Annuals are extremely versatile and prized for the color that they deliver to the summer garden. Often available in early spring, most varieties deliver non-stop blooms from planting to the first frost. With advancements in breeding, annuals are changing all the time with improvements to older cultivars putting out more and larger blooms.
The versatility of annuals comes from the fact that they can be planted directly within a garden or containers. Container plantings can be changed throughout the season to refresh a space. Annuals are commonly available in either 6 pack or induvial containers. 6-pack material is generally suited for in-ground planting while the individual containers are better for pots.
Some common annuals for in-ground planting include:
There are many different varieties within each genus. For planting and care advice, it’s best to reference the planting tag specific to your plant.
Annual containers are great ways to freshen up nearly any space without the limitations of in-ground planting. Furthermore, containers can be swapped out to match a particular season or event.
Use the phrase Thriller, Filler, Spiller as a mantra when planning out a container planting.
- Thriller: A bold, upright architectural plant.
- Filler: Plants with medium height, or the next step down from the thriller.
- Spiller: Plants that flow out the edge of the container toward the ground.
Thrillers – Certain varieties of Begonia, Coleus, Salvia, or Ornamental Grasses
Fillers – Impatiens, Bacopa, Fuschia, or geraniums
Spillers – Various varieties of Ivy, Vinca Vine, Alternanthera, or Calibrachoa
Use the pictures below for additional inspiration as you consider using containers in your landscape.
Annual Care and Maintenance
First and foremost, always consult the planting tag that comes with your specific plant. It will cover the sun and water requirements of that plant. Our garden centers are also a great resource for specific plant preferences.
For newly planted annuals, both in-ground and containers, a time release fertilizer can help get plants off to a strong start and promote blooming. Something like Ozmocote Smart Release plant food is recommended. Additional fertilization may be needed in containers and very poor soils.
Also be sure to water plants regularly. This usually means one good soak per week. Container plants will likely need more frequent watering. The best way to determine a watering schedule is to check the soil around the plants. If the top inch of soil is dry, it’s time for a drink.
Beyond water and fertilizer, flowering annuals benefit greatly from deadheading. This is the process of removing spent flowers. Deadheading protects from disease and helps promote additional blooms. Once a week is generally often enough for most flowering annuals.