Growing annual flowers in the "Sunshine State" provide splashes of varying colors throughout the four seasons of the year. Complementing perennials in the landscape, planting annuals is an easy way to spruce up the appearance of your flower beds or to change their color themes from season to season. In Florida, annuals are often planted to bloom in the cooler winter months, while some annuals do well in the hot summer heat.
Also known as sweet alyssum, this annual, native to the Mediterranean, does well in full sun and is ideal for planting in early spring. Alyssum (Lobularia maritime) belongs to the Brassicaceae, or Cruciferae, (cabbage) family, and grows as a low profile plant that reaches less than 9 inches in height. While alyssum performs well as a perennial in other regions, it is often grown as an annual in Florida.
Alyssum flowers grow in clusters and are purple, pink or white. It prefers full sun to partial shade exposure and semi-moist soil. Alyssum blooms continuously throughout its growing season, and it makes a nice landscaping border.
Native to China and Japan, baby's Breath (Spiraea thunbergii) is a flowering annual that belongs to the Rosaceae, or rose, family. Its other names include Thunberg spirea and baby's breath spirea. It grows as a shrub well in full sun to partial shade and in moist, well-drained soil, up to 6 feet tall. Its small white flowers first bloom in late winter or in early spring. In Florida, its blossoms also bloom in the winter months, and plant new plants in February and March.
Native to Indonesia, coleus is planted as an annual throughout the United States, especially since it is sensitive to cold temperatures. In its native climate, and in climates similar to it, Coleus grows as a perennial that retains its foliage year-round.
Coleus (Coleus x hybridus) is also known as flame nettle and painted leaf from its vibrantly colored, multi-colored leaves with varying shades of red, maroon, cream and yellow. Its flowers bloom in varying shades of purple, lavender and blue. Coleus belongs to the Lamiaceae, or Labiatae, (mint) family and grows up to 6 feet in height in full sun to partial shade exposure and in well-drained moist soils.
Belonging to the Asteraceae, or Compositae (aster or daisy) family, dahlia (Dahlia spp.) is also known as garden dahlia and is native to Central America. Dahlias prefer full sun to partial shade exposure and rich, moist, well-drained soils.
Dahlia flowers bloom in many different colors, and combinations of colors, such as purple, red, white, yellow, pink and orange. Its flowers have very large flower heads with multitudes of vibrant petals. The plant grows up to 6 feet in height, depending on the species.