Annuals are plants that sprout, grow and go to seed in one growing season. All roots, leaves and flower parts die back each year after producing seeds. Wildflowers are native meadow plants. They are found naturally in fields, along river banks, beside roads and thriving in alpine clearings. Wildflowers are pieces of nature that have not been bred or hybridized by humans. They are still in the same colors and sizes as when they first appeared.
Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus) is also known as the bachelor button. It grows 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide with blue, white, pink, purple and red blossoms. The flowers are full of narrow petals. The cornflower has no special requirements. It actually thrives in poor, dry soil. Cornflowers do not like transplanting, so sow the seeds directly in the flower garden in full or partial sun. Support extra tall plants or they will sprawl on the ground. Deadhead the blossoms to prolong the flowering season and plant life.
Plains coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria) is commonly known as garden coreopsis. This wildflower grows 2 to 4 feet tall with 2 to 4 inch long leaves. Plains coreopsis produces notched yellow petals with reddish-brown color at the base of the petals. These petals surround a reddish-purple center disk. These wildflowers thrive in dry fields, roadsides, waste places and pastures.
California poppy (Eschscholzia californica) grows 12 inches high and 6 inches wide. This wildflower produces cup-shaped blossoms that are orange, pink, red, white and yellow. The flowers close up during wet or cloudy weather. The California poppy grows a large tap root which makes it difficult to transplant. Seed directly in the flower garden in an area with lots of sunlight. The California poppy tolerates dry, sandy soil and drought conditions. Pinch off dying blooms to increase flower production.
Corn poppy (Papaver rhoeas) is also called Flanders poppy, Shirley poppy and the field poppy. It grows 2 to 3 feet tall and spreads 12 inches wide. This poppy produces 3-inch, saucer-shaped blossoms that are red, orange, yellow, violet, white and pink. Clumps of gray-green leaves grow in full sun. Corn poppies tolerate dry soil, but prefer rich, well-drained soil. This poppy is aggressive if allowed to go to seed and can spread as a weed.
Annual phlox (Phlox drummondii) grows 15 inches in height and 6 inches wide. It produces flowers with five separate petals that are pink, purple, red and white. Sow seeds directly in the garden. This wildflower is drought tolerant and thrives in sandy soil. It grows best with regular watering. Remove faded blossoms to promote flowering and prevent self-seeding.
Crimson clover (Trifolium incarnatum) produces trifoliate leaves which are the typical clover leaf about 1 inch long. Crimson clover grows upright with blossoms 1 to 2 1/2 inches long. This wildflower produces an abundance of flowers that are pink to red in color.