Annual flowers add instant color to planters, hanging baskets and gardens. These hardy plants survive only a few months but provide continual foliage and flowers. Heat-loving annual plants work perfectly in full-sun areas of your garden. Zinnias, vincas, sunflowers and marigolds produce brilliant color in the garden and tolerate the hot temperatures of summer. These sturdy plants require minimal care and are garden workhorses, providing reliable filler around perennials, shrubs and trees.
Zinnias can be directly sown in the garden after the last frost to save money on buying transplants. This hardy, heat-tolerant annual loves the hot sun and, in fact, suffers during rainy periods, when they are susceptible to mildew. Zinnias feature large dahlia-type blooms in a profusion of colors on a sturdy stalk. Dwarf varieties reach 12 inches in height and larger varieties grow stalks up to 6 feet tall.
Vincas tolerate heat and thrive in the hot conditions often found in summer gardens. Vincas features shiny, dark green leaves and a profusion of five-petaled flowers in pink, fuchsia, white, red and purple. Vincas grow well in planters and hanging baskets, tolerating the drier soil conditions. These plants maintain flowers for long periods of time. Vincas prefer well-drained soil and should be planted after the soil has warmed completely in the spring. Plants reach a mature height of 12 to 16 inches and can tolerate group plantings.
Mexican sunflower produces blooms that resemble a brilliant orange daisy. The yellow center of the flower attracts butterflies and bees. Mexican sunflowers grow to a height of 2 to 3 feet and work well as an accent plant behind low-growing annuals or perennials. Foliage is similar to the fuzzy leaves of a daisy and discourages wildlife from grazing on these plants. Mexican sunflowers bloom in the mid-summer heat through to fall.
Marigolds are a mainstay of the home garden, adding their vibrant yellow and orange hues. Marigolds prefer full sun and well-drained soil. Foliage fleshes out as the growing season progresses to create a moderately sized plant. Flowers resemble yellow or orange pom poms attached to sturdy, spiky foliage. Different cultivars include intricate variegated flowers in shades of orange and yellow. Marigold offers the gardener a dependable hardy plant that will thrive in hot conditions.