Annual Flower Gardening

Overview

Gardeners often find that waiting for perennial plants to bloom involves too much patience. Annual plants fill the void by adding color, texture and spice to the landscape. Annual flower gardening involves using plants that last for one growing season in the landscape. This type of gardening provides immediate decorative flair with compact plants that cannot tolerate exposure to cold temperatures.

Significance

Annual flowers fill a great void in the garden. Sellers provide plants ripe with blooms for use in containers, garden beds and blended with other landscape shrubs. Annual flowers grow from seed to full maturity in a short space of time, from early spring to late summer. Annual flowers serve as a temporary fix to a blank spot in the garden.

Types

The wide variety of planting conditions must be paired with a tolerant annual for successful growth. Full sun annuals tolerate exposure to bright, direct sunlight each day. Partial sun annuals prefer exposure of four to six hours per day. These plants often need a rest period from direct sunlight and grow much better in early morning or late afternoon sun. Partial shade annuals thrive in the filtered or dappled sunlight provided by trees or shrubs. These annuals need slightly less sun exposure of up to four hours each day. Full shade annuals differ greatly from the other types of annuals. These plants like low light and have adapted to a planting site that features no direct sun. Full shade annuals often capture reflective light as it bounces off house sides, patios or decks.

Uses

The uses for annuals don't stop at the garden's edge. Annuals make beautiful cut flowers for arrangements. Gardeners often line the edge of a garden to create a living border for definition and distinction. Annuals mix well with perennial flowers, shrubs and trees to enhance the variety of cultivars in the landscape. Annual flower gardening allows the enthusiast to place an annual anywhere in the landscape, provided the gardener meets the correct growing conditions.

Features

Annual flowers produce compact foliage and steady blooms throughout the growing season. These plants often require little care, although some cultivars need pruning to maintain bushy foliage and regular blooming. Annuals tend to be pest resistant. Some annuals feature exceptional response to cooler weather in the early spring or late fall. Hardy annuals, such as snapdragon and pansy, tolerate light exposure to frost to provide much needed landscape interest. Regular pruning keeps the plant from producing seeds.

Benefits

Annual flower gardens allow landscapers to add an instant palette of colors to a property. The bright colors allow easy blending with foliage and ornamental plants. The best part of annual flower gardening lies in the ability to discard the plants at season end. Choose an entirely different set of flower colors for the following year to have a completely different look in the garden.

Keywords: annual flower gardening, annuals, gardening with annuals

About this Author

S.F. Heron is an avid gardener with three years of experience in online writing and a working background in aviation and earth and ocean sciences. She is published on various sites, including Helium, eHow and Xomba. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.