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Annual Flowers

Last Updated: 06/20
by Cheryl Moore-Gough, Extension Horticulture Specialist and Rebekah VanWieren, Associate Professor of Landscape Design, MSU

ANNUAL FLOWERS MAY SOLVE MANY

landscape problems. No other plants provide such continuous bloom. They fill voids in permanent plantings while young woody plants grow, offer flexible design options for myriad containers as added landscape interest, and provide inexpensive color and cut flowers in almost any soil.

Annuals are used in perennial plant beds to continue interest following early blooming bulbs and perennials. They can be transplanted or direct- seeded into the spot where tulip and daffodil blooms have faded, integrated into perennial plantings, or planted in front of woody, flowering shrubs to provide further interest through the season.

If you want plenty of cut flowers, devote a separate area of the garden to annuals, but be sure to coordinate it with the overall landscape plan.

 

 

Figure 1: Plant layout characteristics. Blocks of each annual planted in drifts. BY JOHNNY DOHNER

Image demonstrating plant layout characteristics. Blocks of each annual planted in drifts. Low to tall plants moving from front to rear. Interspersed texture. Repeated colors. Integrated perennials and shrubs.

a) Low to tall plants moving from front to rear.
b) Interspersed texture.
c) Repeated colors.
d) Integrated perennials and shrubs.

 

 

Planning the Flower Bed Garden

Integrating annual flowers into a planting bed or as a border planting in and of themselves can be an attractive element in the overall landscape. The following guidelines will help create a successful design. Flower beds can be any shape, but generally, curved bed lines look more natural and informal, while angular bed lines feel more formal. For plant placement, plant masses of individual flowers in “drifts” which gradually melt into each other (Figure 1). Graduate plant heights from front to back, and use lowest plants in front. Utilize a diversity of leaf and flower textures for dynamic interest across a space. No matter the chosen color palette (see below), repeating colors or plant species creates cohesion and balance within a larger-sized flower bed. When annual beds include perennials or woody plant material, massing the annuals together simplifies maintenance. Annual flowers may also be intermixed with perennials and woody plants to create a diverse plant community, where the annuals are used to fill gaps, as ground covers, and create aesthetic interest when other plants are still establishing.

Make the bed at least 3 feet but no more than 5 feet wide from front to back to allow for working the bed from its border. If it is deeper than 5 feet, plan stepping stones or a small path to allow access to the interior of the bed.

To be effective, each flower ‘drift’ should be large enough to be clearly seen from a distance. Use the “warm” or advancing colors (red, orange, yellow) in smaller masses to subordinate them; use “cool” or receding colors (blue, violet, green) in larger masses to contrast with the warm ones. The color wheel (Figure 2) will help you understand color use. Each cool color opposes a warm color. Colors across the wheel from each other are complementary and provide strong contrast. Adjacent colors are analogous, provide subtle color transitions, and occur more often in nature. If you don’t want strong accent, don’t arrange flowers with warm colors directly next to those with cool colors.

 

Planning the Flower Container Garden

Using annuals in container gardening is an excellent approach to adding landscape interest and focal points within a space, especially in areas with shorter growing seasons or where resources or space are not available for more intensive flower beds. Containers offer a myriad of design options, due to the wide range of available sizes, shapes, colors, and materials. When choosing the container(s), assess whether the container should stand out or blend into the overall landscape character. For example, bright-colored containers provide contrast and emphasis in comparison to more muted colors often in plant and building materials. The size of the container should feel balanced with the scale of adjacent structures, and also be manageable once it is filled with the weight of the growing medium. Plant materials should first be chosen based on growth habit and texture, before color.

 

Color wheel graphic displaying complementary colors (such as blue and orange) opposite each other and analogous colors (such as red-violet, violet, and blue-violet) next to each other.

