As the landscape begins to leaf out around us and gets greener by the day, you may be looking to add some colorful plants, (other than green!) to your garden. Nothing adds color quicker, and for more of the season than planting annual flowers.
Sizing Things Up
If you start your annual planting early, you can work with smaller plants in 4” pots and let them fill in during the season. If you get a late start, or want instant gratification mature annuals are often available in larger 6” and 8” pots. This is especially true later in the season for those gardeners that procrastinate. Either way, remember annual flowers need fertilizing to keep the plants growing and the blooms blooming.
Picking Your Plants
The great thing about planting annuals is that you can re-invent your garden every year. One year- pink Sunpatiens and purple petunias, the next yellow lantana and red begonias! You can create interesting new combinations of colors and textures that appeal to your mood. Although the possibilities are almost endless, you want to keep your site conditions in mind. For annuals to be effective they have to be happy where they are. Some annuals prefer full sun, while others thrive in shade. For the best results you need to match the plant to the site. For a sunny location, lantana, Sunpatiens, petunia, and angelonia are all good choices. In a shady situation, you can use begonias, coleus, and fuchsia for color.
Jazzing It Up
Sometimes a large mass of one color of a particular flower can make a bold visual statement. Big blocks of colorful plants can be especially effective in large landscapes or in situations where you view the landscape from moving vehicular traffic. In a more detailed, up-close situation you may want to combine different annuals to create interest. Contrasting colors such as purples combined with yellows or orange with blue can be visually appealing. Don’t forget textural contrasts too such as large leaf tropical plants like cannas and bananas (Musa) with fine textured flowers such as angelonia and lantana.
Adding Pottery & Planters
If you have large patio or deck areas, you have a great opportunity to add color in decorative pots or planters. Make sure your large enough to accommodate plants and make a visual impact. You can use groups of planters of different sizes to add interest and create more planting space. The plant professionals say container plantings should have Thrill, Fill and Spill. Thrill is an interesting centerpiece like a tropical hibiscus, mandevilla or a palm that catches your attention. The fill is annual flowers that fill the spot with color, color, color. And spill is cascading plants that hang over the edge of the pot such as sweet potato vine (ipomea), vinca vine, scaevola, or million bells (calibrachoa). This simple formula will give you professional looking container plantings.
Hicks Nurseries has an incredible selection of colorful plants including annual flowers, tropical plants and decorative pots. Our experts are here to provide the advice you need to give your garden that extra pizzazz this summer.
By Ken Muellers, Senior Landscape Designer, CNLP