The most beautiful gardens are
usually planned in advance. January and February is an excellent
time to work out a plan for your garden. Here are some ideas about
annuals to help you make good selections for your garden.
are plants that complete their life cycle in one growing season.
In a just-planted garden, they will supply instant color and fill in
between your more permanent plants until they reach maturity.
(California poppies and Bachelor's Buttons shown).
You can also change the
appearance of your garden each year by changing the color scheme of your
annuals. You can set a distinct mood. For instance, use flowers of
gold, yellow, orange and red for a bright, bold garden. If your
preference if a relaxed scene, plant blues, whites, light pink and
lavenders. Other combinations are blue and yellow; red and gold;
red, white and blue; or pink and blue.
You can plant annuals in
great drifts of one color or, if the planting is large, use several
colors. Enhance the perennial border by placing annuals in clusters
of one color and variety between perennials. Annuals are perfect for
pots and containers, as most are easily moved from one place to another
where you need color.
Be sure to plant the annual
in a situation where it will thrive. If the area has less than a
half-day of sun, use shade plants. Sun-loving plants should be used
in an area with more than a half day of sunshine ( 6 hours). There are
suitable plants for moist or dry locations and you will save money if you
plant annuals requiring the same amount of moisture together.
Check the height of the plant. In the flower border, tall plants are
generally placed at the back of the border, with medium plants in the
center and small or dwarf types at the front. When planting a bed
that will be viewed from all sides, use tall plants in the center,
surrounded with medium plants and edged with small or dwarf-type
plants. (Small-flowered begonias shown.)
If you have the time and
suitable light, it is most economical to start your annuals from seed
about this time of the year. Or you can purchase them in plant form
from your nursery or garden center at the proper time for planting, which
is about mid-May in the Salt Lake area and a week later at higher
altitudes. When purchasing annuals select those that are
compact with healthy green foliage.
Some popular annuals:
bold, colorful flowers that are easy to grow. They will do well
planted as seed right in the garden when in the soil warms up in the
spring. Originally from Mexico, these flowers come in a variety of
colors, heights, plant forms and flower types and are excellent in flower
designs. They range in size from about 6 inches tall to well over
two feet. When first discovered, the zinnias was yellow and
considered a weed. The first zinnias were used for medicinal
purposes. Through the years, hybridizers have transformed what was
once a weed into beautiful, colorful, bold flowers. These can be
sown in spring or started indoors 6-8 weeks before planting out.
(shown) are tough and prefer poor soils in order to bloom
well. They come in shades ranging from yellow to orange, and the new
Cherry Belle which is a deep cherry red. The more sun you can give
this, the better is does. Nasturtiums are also edible flowers, great
in salads and as garnishes.
among the most popular annuals in Utah gardens. A native of South
America, they grow about 12-to-18 inches. Colors include purple, sky
blue, blue, scarlet, rose, yellow, white, light blue, burgundy, salmon and
bi-colors. While you can grow petunias from seed indoors, it takes
at least 10 weeks before the plants are ready to place in the
garden. It is probably best to purchase plants from a garden center.
grown as an annual in our area. They will do well in sun or
semi-shade, and range from 6-to-8 inches to three feet tall. A
native of the Mediterranean, they have spikes of many colors: yellow,
orange, white, rose, pink and crimson. They flower from June to late
fall, and should be started indoors or purchased as transplants.
(shown) are shade lovers that come in lots of pastel shades and
some jewel-bright ones. These are a standby for shady parts of the
garden, as are the large and small flowered begonias. Impatiens come
in both single and double form. While the original impatiens had
flowers of a brick red color, they now are available in many hues: white,
salmon, scarlet, pink, orange, rose and bi-colors. Plants size
varies from dwarf types of 6-to-8 inches to tall varieties of 12-to-16
inches. The impatiens is a native of East Africa. These can be
difficult to start indoors. They need a good 3 months before
planting out time. It is probably better, unless you need a large
number of plants, to purchase young plants from the garden center in
Annual phlox will
adapt well to container culture in a sunny location. It looks good
when planted in raised beds and will do well in most any soil.
