Annual plants complete their entire life cycle, from seed to flower and back to seed again, all in one season. Because their time is limited, annuals bloom with gusto, often for months on end. Here are some care-free annuals that will help transform your garden into a beautiful outdoor space.
A number of perennials also are willing to grow as annuals, particularly semitropical plants, such as lantana, four-o’clock, and sweet potato vine.
- Many gardeners simplify this matter by referring to all plants that are easily grown for a single season as annuals.
The benefits of planting annuals
Care-free annuals are the workhorses of the garden, providing reliable foliage and flower colour from spring to fall, and throughout winter in mild climates.
- In mild climates, early-blooming, cool-season annuals such as pansies are perfect companions to spring-flowering bulbs and flowering shrubs.
- With the onset of summer, you can switch to heat-tolerant, warm-season annuals including marigolds, salvias, and zinnias.
- The majority of bedding plants that fill stores in spring are annuals, so it is hard to imagine an easier way to kick off a colourful summer than to buy a few, prepare a suitable bed, and pop in these ready-to-grow plants.
- Many of the annuals sold as bedding plants are compact dwarf varieties, bred to need little maintenance and grow as well-behaved subjects in gardens, containers, and window boxes. They bloom for months and you can just toss them on the compost heap at season’s end, and you’re ready for next year.
Although annuals are, by definition, one-season wonders, they sometimes self-sow, making replanting unnecessary.
- The best of these are charmingly informal plants, such as forget-me-nots and poppies, that surprise us by cropping up in new places, and delight us with the bonus of free plants.
Give these 48 annuals a try!
The annuals listed on the following pages will look good for an extended period of time without fuss or bother. Easy, fast, and inexpensive, they are ideal for busy gardeners.
- Butter Daisy
- Castor Bean
- Dusty Miller
- Fan Flower
- Flowering Cabbage
- Flowering Tabacco
- Bedding Geraniums
- Globe Amaranth
- Licorice Plant
- Spider Flower
- Swan River Daisy
- Sweet Alyssum
- Sweet Potato Vine
- Wishbone Flower
The more you try, the more of these care-free garden performers you’ll fall in love with, and the more ways you’ll find to use them. Keep these tips in mind and get started today!