Annual Flowers to Consider for Your Garden This Year
Now is the time to dream of summer flowers – and buy seeds for some of them. I have run a landscape design/build company for almost 30 years and every year I make sure to include annual flowers in our clients’ landscapes. I know you may cringe when you hear that you have to plant these seeds or little flowers anew every year but the non-stop blooms are well worth it! Here are a few of my favorite annual flowers from some of our plantings. Please note that some are considered a perennial in warmer growing zones.
Scaevola ’Blue Wonder'
A great flower for beds and containers, hardy to USDA zones 10-11. Scaevola thrives in hot, humid climates and is a profuse bloomer. The non-stop, cool blue blossoms of the ‘Blue Wonder’ variety grow on trailing stems and continue to first frost. Its fan-shaped flowers also look great sprawled over a wall. Start seeds 6-8 weeks before last frost date.
‘Lucky White’ Lantana
This mounding, drought tolerant Lantana sports white colored flower clusters dusted with yellow centers. It blooms year round in zones 10 and 11 but the rest of us can grow it as an annual. It looks great growing around a stone finial as shown. Beware of the toxic fruits that form after the flowers are dropped-they can be harmful if ingested by kids or pets.
Swedish Ivy and Dragon Wing Begonia
The variegated Swedish ivy can be grown outside during the warm times of year and is a great shade plant. Here, I paired it with red Dragon Wing begonia to form a stunning, combo. You can grow Swedish ivy from cuttings taken in spring or summer. They'll root easily in moist potting mix. I buy small pots of the Dragon Wing begonias in spring.
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‘Angelface Wedgwood Blue’ Angelonia
‘Wedgwood Blue’ is an amazing, deer resistant flower that grows 18-24 inches tall. It blooms all summer long, is drought tolerant and is a sturdy cut flower. The light purple and white blossoms of ‘Wedgwood Blue’ add a delicate tapestry look to a border. Here I grew it alongside ‘Angelface White’ Angelonia and ‘Artist’ ®Blue ageratum.
Dreamland Mix Zinnias
Zinnias are one of the easiest annuals to grow. They are outstanding in beds, borders, and are the perfect cut flower. ‘Dreamland Mix’ offers early long-lasting blooms on compact 10- to 12-inch plants. They thrive in sun and the heat of summer. The mix comes in 8 colors: apricot, coral, pink, rose, yellow, ivory, red, and scarlet! Wow!
White Wax Begonias
Wax begonias are tender perennials in Zones 8-11 but I grow them as a flower suitable for edging beds in light shade. It has waxy leaves and produces clusters of single or double white flowers. Wax begonias bloom non-stop throughout the entire season until first frost. It looks great with another annual, Purple Angelonia, as I planted here.
Artist ® Blue Ageratum
Artist® Blue Ageratum is a heat loving, flowering plant that has a great blue color and has a dense, mounded habit. It is perfect in beds or pots. I use it all the time because, once established, Artist® Blue blooms consistently, is easy to care for and does not need to be deadheaded.
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‘Lemon Slice’ Mini Petunia
This bright little mini petunia (Callibrachoa) produces its striking yellow and white blooms on trailing stems throughout summer, whatever the weather. It is one of my favorites! I grew ‘Lemon Slice’ in a deep red pot with the fabulous ColorBlaze® Marooned™ coleus and white mini impatiens. What a colorful combination for a half shady spot.
Blue Salvia Varieties
I plant blue salvia (Mealycup Sage) every year (hardy in zones 8-10). The deep blue /purple blooms atop purple stems are a knockout. I like the ‘Victoria Blue’, ‘Evolution’ and ‘Rhea’ varieties. Here I grew it along with the ‘Disco Golden Yellow’ French marigold and Luscious ® Citrus Blend lantana. A bright punch of color in the summer garden.