annuals or bedding plants are favorite among homeowners. They are
inexpensive and produce an abundance of brightly colored flowers
from spring to frost. Some are even winter-hardy if protected by
a light mulch.
complete their growing cycle within one growing season. They are
usually purchased in early spring and planted as soon as the last
frost is past. Several annuals, such as pansy, snapdragon, stocks
and sweet alyssum will withstand a light frost and can be planted
earlier for establishment during cool weather.
The annuals industry has grown tremendously in the last several
years. The impatiens plant is very popular due to its versatility,
offering brilliant summer-to-fall bloom in shady beds, borders and
containers. Other common annuals are geraniums from cuttings and
seed, petunia, marigolds and fibrous begonias.
grow best when the soil in the planting site has been prepared beforehand
to receive the transplants. Planting sites should be well drained
and in full sun or moderate shade, depending on plant species preference.
Adequate drainage is very important, as plant roots fail to thrive
in wet soil.
the soil to a pH of 6.3 to 6.7 for best growth. Highly organic soils
can range from pH 5.7 to 6.0. Amend the soil with high quality compost.
At planting, break apart soil root masses slightly to prevent "root
balling." This procedure will ensure rapid root expansion into surrounding
soil. Water plants after planting to hasten root establishment.
annuals immediately after purchasing. Transplants, if held for a
few days before planting, must be kept watered, since the small
cell-packs dry readily. Place plants in a shaded area and remove
dead flowers as needed to prevent decay if planting is delayed.
Do not store plants in the garage where gasoline engines are started.
Ethylene gas, a product of combustion, can cause leaf drop and flower
injury. High temperatures and low-light conditions will also lead
to rapid deterioration of plants.
Location: Angel Trumpet, Forget-Me-Not, Hibiscus
Soil: California Poppy, Celosia, Cosmos, Snow-on-the-Mountain
Location: Aster, Baby's Breath, Bachelor Button, Calendula,
Celosia, Cosmos, Dianthus, Flowering Kale, Flowering Cabbage, Gazania,
Geranium, Larkspur, Marigold, Morning Glory, Portulaca, Nasturtium,
Pansy, Petunia, Poppy, Salvia, Snapdragon, Statice, Strawflower,
or Semi-Shade: Annual Phlox, Balsam, Begonia, Bellflower, Calendula,
Coleus, Dwarf Lobelia, Forget-Me-Not, Impatiens, Larkspur, Nasturtium,
Nicotiana, Pansy, Sweet Alyssum, Verbena, Wallflower, Wishbone Plant
Locations: Ageratum, California Poppy, Cockscomb, Coreopsis,
Cosmos, Portulaca, Petunia, Statice, Swan River Daisy, Verbena,
Fertilize at time of planting by using a controlled release fertilizer
product that will feed all season or use a liquid with 20-20-20,
23-19-17 or a similar liquid fertilizer on a bi-weekly basis.
Remove dead flowers and broken branches weekly to reduce
botrytis fungus buildup and keep plants healthy.
Use a soaker hose to wet the soil when watering--avoid overhead
watering which wets the foliage.
Root rot problems are occasionally unavoidable when growing
annuals in the home garden. Reduce problems by emphasizing the cultural
methods of good site preparation with adequate internal moisture
plants from greenhouses in the spring. The quality of plant material
will vary from location to location. Quality will also be reflected
in price. Annuals can also be started from seed indoors or directly
sown in the garden. Sowing indoors is done about eight weeks before
the average date for the last killing frost in spring. Seed started
earlier will often be leggy and not suitable for transplanting.
Keep soils between 72 to 75 degrees F for optimum rapid germination.
Direct sowing can be done when soils warm to at least 60 degrees
F. Small seed will present more establishment problems than larger
from Charles T. Behnke, Ohio State University Extension, 2000