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Easy to grow annual flowers

Updated Friday, October 25, 2013
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Are you confused when you enter the garden centre? Do you find that you choose the same flowers year after year because you don't know what else to buy?


Here is a list of easy to grow annual flowers to try. Remember to read the instructions that come with the flowers when you buy them.


1. Petunias

Featuring  trumpet-shaped blooms, petunias are often used for creating large displays of color. They bloom from late spring until frost and come in a variety of colors, including pink, red, purple, white, lavender, salmon and yellow. Some varieties even have star-patterned or multicolored blossoms.

Petunias do best in locations with good drainage and 5 to 6 hours of sunlight a day. They will grow in areas with more shade, but will yield fewer flowers. 

One of the most popular is  spreading petunias, they  only grow to about 6 inches tall, but their vine-like stems can spread rapidly to several feet across when watered and fertilized properly. Perfect as an annual ground cover or spilling out of hanging baskets and containers, spreading petunias are also the lowest maintenance kind. While other varieties require spent blossoms be pinched off to encourage sustained blooming, spreading petunias don't need any deadheading to continue flowering all summer.

2. Geraniums

Another favorite for full sun, geraniums offer an attractive combination of beauty and sturdiness, with their large, bouquet-like blooms and ruffled leaves. They need at least 6 hours of direct light, and will withstand the sun's hot rays all day if asked to. Like petunias, geraniums can grow in partial shade, but they won't flower as well.

Available in many colours, geraniums will bloom from spring until fall. Although they do like well-drained, rich soil, geraniums don't require a lot of watering and the soil should be allowed to dry out between thorough soakings. Discolored leaves and spent blooms are easily removed by snapping them off at the base of the stem.

3. Marigolds

Marigolds are known for being reliable bloomers who provide vibrant color all summer long, often even surviving the first few light frosts of fall. Possessing single or double pom-pom flowers and deep green fern-like leaves, they have very few insect or disease problems. Plants can grow from 6 inches to nearly 3 feet tall, depending on the variety. Colors include yellows, oranges and reds in solids, bi-colors and stripes.

Marigolds love full sun and are often planted in or around vegetable gardens to repel insects, although the success of this tactic has not been proven. 

4. Pansies 

An easy cool-weather flower, pansies and violas are great for adding early spring color to the garden. Featuring an extensive variety in bloom sizes, colors and markings, pansies are known for their dark flower centers, referred to as a "face." Pansies thrive in cool weather and will begin blooming as soon as the temperature is above freezing.

For best results, grow pansies  in morning sun and avoid over-watering and overhead watering, which damages the blossoms. Old flowers and leaves should be cut off to keep plants looking healthy and blooming well.

5. Impatiens

One of the most popular garden plants in Canada, impatiens are a standard for providing masses of color in shady areas. Although they can handle some sun (preferably morning), too much direct light will result in stunted plants that don't flower well. 

Impatiens don't require any deadheading, as spent flowers will fall off by themselves. They offer a large selection of red, pink, white, salmon, rose and lavender blooms that can be star patterns and bi-colors as well. Flowers are available in single, semi-double or fully double varieties. Most impatiens will grow 6 to 24 inches tall and 10 to 24 inches across, depending on the amount of moisture and nutrients in the soil and how much sun they receive.

6. Coleus

Another shade-lover, the colorful foliage of the coleus plant can bring bold hues and vivid contrast to the garden. Its leaves present many combinations of greens, yellows, pinks, reds and maroons, and most plants will grow between 12 and 36 inches tall, depending on the variety.

While most kinds of coleus should be planted in partial shade or filtered light, there are some varieties that have recently been cultivated to withstand the full hot sun. Similar to impatiens, coleus grow quickly and are not frost-hardy.

They need good draining soil and should not be kept too wet or allowed to dry out too much. 


Julie Jenkins

Sales Representative Exit Realty Twin Bridges Brokerage



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Julie Jenkins

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