Figure 2: Color wheel. BY REBEKAH VANWIEREN

 

 

diagram of plant

Figure 3: Plant growth habits and texture diversity. BY JOHNNY DOHNER

 

Choosing plants with different growth characteristics creates a multi-dimensional, layered container design. Plants that are ‘fillers’ should have mounding growth habits to create planting fullness; ‘spillers’ are plants that spread or are vine-like to encourage plant growth outside and around the container; and, ‘thrillers’ are plants that grow upright or erect to provide additional height or ‘wow’ factor (Figure 3). A diversity of plant textures, through leaf and flower size and shape, gives flower containers dynamic interest and contrast between plant species. Finally, color considerations (see above) can be used to create cohesion or contrast within the container planting design. Utilizing leaf color instead of flower color is a powerful design tool, in addition to simply using a diversity of tones and hues of greens.

Containers should have 3–9 small holes on the bottom to accommodate water drainage, otherwise excess water holding can lead to lower oxygen levels in the soil and root rot. Use 12–24” depth of growing medium mixed for container gardening (potting soils are composed of many materials besides sand, silt, and clay found in natural soils). Upcycle materials, like plastic bottles, styrofoam, or foam board insulation to fill a portion of the bottom of large containers to reduce the overall amount, cost, and weight of growing medium. To reduce the mixing of these space-fillers and the soil, a small piece of weed-barrier fabric or several sheets of newspaper can be added before the growing medium. For watering recommendations, see below.

Color creates moods. Warm colors exhilarate and stimulate while cool colors relax the viewer. Let cool colors predominate in areas devoted to rest and relaxation. Warm colors command and direct attention to specific areas in the landscape.

You’ll find an example of an annual flower border with proper size and choice of plants in Figure 4. All flower borders, whether annual or perennial, are most attractive against a fence of neutral color or against a shrub background (Figure 4).

 

Starting Plants Indoors

Many annuals perform better if started indoors and transplanted into the garden. You can determine indoor planting time by finding the number of days from seed to flower on the seed packet. Table 1 includes some general information about planting dates for inside or outside sowing.

Many people plant seeds too early. This results in an oversized, leggy transplant that is susceptible to damping- off disease. Legginess is often caused by low indoor light levels and/or by too high a temperature. Let an electric fan blow air across the plants—the plant movement will help form stocky plants. You must coordinate the date of sowing with the average date of last frost in your location. Contact your local Extension office for the average date of last frost in your area. The right time to start seedlings also depends upon the species. Trial and error is the only way to determine a more precise time for a specific location and flower species.

Use a soiless seed germination mix (which often contains peat moss and perlite). Or, use a mix containing 50 percent loam soil, 25 percent peat moss, and 25 percent washed sand to start seeds indoors. If you use the soil mix be sure to pasteurize it to reduce the chances of seedling damping- off: Place moist soil into shallow trays and put these into a household oven at 180°F for 30 minutes. Use a probe-type thermometer to determine when all soil has reached the desired temperature. Microwave ovens can also be used to pasteurize soil. Determine the amount of time required by monitoring soil temperatures as described above for the regular oven. Purchased soiless mixes usually need no pasteurization.

Germination mixes should have a fine texture, screen if necessary. Fill pots or flats, and firm and moisten it before planting. Scatter seeds over the surface and cover them with mix to a depth equivalent to twice their largest diameter. Some seeds require light to germinate. This information will be included in the seed packet instructions. Label the seeded flats to maintain plant identity. Cover seeded containers with a plastic sheet to maintain relatively high humidity. Most seeds germinate well at temperatures between 50° and 80°F. Spiderflower (Cleome) and Petunia germinate better at warm temperatures (70°–80°F). Seeds of species that do better in cooler temperatures include African daisy (Arctotis), candy tuft (Iberis), bachelor button (Centaurea), clarkia (Clarkia), godetia (Clarkia), and larkspur (Delphinium). Remove the plastic sheet after the seeds germinate.

 

Color sequences and size considerations for an annual flower border. The back row (pictured top) features shrub or perennial planting integrated with annuals. The front rows (pictured bottom) feature annuals planted as border or to fill gaps while other plant material establishes.

Figure 4: Color sequences and size considerations for an annual flower border. The back row (pictured top) features shrub or perennial planting integrated with annuals. The front rows (pictured bottom) feature annuals planted as border or to fill gaps while other plant material establishes. BY JOHNNY DOHNER

 

Bottom-water the seeded flats or pots by placing the containers in shallow trays of water and allowing water to move up through the mix. Watering from above can disturb or damage fine seeds or small seedlings.

