Popular with new and more experienced gardeners alike, annuals are some of the most beautiful, lively, and interesting of all flowers. The massive diversity of annuals, their wide range of colors and styles, and their ease of care make annuals an in-demand choice for gardens everywhere.
Do you know what makes and annual plant truly an annual? For an annual to really be an annual, the plant must finish its entire life phase in one planting season. The seeds germinate, the flowers bloom for the spring and summer months, the plant lays its seed and the plant then dies, all in one planting cycle.
There are some plants that are treated as annuals but are not truly annuals. Some sensitive perennial plants are used as annuals and replanted each year, especially in colder northern regions. While these plants could regenerate in warmer planting zones, in colder zone they are can’t re-germinate and are planted as annuals instead.
Conversely, some annuals are used as perennials. Some varieties of annuals drop such a large amount of seed in the fall that the seeds are able to germinate and bloom the next year. The plants are not perennials, but their seeds simply germinated and took root, and proceeded to bloom the following year. Some of the more common perennial impersonators include snapdragons and petunias.
There are several ways in which you can start annuals in your garden, either by planting them as seed, buying seedlings (or smaller plants), or buying more established plants. Many annuals can be bought as cell packs, which are a sort of multi-pack. Whenever buy plants to transplant, make sure that you plant them as soon as possible. If you can’t plant them immediately, then make sure to keep the plants in a shaded area and water them regularly. Remember to also water the planting area so that you can moisten the soil well before you put your new annuals in the ground.
When using annuals in your garden it is important not to plant them too early in the season. The soil should be warm and the air temperatures should be stable before planting any annuals. To get the annual plant out of its packaging, lift the seedlings gently out of their packs by pushing on the bottom of the container. Try to make sure that the plant and its soil comes out intact.
If the roots of the plant are compressed, loosen them by tenderly breaking up the root ball or cut the sides using a small knife. Doing this will promote deeper rooting and longer plant life after the plants have been put into the ground.
Make sure that you plant your annuals in the ground at the same depth in which they came in the packs. After placing the plants in the ground, gently pack the soil down around the annual and water the area thoroughly. You should then apply a good fertilizer that is phosphorus-rich. Apply the fertilizer at a strength of two tablespoons of fertilizer per gallon of water.
Following these steps will help get your annual garden off to an excellent start. In no time you will have a garden filled with vibrant annual flowers.