Stand Up To The Heat
While the heat of the summer is getting to you, these summer annuals will be flourishing with minimum care. Minimum care doesn't mean no-care, you'll still need to water them at a rate of one inch per week.
An arrangement of annual flowers: yellow Sunflowers, pink Impatiens, orange Marigolds, white Allysum and there's a burgandy Coleus leaf on the far right. These were all growing in various areas in my yard. It's nice to be able to cut flowers and bring them indoors.
Summer Loving Annuals
If you walk into a garden center during the summer you'll be welcomed by bright colorful flowers of all shapes and sizes. Most of the flowers will be summer annuals
either sold in flats or in annual container gardens.
Celosia has a unique feathery looking flower plume and grows 6-12" in height. All the books and tags I've read say the plant can get to 24 inches, but I've never had them get over a foot tall.
A single plant or two placed in a garden looks funny. (yep, I tried it) plant. This is a plant that need to be inserted in mass to make an impact.
The pluming type is my favorite one, there is also a species of Celosia that has a tight vertical flower mass that to me looks like brains, fun to grow once but too weird for me to plant on a regular basis amongst my other summer annuals.
Dusty Miller (Senecio)
Dusty Miller is grown for its silver gray foliage rather than its flowers.
Reaching a height of 12-24 inches and a width of typically 12 inches but sometimes wider.
Dusty Miller foliage makes a great addition to craft projects as it will retain its silver color when dried.
Dusty Miller is classified as an annual for my garden zone of 6 but when I plant it, it lasts for two or three years.
One of the plants that Mother Nature introduced me to that reminds me that she is the Queen of the garden and I'm just a laborer.
Cosmos is such a neat summer annual to grow that everyone should try it at least once.
If you buy mixed annual seed packages, Cosmos are typically in the mixture as they sprout easily from direct seeding in the garden.
Cosmos plants have a height range of 10 inches to 6 feet tall. The majority of the ones I've grown have been in the two to three foot range.
The foliage of the cosmos that I've grown has been very airy making them a fun addition to tuck into or behind thick leaved plants.
Lantana is a tropical looking annual with clustered flower heads that contain several hues of colors ranging from yellow to bright orange on the same cluster.
It is a popular hanging basket and container annual as it does very well in the heat of summer.
Lantana is grown mainly as a bushy plant that reaches about 18 inches in height but spreads out up to four feet.
Pests and diseases rarely are a problem with Lantana making it even more valuable to use in your gardens.
Snapdragons are fun to grow. The flowers can be grasped by the sides and lightly squeezed to make the mouth open. In this picture you can see a slight curve on the left and right sides of the flower, that the general area to squeeze.
Snapdragons have taken a down-turn in popularity which I feel is a result of messing with the genetics of the strains. The Snapdragons from a few years ago were easy to grow with minimum care. Last year I planted Snapdragons and they remained puny all season even though they were suppose to be tall varieties and they didn't flower worth a darn. This year I tried again and at first they were really struggling to get established, so I cut them back thinking it really didn't matter since there weren't any flowers worth talking about on them. Once I cut them back they filled out and started looking much better but the dragons wouldn't snap.
Summer Annuals Without Pictures
Million Bells, Trailing Petunia (Calibrachoa)
Million bells is such a cool plant to grow if you like the look of the large Petunia's flowers but dislike the mushy feel when removing spent blooms. Million bells has small flowers and blooms profusely. They tend to shine when placed in hanging baskets and dwindle when placed in gardens. I think they like having their roots snuggled so try placing one in a four-inch pot and burying the pot and all in the garden and see how they do for you.
Moss Rose (Portulaca)
Moss Rose has foliage that is succulent looking and flowers that look like miniature roses. If you have a hot dry area in your yard where nothing seems to be growing, try planting Portulaca and see how it does.
The plant only reaches a height of 6-8 inches making it a great walkway or edging plant.
My granddaughter received a packet of Sunflowers last year so she planted them in my backyard. A half dozen plants grew and she was thrilled with them.
Sunflowers are self seeding annuals
so this spring there were dozens of seedling that showed up. I transplanted them to a spot where I could see them from my computer desk. In the early morning and early evening the flowers are full of yellow finches, some plain brown birds, squirrels, honeybees and hummingbirds.
The plants are towering over our privacy fence. The flower heads are not huge but each plant has multiple flowers so there is plenty of food for the animals. Sunflowers are my all time favorite Summer Annual to grow..
For a listing of Summer Annuals that bloom until Fall. Some plants start in early summer and continue until fall and others start in late summer and bloom until the fall frosts do them in.