If you initially used flats, transplant the seedlings to individual containers when they have reached the 2–3 leaf stage. Peat pots are popular but other containers with holes in the bottom work well also. Place the transplants in a greenhouse or a hot bed if possible. A shelving system with added “grow” lights works well. Be sure to harden-off the plants before transplanting them to the garden by gradually exposing them to our intense sun, dry air, and cooler nights over a 1- to 2-week period.

 

Setting out the Plants

Most annuals don’t require very rich soil, but they do need an adequate supply of nutrients. Work into the bed area a complete fertilizer at the rate of ¼ pound of actual nitrogen per 100 square feet. Using 5-10-10 fertilizer, 5 pounds of fertilizer per 100 square feet is the right amount. Also work in organic matter such as peat moss, compost or well-decayed manure to improve soil structure. Most annuals grow best at a soil pH of between 6.5 and 7.5. Attention to fertility now will help produce vigorous, healthy plants and blooms later on.

 

Suggested Annuals for Figure 4

Row/Height   Color     Suggested in Sun                                    Suggested in Shade
A (18”)             Yellow    Marigold, Zinnia                                       Monkey Flower, China Aster*, Cosmos*
                        Blue       Larkspur, Verbena, Scabiosa                     Forget-me-not, Lupine*, Verbena*          
                        White    Nicotania, Zinnia, Lavender                      Balsam, Sweet Sultan                                     
                        Rose      Celosia, Zinnia                                          Celosia*, Painted Daisy*, Verbena*
B (12”)             Blue       Ageratum, Centaurea, Petunia, Salvia       Bellflower*, Petunia*   
                        White   Stocks, Phlox, Dimorphotheca                    Wax Begonia*
                        Rose     Phlox, Petunia, Zinnia                                 Wax Begonia*                                  
C (8”)               White   Alyssum, Petunia                                         Lobelia, Dianthus*, Alyssum*
                        Rose     Verbena, Moss Rose, Pansy                        Dianthus*, Impatiens                       
                        Blue      Ageratum, Lobelia, Pansy                           Pansy, Lobelia*, Moss Rose*
                   Yellow   Marigold, Pansy                                          Pansy
                                                                                                      *Adapted to light shade only

 

Plant outdoors late in the afternoon on a cloudy day when soil is moist to help reduce transplant shock. Spacing depends upon the species. For example, giant zinnias are planted 18 inches apart, but alyssum only 6 inches apart.

Annuals that are direct seeded will need thinning before they become crowded. Failure to do this will result in overcrowding and spindly plants with few flowers.

 

Pinching

Removing the top growth of a plant is called pinching. This increases the number of blooms and forms a stockier, bushier plant. Some annuals that require this are Ageratum, Browallia, Calendula, Chrysanthemum, Petunia, Phlox, Dianthus, Salpiglossis, Schizanthus, Antirrhinum, Verbena and Zinnia. DO NOT pinch cockscomb, everlastings, poppies or stocks.

 

Aftercare

Hoe weeds to keep them from competing with flowers for water and nutrients. A mulch such as bark fines will decrease weed competition, conserve soil moisture, and lower high summer soil temperatures for better plant growth.

Water plants during warm dry periods to assure continuous plant development. Infrequent, deep waterings are better than light, frequent ones. At least the top 6 inches of soil should feel moist and cool. Use drip irrigation during flowering to prevent browning of the blooms by water puddling on them.

Remove spent blossoms (“deadhead”) to force a longer continuous bloom period and fertilize plants weekly with a water-based fertilizer according to label directions.

 

Fall Clean-up

Remove all annual plants from the bed after fall freeze to reduce the chances that disease organisms will be carried over into the next season and to discourage nesting rodents. Till or turn the soil to remove weeds and leave it in good condition for spring planting. If more organic matter is needed, add it during fall tilling.

 

Annuals that Reseed

Some annual species reseed themselves. If you want this to happen, leave the plants in place until the seeds have shed, then clean up the spent leaves and stems.

