Annual flowers are popular choices for flower beds, as they provide a temporary burst of color throughout spring and into the first frosts of fall and winter. Annuals allow versatility and a chance to create something unique one year and something completely different the next. There are many species of flowering annuals that produce exceptional blooms throughout the season.
Calendula (Calendula officinalis), also known as pot marigold, is a flowering annual that produces round flowers in a spectrum of fiery yellows, oranges and reds. The plant can grow to be as low as a foot down to the ground, making it a good ground-covering plant. Calendula plants generally prefer full sun with medium humidity. Well-drained soil works best: both a commercial potting soil or a homemade mix of peat, garden soil and sand will suffice.
Bitter Candytuft (Iberis amara), also called Clowns Mustard or Rocket Candytuft, is a low-growing, flowering annual native to Western Europe. The plant produces rounded, hot pink flowers that resemble cotton candy, making it a more unusual ground cover plant. Bitter Candytuft grows well in full sun with medium humidity. A general purpose potting soil will work just fine for the plant, provided it is well aerated. The plant should be watered enough to keep the soil slightly moist at all times.
The Petunia genus contains a number of low-growing annuals that produce colorful annual blooms. The plant blooms in late spring or early early summer and continues to showcase its flowers until the first frost sets in. Though fairly heat tolerant, petunias have shallow roots and may dry out in the summer if not watered enough. The plant will tolerate full sun to partial shade, growing best in light, well-drained soils. Petunias are usually pest free, although aphids can sometimes be a problem.