No garden is complete without bright and colourful annuals. No other group of plants will give you flower colour as quickly and as vigorously as annuals. They adequately make up for their short lives by flowering continuously for three, four or six months.
Measure your planting area before you go shopping. Calculate the approximate square area by multiplying the length by the width of space you intend to plant. Buy enough plants to cover one-third of the planting area at their current size (which will double or triple).
When planting, leave two palms’ width between each plant and remember to plant in odd numbered groups, preferably seven or more of the same plant per grouping.
To make planting easier and faster, remove all of the plants from their containers before you dig the holes. But only do this if you can plant on the same day you set out the plants. Always make sure that you dig down into the soil so the plant’s entire root ball is inside the soil and not just in mulch.
When choosing annuals, it is important to consider their flowering season. For instance, pick something that will flower from December to February, another from March to June, then July to September and so on. This way, you are able to ensure that something will be blooming throughout the year. Also, look out for plants that complement each other when grown together.
Annuals are either sun-loving or shade-loving. Make sure you choose the right plant for the right spot. Sun-loving annuals include zinnias, marigolds, sunflowers and petunias. Some that thrive in the shade are begonias, caladium, geranium impatiens and periwinkles.
Caring for plants
To get the most out of annual plants, you will need to give them the best care. Begin with regular watering, mulching and feeding as you do with all other plants to keep them healthy and vigorous.
To keep your annuals flowering for longer, you need to trick the plant a little bit. When the petals fall off and the flowers fade, annuals start producing seeds, which is the plant’s signal that life is over. By cutting off the old flower before seeding begins, the plant is able to re-flower within weeks.
Use scissors, snips, or hand pruners to snip them off neatly. Always cut and remove the flower stem at the place where it meets the main plant stem. If you only cut off the flower, you’ll have ugly stems hanging around. New growth only sprouts from buds along the main stem.
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