Gardening with Annuals

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Annuals complete their entire life cycle in one growing season: the seeds sprout, the flowers blossom, and the plant sets seed and dies to ground. All most of these flowers need to thrive is proper water, sufficient sunlight, and well-balanced soil.

You can start these flowers directly from seed, with seedlings, or by transplanting older plants from cell packs. If you buy plants to transplant, plant them as quickly as possible or store them in a shaded area and water when necessary.

Here are some general tips for gardening with annuals:

  • Avoid planting before the danger of frost has passed. Most ot these flowers like warm soil and stable temperatures.
  • Avoid planting in areas where water pools after heavy rain. Pooling water can drown the roots.
  • Avoid planting in areas close to trees or large shrubs, because the root structures of these large plants can compete for moisture and leave your flowers without enough water.
  • Mulch the flower bed should before planting with a two to three inch layer of pine straw or pine bark. Mulching conserves the moisture contained in the soil and reduces the growth of weeds.
  • Most types grow best in a well-drained soil containing a moderate amount of humus and tolerate a pH range from 5.8 to 7.4. Amend clay heavy soils before planting by mixing in at least two inches of humus, leaf mold, compost, or small pea gravel.
  • Most varieties need to have at least six hours of full sunlight each day, although some types, such as argeratum, browallia, coleus, fuschia, dianthus, pansy, and impatiens, do well in partial shade or filtered sunlight.
  • Watering and fertilization needs vary according to variety, so it’s important to know about the needs of each plant.



Annual flowers come in different types. Usually, you want to plant hardy types in the fall for color throughout the colder months. Most hardies start to decline in the spring and die when the heat of summer begins to arrive.

Half-hardy annuals, such as dianthus, can tolerate a light frost but not a hard one. You can generally plant them early in spring. Half-hardies usually start to decline in the heat of the summer, but they can bloom again in the autumn.

Tender annual flowers, such as zinnias, impatiens and vincas, cannot tolerate any freezing temperatures, so do not plant them until all danger of frost has passed.

Popular Annual Flowers for the Home Garden

deb5376 – Flickr

Pansies bloom best when planted in an area that receives full sunlight. You also want to plant pansies in tight masses and in a rich, well-drained soil.

Impatiens do best in either shade or filtered sunlight, and they like a quick draining soil containing plenty of organic material.

Marigolds love the sun and a well-drained soil. These plants are easy to care for, and they provide dependable blooms.

Verbenas also love the sun, and they need hot weather to thrive. Plant them in the warmest parts of the garden that get the most sunlight.

Madagascar periwinkles bloom through the summer and into the fall season, and they come in a variety of pink and white shades.

Updated: November 9, 2012 — 2:22 am

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