Annual plants are an inexpensive way to experiment with color and texture of flowers. They are available in a wide variety of colors and come in three types: hardy, semi-hardy and tender annuals. Hardy annuals, such as snapdragons, can survive freezing conditions. Semi-hardy annuals, such as petunias, can tolerate temperatures as low as 28 degrees F. Tender annuals, like zinnias, need warm soil and air to grow. Annuals bloom for one season before dying in the fall, making them the perfect flowers to use for filling in spaces. Growing annual plants requires regular maintenance to keep them blooming throughout the growing season.
Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Plant your annuals in an area that receives the proper amount of sunlight and shade. Test the soil for pH levels and fertility.
Dig a hole approximately 10 inches deep to check the drainage of the soil. Fill the hole with water and leave overnight. Fill the hole with water again the next day. The water should drain completely within eight hours.
Prepare the soil for new or existing beds in the fall. Kill grass or weeds for new or existing beds with a herbicide. Remove dead grass and weeds with a hoe.
Add appropriate fertilizer or other soil amendments as needed. Work the amendments into the soil and level the soil with the hoe or a rake. Add fertilizer again before planting in the spring.
Start annual plants from seed or purchase annual seedlings. Seeds can be started indoors or planted directly into the garden. Plant annuals outdoors after the last frost and when the soil is above 60 degrees F.
Water annuals with a soaker hose or drip tape until the soil is moist, not soggy.
Spread organic mulch such as compost, shredded leaves or grass clippings and other natural materials around the plants to stop weed growth and help the soil to retain moisture.
Deadhead faded blooms from annual plants once a week.
Stake tall annuals to prevent them from falling over. Plant them next to a fence using twine to secure them. Place bamboo or wooden stakes next to the plants after they sprout. Tie them to the stake with twine as they grow to give them support.