Annuals are colorful flowers that are available seasonally. Varieties include
Pansies (very early), Petunias, Salvia, Impatiens, Geraniums, Begonias,
Marigold, Snapdragons, plus many more. Most varieties come in a rainbow of
colors and usually become available in the beginning of May. If you are not sure
of the right time to plant, Mother's Day is a good guide. Rarely do temperatures
drop far enough after Mother's Day to do any damage to your annuals.
Planting any flowers should begin with the plant selection. Most annuals like
a particular exposure. For example, Impatiens don't tolerate full, hot sun and
dry soil, while Petunias love full sun. Be sure to observe the area you will be
planting, looking at the presence and duration of sun or shade. When selecting
your annuals, also consider the potential size of each plant at its maturity.
Usually, 6" to 12" of space between each plant should allow sufficient room for
the plant to grow. Always allow at least 6" from the edge of a bed as to avoid
growing over the lawn where mower and edger damage are possible.
We next should focus on the soil. Most annuals require rich, loamy soil with
very good drainage. If you don't have very good soil where you are thinking of
planting, we recommend that you amend it by mixing in peat moss or replace it
Drainage is also very important to a healthy annual garden, because water can
be a flower's best friend or its worst enemy. Too little water and annuals will
quickly perish; too much and they will "drown." If the area you are planting in
tends to have "puddling," or water sits there after a rain or watering for an
extended period of time, then you have poor drainage and will need to correct
the problem. Sometimes simply raising the bed by adding soil can make the
Supplemental watering should be done regularly. Again, different varieties
have different requirements. Most come with their particulars on the label, or
you can ask your local supplier. Flowers that prefer "hot and dry" will still
require water. For these plants, we recommend allowing the area to dry
completely, wait one or two days, then add moisture - Do NOT keep the ground
saturated. Flowers that prefer moist soil will require daily watering,
especially during the hottest summer months. If wilting occurs on the plants, it
may be time to water. If you see wilting and have watered consistently, you may
be watering too much.
Certain varieties, such as Petunias and Marigolds, can be "dead-headed" to
enhance flowering. After the flower is spent, just snap it off and another
flower will replace it. You can also pinch back Petunias and certain other
varieties when they become "leggy" so they refurbish themselves and grow fuller.
Just shorten a third of each of their stems.
Annuals can be planted almost anywhere you feel the need for more color.
There is really no right or wrong spot. They can be planted in pots to add color
to a deck or patio, window boxes, or in the bed areas. They don't have to be
planted deep - only as deep as the root pack they come with. When you take the
plant out of the container and see the roots wound tightly in a mass, this means
it is "root bound." Just cut a criss-cross in the bottom and feather
the roots apart before planting. Right after planting, they should be watered in
and fed with a flower fertilizer, available at your local supplier.
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