Browallia, Bachelor buttons, California poppy, Calliopsis, cornflower, Cosmos, four o’clocks, rocket larkspur, morning glory, Petunia, pinks, pot marigolds, snapdragon, spiderflowers, and sweet alyssum are some species that will reseed in a garden, sometimes to excess.

 

Acknowledgements

The author would like to acknowledge the original author of this MontGuide, Dr. Bob Gough, former Extension Horticulture Specialist.

 

Table 1: Ornamental and Cultural Characteristics of Annual Flowers


Plant Name

Uses

Color

Height
Bloom Period
Exposure
Planting Time How Propagated
Limitations

Remarks

African Daisy

Arctotis spp.

General White, orange, steel blue 12–30” July, August Full sun After frost Seed or transplants Will not flower well during hot nights Has woolly leaves

Ageratum

Ageratum spp.

General, edging, planters Lavender blue, white, pinkish
3–10”
July to September Partial shade
After frost

Transplants
Prefers warm climate
Deer resistant

Alyssum (Sweet)

Lobularia maritima


Borders, edgings

White, purple, pinkish

9”

June to September

Partial shade

After frost
Seed or transplants, cuttings
Widely adapted

Can be invasive


Baby Blue Eyes

Nemophila menziesii


Borders, pot plants

Sky blue with white centers

6–8”

May to September

Sunny to partial shade

Sow in flats in March
Seed indoors, plant outdoors after frost
Cut flowers do not last long
 

Bachelor Button (Corn Flower)

Centaurea cyanus


Cut flowers

Blue, rose, white, mauve, purple

12–18”

Late spring, early summer

Full sun

Early spring

Seed

Cool nights needed for flowering

Can be invasive

Basket-flower

Centaurea melitensis


Cut flowers, borders

Pink, purplish to white

24–60”
Late spring, early summer
Sunny

Early spring

Seed
Cool nights needed for flowering  

Wax Begonia

Begonia cucullata

Bedding plants, planters White, Pink, Red
12–18”

Continuous
Partial shade
After frost

Transplants
  Indoor plant also

 

Table 1: Ornamental and Cultural Characteristics of Annual Flowers (continued)


Plant Name

Uses

Color

Height
Bloom Period
Exposure
Planting Time How Propagated
Limitations

Remarks

Blackeyed Susan (Annual Coneflower)

Rudbeckia hirta


General
Golden-yellow petals with dark brown centers
24–36”

Summer and fall

Full sun

Early spring

Seed

Prefers warm climate

Can be invasive

Browallia

Browallia spp.


General

Blue

9–30”
Late summer and fall
Full sun

After frost
Cuttings or seeds Prefers warm climate Several forms available

Calendula (Pot Marigold)

Calendula officinalis


General

Yellow, yellowish to orange

18–36”

July to autumn

Full sun

Early spring

Seed

Rather dry soil. Does not like hot humid weather

Deer resistant

California Poppy

Eschscholzia californica


General

Yellow, orange orange-red, red

12–18”

Summer

Full sun

Early spring

Seed

Light, sandy soil
Perpetuates itself by self- sown seeds

Candytuft

Iberis umbellata

Flower borders White, pink, mauve, purple, crimson,
10”
Summer to fall
Sunny

Spring

Seed
Needs well- drained soil Good in cool climates

China Aster

Callistephus chinensis

General, indoor decoration Lavender, yellow center; rose, pink, crimson, white

18–30”

Dwarf: 6–12”


August and September

Partial shade

After frost

Seed or transplants

Prefers cool nights

Thrives in fairly alkaline soils

Clarkia

Clarkia spp.


General
Crimson, white to purple
12–36”
June and July
Sunny

Early May

Seed

Prefers cool nights
 

Cleome (Spiderflower)

Cleome houtteana


General
Pink, white, rosy purple, golden yellow
36–72”

July and August

Sunny
 
Seeds or transplants

Subject to flea beetles

Moist soil tolerant


Cockscomb

Celosia argentea

General winter bouquets
Crimson, red, rose

12–36”

Summer and autumn

Sunny

Spring

Seeds or transplants
Cockscomb requires warm climate Plumosa forms best in mountain valleys
Corn Flower (See Bachelor Button)

Cosmos

Cosmos spp.

