Home Tip Tuesday! Popular Annuals for the Garden
|Annuals grow, bloom and release their seeds during one growing season.|
Annuals are nature’s gift to the impatient. They are the fastest, easiest way to inject a pop of color into the spring garden. Plants and flowers called “annuals” grow, bloom and release their seeds during one growing season and usually die after the first fall frost. The classifications of “hardy,” “half-hardy” and “tender” refer to the plant’s ability to withstand cold and indicate the best planting times. Because they die each season, spent annuals need to be removed each fall and replaced with fresh plants the following spring. However, some annuals are self-sowing and, once planted, will continue to reseed themselves year after year.
Five Popular Annuals Flowers
The most popular annuals are showy and easy to care for, but not all annuals are right for every spot. Before heading to the nursery, make sure you know how much sun your site gets and what type of garden you want to grow. The natural, sometimes invasive nature of self-seeding annuals could create a maintenance nightmare in a formal garden.
1. Petunia (Petunia x hybrid) – For fast-growing, reliable color, the petunia has no rival. Petunias come in a rainbow of colors, sizes and growth habits. Wave petunias spill dramatically out of pots and window boxes while miniature versions are perfect for small gardens. Petunias are considered half-hardy. They require full sun and moist, well-drained soil.
2. Snapdragon (Antirrhimun majus) – There is something irresistible about the charming, old-fashioned bloom of a snapdragon. They are a somewhat compact plant that can grow up to 3-feet tall, depending on variety. Like petunias, Snaps come in almost every color imaginable. They tolerate light shade and prefer the cooler temperatures of spring and early fall.
3. Impatiens (Impatiens sp) – Is there a shady spot in your garden where nothing seems to bloom? The cheerful little Impatiens plant can fix that. Impatiens produce a prolific amount of sweet little blooms in warm shades like pink, yellow and orange and also white. They thrive in partial shade and prefer moist soil. Too much water or fertilizer can cause Impatiens to get leggy. Pinch back plants to keep them blooming and neat.
4. Dusty Miller (Senecio cineraria) – Grown more for its silvery foliage than its bloom, Dusty Miller makes a perfect companion plant to other, more showy flowers. It is heat- and drought-tolerant and deer-resistant and can grow up to 12 inches tall. Keep the plant neat and lush by pinching off the yellow flowers which are not its best feature.
5. Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) – Nothing says summer like the cheerful face of a sunflower. Available in varieties from 18-inches to 10-feet tall, there’s a sunflower for every garden. If you want to collect seeds for snacking, choose Mammoth Russian or Snack Seed for smaller gardens. Leave the heads on seeding varieties if you want to provide food for the birds during fall and winter.
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