Annuals can add a pop of color. They are a great choice for container gardening.

Instant Color

Annuals give the garden instantaneous color. Many common annuals have been bred to have colorful foliage and flowers that last for months.

Keep in mind, however, that annual flowers usually consume more water. By their very nature, they have to be replaced every season.

Many wildflowers are annuals, and these can be an excellent way of covering the landscape in seasonal color. You only have to spread the seeds one time, generally in the fall, and Mother Nature will do the rest, repeating the cycle every year.

Cold-sensitive tropical perennials (like basil, caladium and tapioca) are a separate group of “annual” plants, since they grow swiftly in summer but are expected to die with the onset of winter.

Annual Characteristics

  • Completes its life cycle (from seed to flower to seed) in a single season. Then the parent plant dies in the same year.
  • Most are herbaceous plants.
  • Very showy plants that last for months.
  • May also be called “bedding plants.”
  • Growing annuals requires more water than perennials.
  • Wildflowers are often reseeding annuals and will come back from seed year after year. Most showy bedding plants will not reseed.

Types of Annuals

  • Bedding Annuals: Pansies, zinnias
  • Reseeding Annuals: Wildflowers
  • Tropical Perennials: May be annuals in more temperate climates