Annual Plants for Florida
An annual plant will complete its entire life cycle in one year. Widely coveted for their beauty in flower borders, planters, hanging baskets and as cut flowers, many annuals flourish in Florida during the winter months to add much-needed vibrant flower colors. Numerous annuals readily grow during the hot, humid months of summer in Florida and prove indispensable in the landscape when other flowers wilt and die from the heat. Even the heavy rains of late summer do not dampen the beauty of numerous annual flowers.
Spring in Florida brings hot day temperatures with cooler nights. Petunias and pansies enjoy nighttime temperatures of 45 to 65 degrees F, which makes them ideal for spring planting in the state. Plant flowers in the early spring to late winter for vibrant spring flowering. Spring annuals enjoy soil tilled to a depth of 6 inches with an addition of at least 50 percent organic material added to the sandy Florida soil. Weeds often grow abundantly during the spring months in the state, so an adequate mulch application will help keep growth at bay. Apply 3 to 4 inches of mulch around the base of annuals.
The heat and humidity of the state of Florida can often be staggering during the summer months. Marigolds, celosia and crossandra annuals are an ideal choice to sustain such a difficult summer. Plant in the late spring or early summer for ideal summertime blossoms. Mulch around the plants heavily to help the soil retain water during the high heat. Nematode activity is often high during the summer months in Florida, so keep small, compact annuals in their plastic containers and simply place them into the soil. The plastic compartment helps afford the plant's root system protection from the nematodes found in the soil.
In late summer and early fall, the rains are often heavy in Florida. Tropical storms and even hurricanes are common in the region. Snapdragons and wax begonias are ideal annuals for the fall season. Tender annuals that are susceptable to rain damage can be planted in containers under the cover of patio canopies or porches. Container planted annuals can also be moved inside during storms to protect the blossoms. Plant annuals in the flowerbed in protected areas beside larger plants, trees or shrubs. During the fall storms the wind in the region is often severe, so planting annuals with longer stalks beside houses or fences affords the plant a little protection.
Petunias grow well in the winter months of Florida. The flowers produce a virtually non-stop riot of blossoms throughout the season. Petunias are available in a wide range of colors and color patterns. The tiny flowers can be grown as border plants, in containers or in hanging baskets. Salvias are also a popular wintertime annual throughout the state. Both annuals can easily withstand cold nights, and even the occasional frost will not completely kill the plants. Amaranthus is an annual that is often grown for its lovely burgundy flowers that are popular in wintertime flower arrangements and also for the plant's edible leaves which are widely used in salads.