How to Care for Annual Plants


Annuals grow quickly producing blooms within weeks of planting and are favored by gardeners who desire quick color in the flowerbed in early summer. These tender plants do not tolerate frost, and unless they are overwintered as a houseplant, die in the fall. New plants must be planted in the area the following year. Even though they are short-lived, annuals brighten the landscape with a range of colors, shapes and sizes.

Step 1

Select a location for annuals that provides the light your plants need. Many annuals thrive in a sunny location, but some prefer partial to full shade. Check the lighting requirements on the plant identification tag. Move hanging baskets or containers to the proper location before planting.

Step 2

Plant seedlings to the same depth at which they were growing in containers, pots or baskets. Annuals are sensitive to cold temperatures and must be planted after the danger of frost in your area has passed.

Step 3

Monitor daily for any signs of wilting and maintain a regular schedule of watering. Refer to the growing needs of your specific plant to determine its watering needs. Keep in mind that plants growing in containers dry out quickly and require more frequent watering that those growing in the soil.

Step 4

Deadhead faded blooms daily to encourage the plant to continue producing flowers. Simply pinch the old blossom between your fingers and thumb to snip them free of the stem. Plants labeled as self-cleaning do not require deadheading.

Step 5

Apply water-soluble fertilizer on a 10- to 14-day schedule following the recommended strength on the container. You might prefer to apply a diluted solution of fertilizer on a weekly basis to encourage vigorous growth.

Step 6

Pinch out the center leaves on each stem of plants that grow tall and leggy to encourage a compact plant. This forces new growth to appear at the base or along the stem of the plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Water-soluble fertilizer


  • University of Illinois Extension
  • University of Nebraska
  • Washington State University

Who Can Help

  • Tender Annuals
  • Half-Hardy Annuals
Keywords: grow annuals, pinch back, deadhead

About this Author

Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with more than four years' experience in online writing. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in teaching 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5.