. From apartment balconies to patios, sunrooms, wall boxes, or spacious country drives, annual flowers and plants work everywhere.