Home Tip Tuesday: Most Popular Annuals for Your Garden

Annuals give a pop of seasonal color that makes the garden come to life!

Perennials may be the backbone of your flower garden, but annuals provide that strong pop of seasonal color that makes the garden come to life. Annuals are often the first and last plants to bloom, stretching out the beauty of your beds several weeks longer than perennials alone can. They must be replanted each spring and won’t bloom year after year like perennial plants. But the benefits of annuals outweigh the slight inconvenience of replanting.



Marigolds
Marigolds (shown above) are cheerful, low maintenance and insect and deer resistant. These qualities put them at the top of our popularity list. From diminutive single-petaled flowers in shades of pastel yellow and cream to giant pop-pom blooms in eye-popping shades of orange, rust, chartreuse and gold, there’s a perfect marigold for every garden. All types of marigold do best with full sun and soil that’s kept evenly moist.

Bachelor’s Button

Bachelor’s Button, also known as Cornflowers, are an old-fashioned favorite that look like blue jewels atop tall stems of 1 to 3 feet. Be aware they also come in shades of white and pink. Bachelor’s Buttons reseed themselves liberally so it’s best to plant them in a spot where naturalizing is welcome. They’re not fussy about soil and can survive drought conditions, but bloom more when given moderate moisture. Plant in sun or partial sun. Deadhead these flowers after the first bloom to extend the blooming season. Don’t forget to allow a few of your Buttons to go to seed for next year.




Zinnia

No summer garden would be complete without the colorful, reliable zinnia. Zinnia’s come in nearly every color, shape and size imaginable from tiny Tom Thumbs to flowers the size of a Gerber Daisy. There are also several specialized varieties of Zinnia. Some are especially for cutting, some for attracting butterflies and there are even multi-colored strains. They prefer full sun and don’t mind drying out a bit once established. Zinnias grow quickly from seed sown directly into the soil. There are so many types of zinnias there’s no excuse not to include at least one variety in your garden.



Borage

Borage is popular for its large cluster of diminutive lavender-blue flowers and easy care. Officially an herb and not a flower, borage grows up to 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide, making it great for filling space in a new or large garden. This plant attracts birds and bees and is both deer and drought resistant. Toss borage flowers into salads, summer drinks or candy them to decorate desserts. When harvesting for culinary use, discard the prickly back of the flower and use only the tender petals. Borage will reseed itself if allowed. Remove unwanted seedlings in early spring to keep the plant in check or cut off the blossom stalk in late summer/early fall before it goes to seed.


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