Flowering Annuals Enhance the Garden | Characteristics

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Annual flowering plants add uniform color to the landscape. There are many different types and colors of plants to choose from.

Annuals, even though they live for a year, draw attention to the doorway of the house or a particular landscape feature and fill in areas while flowering plants and perennial shrubs grow.

It’s still too early to plant many annuals due to the possibility of freezing temperatures, but a few are outlined below when planning your landscape.

Mecardonia hybrid “Gold Dust” is covered in tiny yellow flowers all summer long. The green leaves are small too. In the 2012 UK Statewide Flower Trial, conducted by the Daviess County Cooperative Extension Service and Extension Master Gardeners at the Western Kentucky Botanical Garden, it received top marks from May to October .

“Gold Dust” is one of my favorites in containers as it lags on the jar. In the ground, it forms a nice mound of color. The short plant is 2 to 5 inches tall and spreads 16 to 20 inches wide.

A great plant is Canna x generalis Cannova “Yellow”. This canna has beautiful yellow flowers. The large green leaves serve as a nice background for the flowers. The plant can reach 48 inches in height with a width of 14 to 20 inches.

This series is the first easy-to-grow hybrid from seed. It grows best in full sun and moist but well-drained soil. It is vigorous and ideal as a background for a flower bed. This canna also does well in a large container.

It was one of the favorite entries in the 2021 statewide local bedding plant trials conducted at the Western KY Botanical Garden by Extension Master Gardeners.

Coleus x hybridus, also written as the genus Solenostemon, is an annual plant grown for the effect of colorful foliage rather than flowers. Coleus plants are available with different leaf sizes, shapes and color combinations.

Leaf colors include yellow, red, bronze, light green, chartreuse, and white. Plant height can range from 9 to 36 inches depending on the cultivar.

Coleus were known to grow in shade or partial shade. However, remember today that some cultivars are sun tolerant and grow in full sun or full sun. The habit of the plant can be tall, rounded or trailing.

Coleus grows well in ground beds and pots. Trailing coleus makes great plants for pots and hanging baskets. The Wildfire ‘Smoky Rose’ series also performed well in full sun in UK statewide bedding trials in 2018.

Begonia, Dragon Wing™ Red, is a beautiful, vigorous plant with large, glossy green, wing-like leaves and large scarlet flowers that fall from the leaves. This is one of my favorite begonias. When the wind blows the pot of this plant on my terrace, the plants are not destroyed. He is certainly carefree in my garden. The plant grows 12 to 24 inches tall. This heat-tolerant plant does well in sun or shade in planters, planters, hanging baskets or bedding areas.

Lantana camara Havana ‘Red Sky’ is a beautiful lantana that is used as an annual in our zone 6. There are other lantanas, but ‘Red Sky’ scored highest throughout the year in trials UK bedding plant premises of 2018.

The plant is 8 to 10 inches tall and 10 to 12 inches wide. The habit of the plant is clean and mounded. The flowers are red and orange in the same cluster. Lantana grows best in full sun and well-drained soil.

The Calibrachoa “Dreamsicle” Superbells series are covered in miniature flowers resembling 1 inch wide petunias. The color of the flower is orange. This compact, trailing plant thrives in full sun from spring to frost. Calibrachoa does well alone in pots or in combination with other annuals. The plant can reach 10 inches tall.

There are many cultivars of Calibrachoa today. Colors include pink, purple, red, cherry, peach, coral, yellow, and white. The habit of the plant is generally drooping, but some cultivars are more upright.

Euphorbia Diamond Frost forms a mass of small white flowers above the green plant throughout the season. The plant reaches 12 to 18 inches in height and forms a mounding habit. It’s a great plant to mix with other annuals as a filler, but also looks great planted on its own.

Diamond Frost performs best in full sun but will tolerate partial shade. It tolerates heat and drought.

Angelonia angustifolia, summer snapdragon, reaches 18 to 24 inches tall with its flower spikes. Snapdragon-like flowers are available in blue, purple, pink, lavender, or white colors. Summer snapdragon tolerates heat and drought. It prefers to grow in full sun. This plant can be used in pots or in the ground.

Scaevola aemula ‘Blue Wonder’, fan flower, is a very hardy plant that thrives in a hot, humid climate and can withstand wind. The purple fan-shaped flower blooms all summer. The single bloom looks great in hanging baskets or planters.

Moonvine (Ipomoea alba) flowers begin to open in the late afternoon to early evening and close at sunrise. The fragrant flowers are only open one night, but the vine is always covered with them.

The heart-shaped green leaves are 4 to 6 inches long. This tender tropical perennial is an annual in our zone because it is killed by freezing temperatures. Moon vine prefers full sun and well-drained soil.

For more information on flowering annuals, contact the Daviess County Cooperative Extension Service at 270-685-8480 or annette.heisdorffer@uky.edu.

Annette’s advice

When daffodils (Narcissus) become crowded and the number of flowers decreases, they should be divided. The best time to divide them is after the foliage has completely died, which may be in June. They can also be split in July and August. Remember to let the foliage dye naturally.

Annette Meyer Heisdorffer is the Daviess County Horticulture Extension Officer. His column airs weekly on Lifestyle’s Home & Garden page. Email him at annette.heisdorffer@uky.edu.

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