Annual flowers are plant that grow from seed to seed and need to be replanted each year. They provide year round color when interplanted between perennials and are great accents in containers. You may think why plant annuals when I already have a great perennial garden? Well even perennial gardens have times of the year when something isn't in bloom, annuals do a great job of filling in a space and providing color during any lag times.
When you use both perennial and annuals in your flower garden there should never be a time when something is not in bloom. One of the great things about annuals is there is no long term commitment to them. Your garden can have a new look each year with a minimum investment.
Many annuals have a long growing season here in Phoenix. While in most parts of the country you'll have to worry about frost, here you worry about the summer heat. Most annuals do pretty well. Providing them with some shade in the hotter months, and cover them during frosts and this will extend their bloom time.
Deadheading the flowers, or simply pinching off the spent blooms will encourage the plant to put energy into created new blooms.
As a native of Mexico, Marigolds do well here in Phoenix and thrive most of the year including most of summer. To prolong their growing season cover during frosts. They are also beneficial to plant near many vegetables to deter pests.
Impatients enjoy some shade and do well when interplanted with some taller annuals or perennials.
Zinnias are blooming even when many other annuals have ceased. They are a great flower for summer as they love the sun. They are available in some stunning bold colors and are attractive to the butterflies.
Cosmos and Asters are great flowers that still bloom here in the summer heat and they too attract the butterflies.
Our Petunias live about 9-10 months before we have to replant them. They are really hardy annuals in this part of the country. They start to get leggy in mid summer. But they are absolutely gorgeous most of the year and the hummingbirds like this flower. For this reason we plant petunias each year.
Sunflowers are a fantastic annual for kids to plant. These tall hardy plants show growth within the week and get as tall as 10 feet within a couple months. You can also buy shorter varieties of sunflowers. Our kids absolutely love growing these flowers and the birds enjoy gathering all the seeds. They can provide needed shade to other plants as well.
Pentas are considered annuals, but they are pretty hardy like Petunias. Be sure to cover them for frost. They are an absolute must have annual to attract the butterflies and hummers.
Pansies are similar to the Sweet Alyssum in that they do not like extreme temps and they seem to be short lived in our garden.
Sweet Alyssum- is pretty tender annual that doens't like extremes in hot or cold. It seems to do well when shaded by taller plants, but because leggy and unattractive in our garden in a short period of time.
Violas Johnny Jump up's are a beautiful delicate flower that does well in fall through spring. Ours never do well in summer, they do not like the heat. You can extend the bloom time by planting with taller plants that provide them with more shade. Pretty while they last.
For the best selection of flowers you can purchases literally hundreds of different annuals in seeds. For instant gratification, you can purchase annuals in starter packages in full bloom. Personally I have better success starting seeds indoors with the more delicate annuals that if I plant the seeds outside. Although I've never had a problem getting Zinnias, Cosmos or Sunflowers to grow directly from seed outside.
If you plan on propagating from seed, plant indoors in December or January or direct seed outdoors in Feburary or March.
While some of the annuals can take light frost, it is better to just plan on covering any annuals during frost warnings.
You may also be interested in Perennial Flowers