Annual flowers add a profusion of colour to the garden landscape. Whether you plant by seed or purchase a young plant, annual flowers grow quickly and are relatively maintenance free. These plants have dependable growth patterns and often large, vibrant flowers. Trim back the spent blooms to discourage reseeding and encourage a longer blooming cycle. Plant annuals in the spring after all danger of frost has passed.
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This tall annual grows up to 6 feet tall in some areas. It prefers full sun and well-drained soil. Don't fertilise cosmos, as they produce more flowers in poorer soils. Large, disk-shaped flowers bloom in a myriad of colours, most commonly, pink, white and purple. The grey-green foliage is fernlike. Cosmos are easily grown from seed, but are also available at most local garden nurseries in the spring. The flowers self-propagate.
Growing where other flowers fail, nasturtium is a tough and beautiful annual. Nasturtium prefers poor, slightly sandy soil and full to partial sun. Do not fertilise or you will reduce the flower production. Pale green, almost round leaves compliment the large, five-petaled yellow or orange flowers of the nasturtium. The flowers are edible and often used in salads or as a decoration in many culinary dishes. Nasturtium is planted by seed as they do not transplant well. In warmer climates, protect nasturtium from the intense afternoon sun.
This large, flowering plant grows to 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide. The dark green, heart-shaped leaves are slightly fuzzy, and contrast with the large, red-orange flowers. Mexican sunflower thrives in well-drained soil and is drought and heat-tolerant. This annual blooms all summer long. Mexican sunflower prefers full sun, but will grow in partial shade. Trim back spent flowers to avoid self propagation. If allowed to propagate, this plant will often complete a second generation of growth before the first frost. Mexican sunflower is available as a seed at most local garden stores.
This popular annual is a mainstay in many gardens. Growing only to 12 inches tall, the pom-pom-shaped flowers bloom in warm tones of gold, orange and yellow, and may be tinged in burgundy. Marigolds thrive in almost any soil and growing condition. Water at least once a week during times of drought. They prefer full sun and will self-propagate unless you cut back spent flowers. Marigolds are a natural deterrent to pests, and are often planted around vegetables gardens for this purpose.
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