Annuals:  Gardens Come Alive with Colour

Annuals are those plants whose life cycle is completed within a single season. The seed germinates, the plants bloom, set seed and then die ñ from spring to the following autumn. Owing to their short life span, annuals allow you to experiment and express yourself anew each year.

Colour

Annuals should be planted so that they complement the plants around them, for example, mauve or orchid-coloured Petunias in front of a yellow-flowering potentilla shrub, low-growing white Alyssum interplanted with blue Forget-me nots, or blue Ageratum and yellow Calendula surrounding red Salvia.

Light Requirements

The bulk of annuals prefer sunny locations but the following list will help you choose plants for all areas of your garden.

Sun

  • Ageratum
  • Alyssum
  • Asters
  • Carnation
  • Celosia
  • Coleus
  • Dahlia
  • Dusty Miller
  • Geraniums
  • Marigolds
  • Morning Glory
  • Petunias
  • Portulaca
  • Salvia
  • Snapdragons
  • Sunshine Impatiens
  • Verbena
  • Zinnia

Semi-Shade

  • Ageratum
  • Alyssum
  • Begonias
  • Browallia
  • Coleus
  • Dusty Miller
  • Geraniums
  • Impatiens
  • Lobelia
  • Marigolds
  • Morning Glory
  • Nicotiana
  • Pansy
  • Petunias
  • Salvia
  • Snapdragons
  • Vinca

Shade

  • Begonias
  • Browallia
  • Coleus
  • Fuchsia
  • Impatiens
  • Lobelia

Grouping

Annuals, often referred to as bedding plants, show themselves best when planted in groups rather than individually. Even when planting on a small scale, use a minimum of three plants and try to plant so that each group overlaps with the one beside it, creating a unified flow rather than isolated spots of colour.

Height

In designing your garden, keep in mind that annuals offer a tremendous range of heights accommodating virtually any area in your yard. Here is a small but representative sampling of the possibilities:

Ageratum Blue Blazer                       15 cm

Browallia                                            30 cm

Butterfly Snapdragons                     75 cm

Celosia plumosa                                45 cm

Dahlia-flowering Zinnias                  90 cm

Dusty Miller                                       20 cm

Dwarf Marigolds                               20 cm

Evening Scented Stock                     38 cm

Fibrous-rooted Begonia                    25 cm

Geraniums                                         36 cm

Dwarf Impatiens                               18 cm

Lobelia                                                13 cm

Petunia                                               25 cm

Sweet Alyssum                                  10 cm

How to Plant Annuals

1.    Prepare the flower bed to a depth of 30 cm, using good soil, composted manure and peat moss, all well mixed.

2.    Gently loosen the roots of each plant as you remove them from the cell-pack

3.    Water thoroughly and fertilize each plant with 5-15-5 plant starter.

4.    Keep the bed well watered for the first two weeks until the plants are rooted.Then water once a week with a soluble fertilizer, 20-20-20 or 15-30-15.

5.    In choosing and placing your annuals, consider their need for sun or shade.

6.    Should the floral display diminish, pinch the plants by nipping or cutting the stems back. In a week or so your plants will look better than ever. Do this before going on vacation and your garden will delight you when you return.

 Pinching

Annuals pinching

 CLICK to download PDF of Annuals