Annual flowers are plants that are started from seed, obtain their maximum height, flower, produce seed, and then die all in the same year. Annual plants provide a flash of season-long colour, and are easy to grow. There is an annual that will thrive in every location in your garden. Annual plants are especially valuable in containers: they put on a show for the entire season so you can create colourful displays to accentuate your patios, pathways, houses and more. Proper plant selection can provide a season of colour, brighten a shady garden, dress up hot, dry sites or add an accent to an open area.
We carry a wide variety of annual plants ranging from common to new and improved varieties. We start bringing in our annuals in the middle of April and get fresh stock in on a daily basis until Canada Day. We have something to suit everyone’s needs no matter how green their thumb. Watch for new plant introductions each year that are sure to inspire your creativity!
Annuals can be planted outdoors once the danger of frost has passed. Most people wait until the May long weekend to do their planting: however pansies and snapdragons can be planting slightly sooner as they will tolerate some frost.
Annuals come in a variety of pots and packs for purchase. Choose plants that have dark green leaves and healthy, compact growth. If plants are not in individual pots you can use a knife to cut them apart for planting. When planting annuals plant the root ball slightly below the soil line and water thoroughly.
Hardening off is the gradual acclimatization of plants from indoor to outdoor temperatures. Plants that have been growing inside – whether in a greenhouse or in your home – are tender and at risk of tissue damage from exposure to sudden temperature decreases. It is important to harden off these plants to prevent any added stress or drying out from cold temperatures.
Hardening off involves moving plants outdoors during warm days and inside at night, and should be done for one week leading up to planting. Plants can be left outside at night if there is no risk of frost; if there is a risk of frost cover your plants or bring them indoors. Plants should be watered daily because potted annuals dry out quickly and plants may not fully recover if they are allowed to dry out. During extreme weather conditions, such as heavy rain or hail, move the plants indoors to prevent damage.
Watering is the key component to having success with annuals. Annuals have shallow root systems so they dry out quickly, especially in hot and windy weather. A light sprinkling of water is not enough; plants need to be watered thoroughly and frequently throughout the growing season.
When you water annuals you want to soak the soil and area thoroughly around the base of the plant, leave it for a few minutes and then go back and water again. Containers, hanging baskets, and patio pots will need to be soaked thoroughly and checked on a daily basis for water. During the heat of the summer, your containers may require water twice a day!
Soil contains all the nutrients plants need to grow and thrive; unfortunately soils may not have nutrients in sufficient quantities to suit each plant’s needs. It is advisable to add 2-3 inches (5-7.5cm) of organic matter on an annual basis which will help add nutrients to the soil. Plants also benefit greatly from the regular application of fertilizer.
It is strongly recommended to use a starter fertilizer at the time of planting for all new transplants. Choosing a fertilizer that is high in phosphorous, such as 10-52-10, will encourage the development of a strong root system which is necessary for healthy growth and production.
Fertilizing should be done bi-weekly through the growing season with 15-30-15 Flowering Plant Fertilizer for optimum performance and flowering. This will encourage strong healthy plants with optimal growth and flower production. If plants get too tall and leggy, prune them back to 8-10cm. This will encourage bushy, vigorous growth.
Deadheading is simply the removal of spent (dead) flowers. Deadheading is important to extend the blooming periods of annuals. Removing faded flowers will prevent the plant from going to seed. Instead, the plants energy goes into the production of new flowers.