Spring through fall, almost anytime is annual time

Think of annuals (flowers that last one season) as garden decorating: fast, inexpensive ways to add color, texture and style to your outdoor space. And one of the best things about annuals is that many will last from just after the last freeze in spring well through fall. They are a small investment that gives you a lot of (pretty) bang for your buck.

Timing

One of the most popular times to plant annuals is early and mid-spring, when the winter-weary among us (i.e. almost everyone!) are anxious for color and something other than gray skies and bare yards.

But there are groups of annuals perfect for every season, including varieties that will stand up to the light frost of early spring and late fall, heat-tolerant tropicals and other varieties perfect for the strong sun of summer and early fall.

Planting

You can plant annuals in containers or landscape beds. The nice thing about containers is that their small size allows you to easily control moisture levels, something you might appreciate in the heat of summer and early fall. You can also move your containers to sun or shade, nearer to a water source or to a patio or porch when having company.

For information on how to plant up your containers, check out How to Start Container Gardening or learn a little more about The Potting Bar and how to use it.

To plant in landscape beds, you can dig up approximately 3 inches of soil and mix with soil amendment and a fertilizer like organic Plant Magic (or till in a premixed soil like Square Foot Gardening Soil) to give your annuals plenty of nutrients. You can also check out A Guide to Planting & Care, a reference that will take you through watering, fertilizing and pruning (although annuals won’t require pruning, most benefit from pinching off or deadheading old blooms to encourage new buds and a full, flowering plant).

There’s an annual for almost any season. Here are just some of your choices, but you’ll want to check the garden center for new varieties and colors.

Early Spring Choices

Pansies
Stock
Martha Washington Geraniums
Nemesia
Ranunculus
Senetti
Snapdragons

Spring/Summer Choices

SUN LOVERS
SunPatiens
Petunias
Zinnias
Lantana
Vinca
Coleus
Geraniums

SHADE LOVERS
Torenia
Begonias
Caladiums
Impatiens

Fall Choices

Pansies
Asters
Marigolds
Million Bells
Mums