Annual Flower Care

Overview

Annual flower care involves choosing landscape plants to match the particular conditions in your garden area. Each plant has specific requirements for sunlight, water, space and fertilizing. Although annual plants often serve to provide instant, vibrant color to the landscape, these plants don't come cheap and require care for continued health. Annual plants include common partial-sun flowers such as petunias, zinnia and verbena as well as shade-loving foliage annuals such as coleus. Basic care includes proper planting technique, watering and pruning when necessary to promote new growth.

Step 1

Choose flowers appropriate for the location in your landscape. Growers place a label or tab into each annual plant pot describing the plant's exact needs. Full sun annual flowers can handle direct sunlight but might wither in shade or partial shade garden plots. Plant partial sun/shade or full shade annuals in the correct garden location to ensure success throughout the growing season.

Step 2

Prepare the garden soil by rototilling or turning over the existing garden bed by hand with a spade shovel. Loosen the soil to a depth of at least 8 inches to make planting easier. Compacted soil doesn't absorb water as efficiently and can limit the spread of roots as the plant becomes established.

Step 3

Work 2 to 3 inches of peat moss into the top portion of the garden soil using the spade or rototiller. Peat moss adds organic materials to the garden soil and improves aeration as well as water retention.

Step 4

Dig holes for the annual plants to a depth equal to the depth of the transplant pot.

Step 5

Gently wiggle the annuals free of their market packs or plant pots by squeezing the outside of the plastic pot in your hands. Place your hand over the top of the pot and tip the plant into your palm. Cup the root ball in both hands and work your fingers into the soil around the exterior of the root ball. Freeing the roots encourages outward growth after transplant.

Step 6

Place the annual into the planting hole, making sure the depth mimics what the grower used for the container. Fill in around the plant with amended garden soil and press down firmly.

Step 7

Water the annual at the base of the plant to reach the roots. Add a layer of mulch around the base of the plant to protect the roots from the heat of the sun and to help retain moisture in the soil.

Step 8

Monitor the moisture levels in the garden soil by pressing a finger into the dirt every day. If the soil becomes dry to 1 inch, water the annuals at the surface of the garden. Avoid getting foliage or leaves wet to prevent damage as well as disease in your newly planted annuals.

Step 9

Fertilize the annual flowers with a water-soluble fertilizer every few weeks during the growing season.

Step 10

Prune back the annual flowers when blooms die or when dead blooms appear on the plant. Annuals such as marigolds and zinnia thrive and create more blooms when deadheaded regularly. Deadheading involves pinching off the dead blooms right behind the flower. Clip back stems with dying foliage or when flowering slows and increased spacing occurs between leaves. Legginess can be remedied with a good pruning to encourage bushier growth of the annual.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Peat Moss
  • Potting soil
  • Annual plants
  • Trowel
  • Garden hose and water
  • Mulch
  • Garden clippers

References

  • Texas A&M University Extension: Seasonal Color
  • North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension: Annual Flowers
  • Cornell University: How to Grow Annuals
Keywords: annuals, annual plant, plant care

About this Author

Currently studying for her Maryland master gardener certification, Sharon Heron has written professionally since 2006. Her writing includes hundreds of articles on a wide range of topics including gardening, environment, golf, parenting, exercise, finances and consumer how-to articles.