Annuals are flowers that complete their life cycle in one growing season, going from seed to producing new seed and dying off. In the time between, annuals will provide a multitude of blooms. Whether you are adding annuals to existing perennial beds for more color, filling containers or planning an annual bed, you can rely on annuals to brighten your space.
When designing with annuals, consider focal plants--the ones that will anchor your garden, such as flowers that add extra color or texture as fillers and trailing and border plants to finish out the area. Fertilize and water annuals regularly. To prolong the life of most types of annuals, deadhead spent blooms by pinching off to keep the plant from going to seed.
The beauty of gardening starts with the gardener's imagination. Chose focal plants that best suit your needs and color wants. Many gardeners will choose focal plants based on height or size of blooms for garden beds, or the ability to cascade over the side of containers or tumble over rocks in other gardens.
Typical annual focal plants include sunflowers, African daisy, garden phlox, dahlia, delphinium, zinnia, petunia, cosmos, foxglove, globe amaranth, salvia, hollyhock, larkspur and tall varieties of marigold and snapdragons.
Filler plants are arguably the most important part of a garden bed. These are the plants that makes your plot a "garden" instead of just focal flowers planted around your home. Fillers are often chosen for either their interesting foliage such as the coleus or dusty miller or their multitude of blooms on more bushy plants such as bush snapdragons, petunia, dianthus, pansy, violas, begonia, impatiens, castor bean, cockscomb, gaillardia, Mexican sunflower and Sweet William.
When designing your space, think of how to mix leaf texture, plant heights and color based on your own tastes. The best part about annuals is the ease of moving plants around because of their shallow root base. It is easy to find the best design for you.
Borders and Trailers
Whether you are looking for climber plants to take your garden space vertical, trailers to climb across rocks or border plants to soften walkways or walls, look for plants to fit the sun requirements and soil composition of the others in your garden. Low-growing plants such as allysum, portulaca, lobelia and snow-on-the-mountain are perfect as border plants. Add climbers like sweet peas, morning glory and nasturtium for interest and trailers such as sweet potato vine and trailing petunia varieties to containers to flow over the sides.