Getting started with annuals with Sensible Gardening and Living

What are annual flowers? Annuals are plants that live for one season only. They grow from seeds, mature and produce a great supply of flowers. As the plants only reproductive system is through seed, it feels an urgency to  produce as much seed as possible.

Getting started with annuals with Sensible Gardening and Living

By dead heading your annual flowers you force the plant to produce more flowers as it is determined to set seed before its’ season is over. To complete the life cycle the seeds are dropped and then the plant usually dies. If growing conditions are compatible for seed germination, it will return to your garden in the spring. If not, its’ story in your garden ends there. Often in cold climates the life expectancy of gardening annuals is cut short by frost.

Petunia Bedding Plants / Sensible Gardening

It is because annuals bloom in such abundance through out the entire gardening season that makes them ideal as flowering plants. They can be used in both sun and shade gardening. You can use flowering annuals almost anywhere in your garden. They can be planted directly into beds and borders, used in containers, window boxes and hanging baskets, planted for cut flowers, grown alone are intermixed with perennials.

What are annuals with Sensible Gardening and Living
Climbing Annual Morning Glory / Sensible Gardening

Most gardeners purchase small seedling garden annuals from their nursery. Pick plants that are short and busy and preferably without blooms. I realize it is tempting to pick up the plants already displaying colorful blossoms, but they are not the best choice for replanting into your garden. Nurseries are now carrying a dizzying selection of flowering annuals in every color, shape and size imaginable.

What are annuals with Sensible Gardening and Living
Bright annuals for Containers / Sensible Gardening

Other gardeners prefer to grow them from seed themselves. Usually you start this task in  January through  early spring indoors, setting your plants out after your frost date. My favorite way is to grow annuals that I can seed directly into my garden in the spring when the soil has warmed and frosts are a thing of the past. Wherever you garden and whatever your conditions are, they are annuals for you to grow.

What are annuals with Sensible Gardening
Annuals that self seed California Poppies / Sensible Gardening
What are annuals with Sensible Gardening
Annual Hanging Basket / Sensible Gardening and Living

There are a few different types of annual flowers, tender, half-hardy and hardy annuals. Tender annuals can not tolerate any frost at all at any time during their life cycle. These are the annual flower plants that we would start indoor by seed or buy later at the nursery. The half-hardy annual plant can withstand a few degrees of frost but not enough for their seeds to be planted in the fall.

What are annuals with Sensible Gardening
Gigantic annual Amaranthus / Sensible Gardening

The hardy annuals can stand some frost, some more than others. These you can plant in early spring or sometimes even in the fall for spring germination. The advantage of these annuals is that they will extend your season of bloom as fall progresses. Choose annuals that have growing requirements compatible with your garden and climate conditions. This makes life much easier and gardening with annuals more successful.

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About Lynne Cherot

It's been a life time of gardening and many years of working in the nursery trade, but now I enjoy exploring and creating in my own gardens and farm fields . I'm passionate about gardening and work alongside my husband who takes care of our apiary. Bees & flowers make a great team! Hopefully by sharing my garden knowledge, your gardening will be easier and more enjoyable.
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