Your Year Around Flower and Garden Guide

Annuals - Quick to Grow - Fast Bloomers

nasturtium - photo by Leon Brooks

Annuals are quick-to-bloom, easy to grow plants that complete their growing cycles in one season.

Generally, annuals prefer full sun and well-drained, nutrient rich soil.

 Before planting in the spring, amending your annual garden soil with well-composted organic matter like decomposed manure will provide you with outstanding displays throughout the growing season.

However, some annuals prefer poor soil. For instance, portulaca thrives in the salty air and infertile soil at the seaside and poppies do well on stony-banked slopes.

Soil pH falling within 6.0 to 7.5 provides a good environment for most annual flower gardening. Unless your soil falls to the extreme of being either very acidic or very alkaline, you can amend it. Lime makes acidic soil more alkaline; aluminum sulfate makes alkaline soil more acidic.

One of the biggest benefits of growing annuals is their versatility. You can enjoy annual flower gardening in either wet or arid climates, boggy or dry areas of your garden. You can start annuals from either seed or transplants. You can grow annuals in a container or plant them in your garden. Annuals from cut flowers make spectacular displays or you may prefer just to enjoy the panoramic color of an annual flower garden.

The easiest way to design an annual garden is to begin at the end of a growing season. Autumn is a great time to pick up end-of-the season bargains on seeds.

To plan an annual garden, draw a rough sketch of your area and add the annual cultivars you intend to grow next season. Then decide which plants you will start from seed during the winter, which seeds you will sow directly into your garden, and which annuals you'll purchase as nursery transplants.

Watch the list below to find growing information for some of our favorite annuals. All though our annual garden is bare right now, we'll soon be filling it with all your favorite blooms!

Suggested gardening resource: Gardentopia

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