Annual Plants for Containers

Annuals bloom for only one season and they provide bright colors and unusual textures to garden beds and containers. There are many annuals available, some being drought-tolerant and others needing more water. It's essential to periodically pinch back some annuals such as petunias and geraniums to force side growth and create a more dense and compact plant. On other annuals, and as the flower blooms fade, deadhead or remove the old bloom to promote new growth.

Lantana

This weeping annual has lavender and pink blooms, and bright green foliage. It's cascading shape and billowing blooms are attractive nestled within containers for a bright and colorful design. The blooms of the lantana grow up to 3 feet tall and have a trailing habit. Lantana also is a drought-tolerant annual that grows in hot, arid temperatures. Lantana is hardy in USDA zones 9 to 11.

Petunia

This bright and brilliant trailing annual is ideal planted inside containers. The billowing form of the petunia has small flowers in a wide range of colors, including blue, pink, red, violet and white. The petunia is low-growing and reaches a height of 6 inches, perfect for a flowing container. The petunia is a summer loving annual that blooms through the first frost. It requires full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil. Place the container along a front walkway or backyard patio for color and texture. Its USDA hardiness zones are 9 to 10.

Pansy

This fall loving annual is a low maintenance plant to grow in containers during the cool fall and winter months. There are many pansy colors to choose from, some solid while others are tricolor, with three colors swirled together. Pansies prefer sun to partial shade and moist soil. The pansy is a container-must and will fill out the space in a short period. The small pansy, also called the Johnny-jump-up, is lovely tucked into containers and nestled between larger pansy blooms. These small pansy flowers instantly brighten up containers and can withstand a heavy frost. Pansies are hardy in USDA zones 4 to 8.

Geranium

This late spring to early fall annual is drought-tolerant. The geranium is an ideal container plant because of its snowball-like blooms and shapely form. The geranium grows fast and reaches up to 24 inches in height and 12 inches wide, making for a full container in a short period. Geraniums bloom in pink, red, coral, white and some bi-colors, where more than one color is swirled together. Line pots of geraniums along a garden walkway for bright bursts of color and texture. Geraniums require full sun and are hardy USDA in zones of 4 to 8.

Keywords: annual container plants, weeping lantana, trailing petunia, colorful pansy, bi-color geranium

About this Author

Callie Barber is a writer and photographer in North Carolina. Her work has appeared in Forbes and Automotive News magazine. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.