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Making the Most of Your Annual Flowers

Updated on March 28, 2017
Cheryl Hawkins profile image

Cheryl is a retired school teacher who is a Reading and Writing Specialist. She is a published educational writer.

Types of Annuals

Annuals are flowers that complete a lifecycle in one growing season. Meaning they grow, then flower, seed and then die within the seasons of spring to fall. They are grouped according to their ability to endure the cold temperatures from Hardy Annuals which can survive below freezing temperatures as Pansies, Violas, Alyssum, Dianthus, Kale to Ornamental Cabbage. Half-Hardy Annuals are planted after the threat of frost, but can tolerate cold temperatures. A few commonly found in flower beds are Petunias, Marigolds, Cosmos, Rudbeckia, and Geraniums. Lastly, Tender Annuals, which are also called Tropical Perennials, are another type which needs warm soil and temperatures for survival and a few notable of these are Zinnias, Impatiens and Begonias.

Getting the Colors Right

Bringing color to your flower bed can be one of the most exciting parts of this process. Choosing the colors of your annuals can be made easier by breaking down the choices into a few categories which could be Hot Colors, Dark Colors, Accent Colors and Foilage/Grasses. Hot Colors could include the reds, oranges, yellows, pinks . Some annuals that can be found at your local gardening store in these colors would be Begonias, Impatiens, Marigolds, Sunflowers, Geraniums, along with Sweet Peas. A few dark colored annuals would include purple, blue, and magenta tones. A few annuals that would be available in this color line are Pansies, Violas, Coneflowers, Morning Glories, Scavola, Blue Eyed Daisies and Lisanthius. Accent colored annual plants could entail any flower in the white color line from bright white to cream. Many used are Impatiens, Alyssum, Baby's Breath, Cosmos and Lantana. Beautiful foliage, or grasses added to your landscape could range from Caladium, Coleus, Golden Basil, Purple Fountain Grass or Millet. Using strictly one color or multiple colors with accents and attractive foliage and/or grasses will create your own personal style this year to enjoy from season to season!

Planning A Beautiful Garden

A beautiful flower garden must start with a great plan. Remember that you'll want annual flowers for all the seasons of the year for you to enjoy. Keeping the size small, but manageable is imperative and this will help with the maintenance required for continual care which is essential to keeping it beautiful. Create a focal point with tall and short flowers, a combination of colors, a statue or small water feature. Measure to provide a symmetrical or asymmetrical balance to offer a lovely presentation of your selected flowers. Keep in mind that your flower garden most likely will continually expand so leave ample space to add those ideas for next year. Keep things such as poor drainage, bad positioning of outdoor structures such as a heat and cool pump projects that need to be hid in some manner will help bring your vision in place.


Selecting and Maintaining the Best Plants

Starting off with healthy plants is one of the most important steps in creating a beautiful landscape around your home. Indicators of problem plants would be those with insects or evidence of previous bugs, dry root ball with small roots, wilted plant and blooms, spindly in height, unbalanced branching, or plants in full bloom.

Each plant has a marker card with directions of where to plant (no sun/full sun) along with watering and fertilization requirements. It will also tell you the size of the space each plant will need to reach its size. If a plant is a bloomer, the card will indicate the number of hours of sunshine it will need to nurture its blossoms. Most annuals have a lot of flowers so they will require something like a 5-30-5 fertilizer. This will encourage the plant to bloom a lot. You can use a liquid fertilizer which would be used more frequently or a granular fertilizer which usually comes in a slow release or time released formula. Most nurseries have trained individuals who will help you locate the required type of fertilization for your plants and answer any questions you have regarding planting and fertilization.

Many times plants won't thrive throughout the seasons which may lend to an underlying problem. It could be the plant needs fertilization, but if that doesn't remedy the existing problem then it could be a matter of too much or too little sunshine. Changes in the plants location because of this problem need to be attended to quickly because a plant could die from too much heat, too little shad or too much water. Oftentimes, the problem is an insect problem of which there are many different types of treatments sold in stores or homeopathic remedies can be used from home which do not use chemicals. If none of the above cures the problem then it would be best to cut a plant sample and take it into your local garden store. The experts there can help you determine the next best action to get your plant back to a healthy condition.

From the beginner gardener to one with decades of practice, the Annual Flower Bed is a project that all gardeners look forward to working in year after year.

© 2017 Cheryl Hawkins

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