Colorful flowers all summer?
To take our minds off the still-too-cold weather, I’m posting about ten annuals that you absolutely must know about. Not that they are the only ten…more to come.
Profusion zinnias come in deep apricot (shown here) as well as white, yellow, pink, and apricot. As the flowers age they become lighter in color, so you get this two-tone effect. Deadhead or not, these are low, round flower-power plants. Full sun, and on the drier side. Grow from seed or purchase plants at your local independent garden center.
Want hummingbirds? Grow Salvia ‘Black and Blue.’ Put some with any of the lower Agastaches in a large container and you’ll have hummers all summer. Black and Blue gets about two feet tall or more and is kind of lanky, which is another reason to grow it with a bushier plant. Snip off the old flowers as they go by to stimulate more blooms.
Of course you HAVE to have zinnias if you want cutting flowers. I grow the taller varieties available from Renee’s Garden Seeds.
I love the color that Sedona Coleus brings to my front garden. Here it’s growing with Echinacea ‘Milkshake’ (perennial), Ageratum ‘Blue Horizon’ and yellow Profusion zinnias. The tall yellow spikes on the right are biennial Verbascum chaixii.
I love Frosty Knight Lobularia. I’m also crazy about the knight’s first cousin, Snow Princess. Low, long-flowering, fragrant plants that require no care and even sail through the first few frosts. If you have any sort of event happening in your garden in the late summer or fall, you should plant these varieties of Lobularia, aka alyssum.
Dalias. I have to have them. Plant tubers or cuttings as soon as all danger of frost is gone and have cutting flowers from mid-summer until frost. Clear colors and great shapes in all sizes.
OK, if you want to be picky there are more than ten annuals featured here. Two sneak in here: Sunpatiens, and Mecardonia Gold Dust. The Sunpatiens are sun-tolerant impatiens that aren’t prone to downy mildew disease. They can be grown in full or part sun. The trailing yellow-flowering annual in these pots is the Mecardonia Gold Dust. I love this plant in the garden as well as in containers. As my friend Tracy says, “You can’t kill it!”
Grow tassel flower from seed once and it should return every summer. Learn to tell what the young seedlings look like so you don’t pull them out. Emilia javanica, aka tassel flower, is great for bouquets as well. Don’t be afraid of reds and oranges in your gardens. Even if you love white, blue and pink, this annual adds that touch of “zing” that pastel gardens need.
I love Evolvulus “Blue My Mind” because it’s blue, blue, blue. Sky blue, not purple blue. It’s an annual that loves the heat as well. This photo was taken in mid-September, and it had been flowering since mid-June when I planted it. I buy this plant from Proven Winners and couldn’t be more pleased with it. In this garden it thrives on a sunny slope in not-so-great-heavy-clay-soil, along with Lespedeza thunbergii ‘Spring Grove.’
My gardens wouldn’t be without Ageratum ‘Blue Horizon.’ You can grow it from seed but some garden centers sell it in six-packs as well. Be sure to get ‘Blue Horizon’ not the dwarf varieties if you want cutting flowers or a great annual to plant among perennials. This plant grows two to three feet high and is very self-supporting. I place the plants about eight to ten inches apart. In this photo there are also some white Gaura mingling in with the Ageratum but the cornflower blue flowers blend with just about every other color. Put this flower in with a bunch of zinnias and you have a winning, locally grown bouquet.
I love shrubs and perennials, but for me the summer wouldn’t be complete without annuals. More annuals, and other must-grow plants to come!