Annual flowers are frequently used to make a bold, fleeting statement, offering a glimpse of brilliant color before fading away in early frosts. Many gardeners prefer to use hardy, low-maintenance flowers for their gardens, preferring not to spend an excessive amount of time on such beautiful, but short-lived, flowers.
Annual Lion's Ear
Native to tropical regions of Africa, annual lion's ear (Leonotis nepetifolia) is an unusual-looking, vertical-growing annual that produces clumps of tubular red flowers. Low maintenance and drought tolerant, annual lion's ear requires very little care and is ideal for the gardener who is aiming for a naturalized, wildlife-friendly garden. Annual lion's ear grows well in sandy, loose soils, thriving even in disturbed soils. The plant benefits from regular watering, and can be grown in full sunlight or partial sunlight.
Easy to grow and beautiful to look at, orange cosmos (Cosmos sulphureus) is a shrub-like annual native to Mexico. Reaching an average height between 1 to 7 feet tall, orange cosmos offers coarse, deep green foliage and disc-shaped flowers in shades of yellow to deep orange. The plant requires very little care, and should be planted in well-drained, sandy soils in a sunny location. Though the plant is drought tolerant, it will look better with occasional watering.
Boasting brilliant blooms in shades ranging from orange, yellow, pink and red, moss rose (Portulaca grandiflora) is an attractive ornamental annual commonly grown for its high-drought tolerance. Originally native to Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina, the South American plant thrives in extremely sunny conditions. The plant is also notable for its semi-succulent, bright green foliage. Moss rose grows in very well-drained, sandy or rocky soils in sunny locations. Flowers will be healthier if the plant is regularly watered.