Colors are crimson, pink, white, blue and crimson.
is also known as the burning bush. It is an annual shrub with dense,
attractive foliage. that will turn a brilliant red in fall. It is
useful as a foundation or background planting for a new garden. It
can also be used as a hedge as it reaches a height of around four feet and
is another easy to grow from seed annual. It reaches up to 4-5 feet
in height and should be put at the back of the border. It comes in
pink, white and purple shades and is outstanding for filling in large
empty spaces with interest.
(shown) are another standby. They range in height from 2 to 5
feet and come in shades of white, pink and purple. The tall ones are
lovely at the back of the garden where they wave behind your other
annuals. The lower ones are good for mid-border plantings. The
lacy leaves are also a nice garden accent. Late to bloom - usually
in August - Cosmos can be sown in the garden as soon as the ground can be
worked, and often self seed.
Wildflower- type and
Most of these must be
started indoors 2-3 months before planting out time, unless stated
otherwise. Also, most annuals require full sun unless stated
otherwise. See Seedlings and Indoor
Gardening for details on starting plants indoors (use your
browser back button to return to this page).
an often-fragrant flower that comes in many forms - from low
front-of-the-border plants, to bushy mid-border plants to the six foot
high rather gangly but very fragrant white version. They are
available in pastel pinks, blues, purples and whites as well as deep red
and purple shades. The purple and white ones tend to be the most
fragrant. These are wonderful for planting near your entrances and
windows! It can be started 2-3 months before setting out time
indoors under lights. They often self-sow and the plants from the
self-sown seed start slowly, but take off quite quickly. Nikkis can take
some shade unlike most other annuals. Nikkis also self-seed
prolifically. Seed collected from your Nikkis come true to color
more than 75 percent of the time.
Bluebonnets (shown) are a lupine relative. They are low
growing blue flowered with a white eye. These range from 8 inches in
height up to 2 feet. They often self-sow, and prefer cooler
temperatures yet full sun, dying back in summer unless they have some
shade from taller plants. Start them outside in the area you want
them to grow in early spring. If starting indoors under lights, the
hard seed coat will have to be nicked.
another fragrant annual. It grows to a maximum of 20" high and
has deep blue-purple blossoms in clusters, that smell divine in the
morning sun and attract bees and butterflies. It must be started
indoors a good 3 months before planting out.
- nigella (seed-pod
shown) can be easily started from seed sown directly into the
garden. It is a maximum of 12 inches high. It's pastel pink,
white, purple and blue toned flowers grow easily from seed sowed in
late spring where you want them to bloom. Nigella also has
attractive seedpods that stay on into the winter.
not just for flowers, but also help stave off nematodes from the vegetable
garden. Plant these around tomatoes and peppers and other
nightshades to help your crops along. They are not pleasantly
fragrant, but do come in varying shades from white through yellow to
multicolor orange/brown/yellow combinations. They range in size from
less than 12 inches to morethan 2 feet high. These too can be
started indoors 2 months before transplanting-out time and kept pinched
back to ensure full, bushy plants. Most Marigolds come true from seed
collected when the flowers mature.
Blue Eyes) likes some shade. This delightful 6-8 inch plant has
lovely blue flowers with a white eye. These also do well when sown
directly into the garden about 2 weeks before your expected last frost
date. Plant these under your shrubs and taller plants which can provide
dappled shade to these beauties that fade in the heat of summer.
(shown) come in a wide variety of heights and shades, from the popular
large 8 foot tall yellow ones (good for the back of a border, or even as a
living fence) to the lower and bushier Italian sunflowers that come in
shades of white and deep red.
in shades of white, pink, and purple. The white one is particularly
fragrant, and all are low growing, ranging from 4 to 8 inches in height
(will grow taller and a bit lanky in part shade, which they will
tolerate). These grow prolifically from seed sown as soon as the
ground can be worked in spring, and self-seed beautifully.
California and Iceland
in shades of gold, yellow, white and sometimes pink, are also good
self-seeders. These can be seeded as soon as the ground is workable
(shown) and other
Clarkia relatives also self-seed prolifically and can be sown as soon as
the ground is workable in spring. These can range from under 2 feet
high to more than 4 feet high. Blossom color is usually blue, but
pinks and whites are also available.
while not known for its flowers (usually tiny purple ones), is a great
shade plant that comes in a variety of bright variegated leaf
colors. These are available as seed and must be started at least 2
months before planting out time, or purchased as transplants (that way you
KNOW what color it will be).
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