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Annual Gardening

Annual flowers are plants which are started from seed, obtain their maximum height, produce flowers and then die, all in the same year. Properly chosen and cared for they provide colour from early spring until late fall. They come in many forms, heights and colours and lend themselves too many uses. Some are excellent in beds and borders, either massed by themselves or in various combinations, as fillers among perennials or to follow spring flowering bulbs. Others are suitable for flower baskets, window boxes or containers and still others can be used for edging or for prolonging blooming in rock gardens.

Soil Preparation

All gardens benefit from the incorporation of organic matter to help improve soil texture, tilth, aeration and drainage. Apply materials such as peat moss, compost, manure, leaves or grass clippings. This entails mixing in 3-4" of organic matter into the top 6-8" of soil. After thoroughly working all of the material into the bed, rake the area level and you're ready to plant.

Pre-Planting Care

If you buy bedding plants but cannot plant them the same day, water the plants thoroughly and put them in the shade to prevent excessive wilting. Evening or cloudy days are best times to plant. If you have to plant during the heat of the day or on a sunny day be sure plants are watered thoroughly after planting.

How to Plant

Annuals come in a variety of packs and pots. Choose plants that are have dark green leaves, look healthy and are compact. If plants are not in individual containers, separate plants using a serrated knife and cutting them into equal portions. Plant the root ball below the soil line.

After Planting Care

To prolong blooming period of an annual, the flowers should be deadheaded before they fade so that no seed may form. The plant’s energy stimulates the production of new blossoms as fast as the old are removed.

Annuals have shallow root systems which causes plants to dry out quickly. Most varieties will require watering on a daily basis throughout the summer, unless it is cloudy and raining. This will consist of a good soaking at the base of the plant. Fertilizing should be done bi-weekly through the growing season with 15-30-15 Flowering Plant Fertilizer. 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.

Popular Annuals:


Ageratum (Floss Flower) - this compact plant is covered with powder-puff flowers from June through October. A truly excellent plant for the front border and in containers. Flowers will last a long time when cut. For maximum blooming remove dead and faded blooms regularly. Prefers a sunny location with any reasonable well-drained soil.

Alyssum - Sweet scented plants are covered with clusters of small flowers. Very popular for the front border as each plant forms a perfect uniform clump. Good for edging, in containers and in rock gardens. Prefers full sun, well-drained soil that is not overly rich.

Amaranthus (Love-Lies-Bleeding) - This is an unusual bedding plant the produces long tassels of tiny flowers. Great specimen plant, foliage tend to be more brilliant in poor soils, prefers full sun. Foliage tends to be more brilliant in poor soils, prefers full sun.
Carnation - Carnations belong to the large family of Dianthus, with all being very similar to each other. These plants are suitable for the middle or the front of a flower bed. Prefers full sun, well-drained chalky soils.

Celosia - Bushy plants with large, bright, feathery plumes which will add a touch of elegance to beds and borders. Frequently used for indoor arrangements. Prefers full sun, light, well-drained soil.

Dahlia - Not to be confused with the Tuberous Dahlia which are grown for the large, award winning blooms. The bedding plants will produce long-lasting blooms suitable for beds and borders. Also makes a nice cut flower. Prefers full sun, heavy, well-drained soil.

Daisy - A common name for a large variety of plants which includes annuals as well as perennials. Flowers for all daisies are similar having a central disc and narrow petals. Prefer full sun and well-drained soil.

Dianthus - a large family of plants. Virtually every variety is fragrant and very showy when blooming. Dianthus are used practically everywhere—rockeries, borders, containers and window boxes. They prefer full sun, poor, chalky, well-drained soil.

Dusty Miller - One of the most popular and familiar bedding plants. It is used frequently in front borders and planters. The silver foliage accents the bright colours of many annuals and perennials. Prefers full sun to part shade, any average, well-drained soil.

Godetia - One of the showier annuals to brighten the border. Produce semi-double to double, satiny, papery flowers. Great planted in groups or as a cut flower. Prefers part shade, light, well-drained soil.

Impatiens - Popular as a groundcover, for mass planting, in containers and hanging baskets The most widely used annual in shade. Forms a compact clump of dark green leaves, flowers come in a wide variety of colours.

Kochia (Burning Bush) - A fast growing shrub-like ornamental with small dense bright green leaves. Usually forms a compact pyramidal or rounded clump. Can be used as a hedge or tall border along walkways and driveways. Prefers full sun, moderately rich, well-drained soil.

Lobelia - One of the most widely used plants for borders, edging, in planter and hanging baskets. Needs to be kept well watered during hot weather. Lobelia thrives in part shade, rich, moist, well-drained soil.

Marigold - Large family of plants that produce orange, yellow and red flowers. They are tough, durable, easy care plants. The foliage is strongly fragrant which can act as deterrence for common insects. Prefers full sun and any reasonable soil.

