What is all the fuss on planting annuals?
“Annuals require too much water, fertilizer and care? Annuals are “unnatural” because they are only around for one season.”
Not a valid argument because wild landscapes are made up of perennials and annual plants. Annual plants happen in nature too. Fertilizer? I use compost and manure in the garden, but will use slow release on containers though.
Beginner gardeners usually start out with annuals.
A few years later, they move on to perennials. A few more years, they rediscover the ease and utility of annuals once again, but this time to fill in the gaps left by perennials done for the season.
Our dry spring and summers have been making annuals all the more attractive and useful. Beautiful bulbs like daffodils and tulips lasted mere days when we went from almost freezing jumping right into 80° F weather. From the freezer to the furnace!
Dry, hot summers mean perennials bloom either earlier or for shorter duration.
Will that perennial be flowering on a 100-degree day in late July? The marigold, petunia and dahlia will be thriving in full flower. We just had 87° F, dry weather on Friday. Is this a sign of things come summer?
Too perfect, flowers too large, plants too short, and blooms too colorful.
Most annuals used in the trade are raised for maximum impact and I think that is what bristles the neck hair of some gardeners. But when perennials wane, annuals earn their keep.
It is a myth that insects shun annuals.
Insects will nectar and find pollen on many annuals. It is a myth that they require too much water in many cases. For these reasons, annuals have been destined to containers.
I do use annuals in containers, but mix them with perennials I divide in spring. Below the Petite Pink Gaura is a perennial in my zone 6 locale, but mixes nicely with annuals Saucy Red Salvia and Silver Stream Lobularia. Bees will like the tightly planted combo.
Of course, it depends on what one plants because there are a lot of annuals for dry, hot climates that come from Mexico, Africa and South/Central America and they prefer it drier.
Sweet Black Cherry Dianthus, a tall perennial, but looks great skirted with annual dianthus and longer blooming spreading verbenas.
Annuals are used to getting by on less if…
They have their origins in hot and dry or tropical regions. The pansies in the garden are a newer variety for full sun and have done well in our week of elevated temperatures and blazing sun.
I do have Salvia Patio Sky Blue (annual) planted in with the pansies (reseed) which will take the heat when the pansies finally fade.
More and more annual salvias are finding their way into gardens, such as blue Salvia farinacea shown above. I use this variety each year.
Verbena (annual) is liked by insects. I have many self-seeding plants that would be considered annuals like Verbena Buenos Aires, Myosotis, Flax and others. Spreading Verbena shown above.
Annuals are real troopers in their short life, where perennials have no hurry because they stick around for the next year. Perennials spend much time getting established in the garden, rather than pushing to producing more plants. Many make up for it after three years though.
My garden is heavy in perennials, but annuals are added to please pollinators when the perennials take their nap, and annuals meet their needs.
All plants in this post are in the May garden.
We take a risk planting this early, but the way the weather has been after our cold beginning to spring, it is like we missed spring altogether.
Keep an eye on GWGT these coming weeks. I will keep posting my garden for you to see what may lie ahead in Toronto for the Garden Bloggers’ Fling. Much is blooming and more should be by June 5. Keep watching….
To see the four previous years bloom in my garden on June 5, see, Garden Bloggers’ Fling 2015 – What Will Be Blooming?