Add a punch of color to any flower bed with annuals. Enjoy their flowers, foliage or fruit all season long. Here are few selections to consider planting in your garden.
Pansies should be planted in full sun and well-drained soil. They come in a variety of flower colors, from pink and purple to orange or red and even bicolors. Use them in masses, along the edge of garden beds or in containers. Fertilize plants throughout the growing season for best results.
Most primulas, or primroses, are actually perennials though some are grown as annuals. They prefer well-drained soil and do best in full sun to shade, depending on the species.
Other cool-season annuals include snapdragons, linaria, Swiss chard, giant red mustard and ornamental kale.
Shade-Tolerant Annuals for the Summer
Impatiens (Impatiens walleriana), sometimes called busy Lizzies, require partial shade and a fast-draining soil rich in organic matter. Plant them in masses in the shade garden or use them in mixed containers with other shade-loving plants.
Coleus is typically grown as an annual or a houseplant. Grown for their brilliant and varied foliage, these tropical plants require partial shade, ample water and a rich, fast-draining soil. There are newer selections that thrive in sunny conditions. Plants stay more compact if their flower spikes are pinched back.
Other shade-tolerant annuals for the summer include begonia, wishbone flower (Torenia), caladium and fuchsia.
Sun-Loving Annuals for the Summer
Marigolds are easy, dependable plants that require full sun and well-drained soil. Many types are available, ranging in size from a few inches to a few feet in height. Marigolds come in white, yellow, red, orange and combinations of those colors. Many believe that marigolds help repel insect pests from their prized vegetables, so they're often planted in and around vegetable patches. Plant them later in the season, and they'll bloom until the first frost.
Verbenas require heat to perform well, so plant them in the hottest part of your garden. Well-drained soil is mandatory, as verbenas won't tolerate wet roots. They come in a variety of white, pink, coral, purple, red and bicolor flowers.
Madagascar periwinkle, also called vinca (Catharanthus roseus), resembles impatiens and may be used in a sunny part of an impatiens bed as a filler. Plants bloom all summer and into the fall and are available in a variety of pink, purple and white. They require a well-draining soil and don't perform well if planted in wet soil.
Gerbera daisies (Gerbera jamesonii), also called Barberton or Transvaal daisies, have colorful daisy flowers that come in red, orange, yellow, pink and white. They require full sun or partial shade in the hottest climates. Because they're a favorite food of slugs and snails, it's wise to surround the plants with diatomaceous earth to protect them. All gerberas need excellent drainage.
Dusty miller (Senecio cineraria) is an evergreen subshrub usually grown as an annual. It is valued for its silver foliage. Pick off its insignificant yellow flowers to keep plants bushy and more compact. Dusty miller grows in full sun or partial shade and requires very little water. It makes an excellent border plant and an accent for colorful annual flowers.
Other sun-loving annuals for the summer include lantana, ageratum, petunia, geranium, globe amaranth (Gomphrena), cockscomb (Celosia), flowering tobacco (Nicotiana), salvia, angelonia, moss rose (Portulaca), ornamental peppers, sweet potato vine and zinnia.