If you are a first-time gardener, there are a lot of things you may have learned or not known about various flowering plants. Annuals are a type of flowering plant that many gardeners love experimenting with due to their short life span. However, there are some things that you need to learn about annuals to be more familiar with them. Annuals are amazing options to add to any garden design as they are valuable for many reasons. Once you know how to properly work with annuals to maximize their beauty and function, you will always want them as part of your garden design. Here are 8 things to learn about annuals.
1. Annuals have a short life span for a reason
You must not misunderstand annuals like many gardeners tend to do. Since everything about the annual plants happens in one growing season. The sprouting, blooming, producing seeds, and dying too. Here is where they differ from the perennial plants that live for more than two years. As the annuals use all their resources to produce seeds and flowers instead of establishing their root system that will die at the end of the season. While the perennials use all their energy to establish strong root systems at the expense of producing flowers.
2. Most annuals need water and fertilizer
Unless you are growing the blue morning glory flowers that do not need much water to grow. Other annuals need enough water as most of them do not have a deep root system. Even though they are water conscious annuals, you will be surprised they bloom better with regular water. Plus, they use up a lot of energy on setting buds and blooming. You must feed your annuals with a water-soluble organic fertilizer even though they are in organically rich soil. Through this, you will see how your annual flowers will thrive in your garden.
3. Stay clear of invasive annuals
Although there are many flowering plants in the annuals category. They are each unique in color, shape, use, and other characteristics. Therefore, you need to choose wisely the annuals you need in your garden by understanding their growing characteristic. Some annuals excessively self-seed and naturalize outside the garden and end up displacing native plants. Such annuals are known as invasive annuals that are best to avoid. However, some of these plants tend to be invasive in one zone and be well behaved in another zone. If you need to incorporate such an annual plant to your garden, you should enquire from local resources to learn how it will behave in your area. However, others like the Nigella damascena, although it is a vigorous re-seeder, you can control it by removing the seed pods before they explode open.
4. Annuals are beneficial to each garden
When it comes to annual flowering plants, every garden can benefit from them. Annual flowering plants when you compare them to perennials stand out better. Annuals are great to decorate around a shrub, to fill in around a focal plant in your garden, and to extend the blooming period in your garden space. In some cases, they provide a nectar source for the pollinators when the perennials flower late. Additionally, they are inexpensive to boot when you no longer need them, as much as they provide quick, easy, and colorful, long-blooming color.
5. They need priming
To ensure that your annuals continuously bloom, you need to give them routine grooming. To do this, you need to deadhead them right after they fade. So, with annual flowering plants that horde their old flowers, common with varieties of cosmos, sweet peas, zinnias, and snapdragons, it is best that you deadhead them regularly. Also, when you get to mid-summer and your annuals look raggedy, you can prune them back a few inches to encourage a tidier growth. Some gardeners also encourage practicing deadheading annuals throughout the whole season to get more flowers blooming.
6. Combine annuals with perennials to attract pollinators
If you just want a garden that is full of annuals and you need to attract as many pollinators. It may be a challenge if you do not incorporate any perennials. Although there are some annuals like Asters that pollinators love, others are not as enticing to pollinators even with their flouncy flowers. Since cultivars sacrifice traits like lower fragrance and quality nectar for the human appeal. Many gardeners opt to plant native annual flowers, as these native pollinators would rather pollinate other native plants that are suited for the local environment.
7. Some annuals can be grown from seed
Through direct sowing, you can plant your annuals in the garden right where you want them to grow. Some of the easy to grow annuals from seed are sweet peas, marigolds, sunflowers, and nasturtiums. Besides, in this way, you can grow some unique annual varieties that are not available in the nurseries and are not sold as start packs. Plus, it is cheaper to buy a seed packet than a bunch of 4- inch packs to grow your annuals.
8. Plant your annuals right away for best results
After purchasing your annuals, you need to put them in the ground or pots whichever you prefer as soon as possible. Importantly, avoid purchasing annuals that are bursting at the seams of the pots as this stresses and weakens them. As you choose annuals in the store, ensure that you look for young plants, not those that are already flowering. Since the ones, not flowering, acclimate better to the new location that you will plant them. Remember, to water them immediately after you plant them and even when you expect some rain.
In summary, the above are some of the essential things to consider if you are a first-time gardener. Besides, there are other things that you can learn that not everyone will tell you, and you learn as you progress growing your annuals. However, you can embrace annual flowers as long as you research them before adding them to your garden and continue learning more about them.