Mimulus (Monkey Flower) - Produces large, two-lipped flowers resembling the face of a grinning monkey. Excellent in window boxes, containers and garden beds. Should have some protection from the wind and requires some shade. Soil should be kept moist.

Nasturtium - Rounded, shield-shaped leaves and bright blossoms are produced continuously throughout the summer. The flowers and foliage make nice cut flower arrangements. Prefers part shade, poor, well-drained soil.

Nemesia - An easy to grow annual with flowers resembling those of a snapdragon. Adaptable to any site, prefers full sun to part shade, moist, well-drained soil.

Pansy - Early blooming, compact plants are great for edging, in groups or in containers. The brilliant coloured faces are popular as cut flowers. Deadhead regularly. Prefer a part shade, rich, moist, well-drained soil and cool roots.

Petunia - There are many hundreds of varieties of this species. Flowers come in single and double forms, fringed and plain petalled, solid and bi-coloured. Some have a dwarf growing habit and some will trail. Deadhead regularly. Prefers full sun, rich, moist, well-drained soil.

Portulaca - This plant grows where most other plants fail. Thrives in a hot dry sites and poor soils. Produces fleshy, needle-like foliage and rose-shaped flowers. Blooms will close when the sun goes down.

Salvia - Salvias are best when planted in groups by themselves against a background of green. The darker shades can also be effective when planted with Marigold and Dusty Miller. Produces tall spikes of flowers. Prefers full sun and any reasonable, well-drained soil.


Schizanthus (Butterfly Flower; Poor-Man’s-Orchid) - A very popular trailing plant that makes a great addition to planters and hanging baskets. Produces small orchid-like flowers and light ferny foliage. Prefer partial shade, well-drained soil and a cool site.

Snapdragon - Produces tall spikes of tubular flowers in a variety of colours and sizes. Dwarf varieties are excellent for edging or massing and the tall varieties are great in groups. To encourage flower bearing side branches pinch out the middle of the plant when transplanting. Prefer full sun, moist, well-drained soil.

Stock - Produce spikes of fragrant, showy flowers above soft, grey-green leaves. Great planted in groups. Prefer full sun to light shade, well-drained soil. Soil should not be overly fertile.

Sweet Peas - A tall, climbing plant require some kind of support (trellis, netting…). Very fragrant flowers come in a variety of colours. Great cut flower. Prefers full sun, rich, well-drained soil

Verbena - Produces broad, flat clusters of flowers. A showy, fragrant plant that blooms continuously from June through fall.

 

Annuals for All Locations


Full Sun Annuals

Ageratum – 6 inches / 15cm

Amaranthus – 24 inches / 60cm

Aster – 12 inches / 30cm

Bachelor’s Button – 18 inches / 45cm

Brachycome – 10 inches / 25cm

Carnations – 12 inches / 30cm

Celosia – 12 inches / 30cm

Cobaea – 12 inches / 30cm

Cosmos – 36 inches / 90cm

Dahlia – 35 inches / 88cm

Dianthus – 12 inches / 30cm

Dusty Miller – 12 inches / 30cm

Gazania – 12 inches / 30cm

Lavatera – 36 inches / 90cm

Livinstone Daisy – 6 inches / 15cm

Marigold – 12-16 inches / 30-40cm

Portulaca – 4 inches / 10cm

Salvia – 12 inches / 30cm

Snapdragon – 24 inches / 60cm

Strawflower – 20 inches / 50cm

Sweet Pea – 36 inches / 90cm

Verbena – 12 inches / 30cm

Zinnia – 12 inches / 30cm


Partial-Shade Annuals

Alyssum – 8 inches / 20cm

Bacopa – trailing

Black-eyed Susan Vine – 36 inches / 90cm

Calibrachoa – trailing

Canary-bird Vine – 7feet / 2.1m

Creeping Jenny – 4 inches / 10cm

Dracaena – 24 inches / 60cm

Geranium – 20 inches / 50cm

Godetia – 18 inches / 45cm

Kenilworth Ivy – 24 inches / 60cm

Lobelia – 4 inches / 10cm

Nasturtium – 10 inches / 25cm

Nemesia – 10 inches / 25cm

Nicotiana – 16 inches / 40cm

Petunia – 16 inches / 40cm

Salpiglossis – 30 inches / 75cm

Scaevola – trailing

Schizanthus – 20 inches / 50cm


Shade Annuals

Begonias Wax – 8 inches / 20cm

Begonia Tuberous – 14 inches / 35cm

Coleus – 18 inches / 45cm

Fuchsia – trailing

Impatiens – 10 inches / 25cm

Mimulus – 10 inches / 25cm

Nicotiana – 12-36 inches / 30-90cm

Pansy – 6 inches / 15cm

Tornia – 6 inches / 15cm