General, table decorations White, pink, yellow, crimson, magenta
30–48”
Summer and early fall
Sunny

After frost

Transplants
Protect from high winds. Do not over- fertilize.
Drought tolerant


Dahlia

Dahlia hybrids


General

All except blue

Variable

Summer and fall
Sunny; but will tolerate semi- shade Start inside, transplant after frost
Tubers, cuttings, transplants

Needs well- drained soil

Annual forms may be grown from seed

Delphinium (Larkspur)

Consolida ajacis


General
Blue, rose, pink, mauve, white
12–36”

July and August

Sunny

April

Seeds
Adequate moisture, fertile soil Tolerates alkaline conditions. Can be invasive

Forget-me-not

Myosotis sylvatica

Edgings, ground cover
Blue

8–18”
Late spring, early summer Partial shade
After frost

Transplants
Not drought resistant
Will self-sow

Four O’Clock

Mirabilis spp.

Borders White, red, yellow 3 feet Mid-summer to frost Shade tolerant After frost Tubers and seed Very tender  

Foxglove

Digitalis purpurea

General (Medicine) Purple, white 5 feet June and July Partial shade Seeds in fall Transplants in spring Can be invasive Biennial or perennial

Gaillardia (Blanketflower)

Gaillardia spp. & hybrids


Cut flowers, borders

Yellow, reddish grays, purple centers

24”

July to frost

Full sun

Spring

Seed or transplants

Well-drained soil

Self-seeds. Perennial types

Geranium

Pelargonium spp.

Bedding plants, planters Red, pink, salmon, white
12–18”
Mid to late summer
Full sun

After frost
Cuttings, transplants   Ivy types for hanging baskets

 

Table 1: Ornamental and Cultural Characteristics of Annual Flowers (continued)


Plant Name

Uses

Color

Height
Bloom Period
Exposure
Planting Time How Propagated
Limitations

Remarks


Gilia

Gilia spp.


Borders
White, light blue, purple, mauve
15–24”

Mid-summer

Sunny

April

Seed
  Many species in western N. America, some annual

Gladiola

Gladiolus spp.


Cutting

Numerous

15–45”
Late summer, fall
Sunny
Early spring
Corms
Best as a specialty flower Lift in fall and store in a cool moist place

Globe Amaranth

Gomphrena globosa

General, drying Reddish, purple, crimson, white
12–24”

Summer, fall

Sunny
Early spring or summer Transplants & direct seeding
Easy to grow

Drought tolerant

Godetia (Farewell to Spring)

Clarkia amoena


Borders, cut flowers

Red-white, lilac, purple

12”

Late spring and summer

Sunny

April

Seeds or transplants
Difficult to transplant. Cool nights, dry climate
Sandy soil

Impatiens (Balsam)

Impatiens balsamina

General (house plant)
White, yellow, red, pink

18”

Spring to late fall

Partial shade

May

Cuttings, transplants

Not drought resistant

Sandy, moist, amended soil


Joseph’s Coat

Amaranthus tricolor


Novelty
Mixed-carmine red, yellow, dark green (maroon, scarlet leaves)
12–48”

Mid-summer

Sunny

May or early June

Transplants

Some species are weeds. Needs warm weather.

Grown for foliage color

Larkspur (See Delphinium)


Lobelia

Lobelia erinus

Edging, ground cover
Blue, white, pink

6–8”

Continuous
Sun, partial shade
Late May

Transplants

Not heat resistant
Cut back after first bloom to increase blooming


Lotus (Parrot’s Beak)

Lotus berthelotii

Hanging baskets cascade over walls, ground cover
Silver-grey foliage, scarlet bloom,

3 feet (trailing)

June, July, August

Full sun or slight shade
 
Seed or transplants

Avoid over- watering

Some species are invasive.

Lupine

Lupinus spp. & hybrids


General
Blue, rose, yellow, white
6–48”
Early summer Full sun or slight shade
April

Seeds
Susceptible to chlorosis Perennial forms more common than annual


Tree Mallow

Lavatera sp.


Cut flowers, general

White, pink, red

36”

Mid-summer to frost

Sun
Start inside, set out in late May
Seed or transplants
  An annual related to hollyhock. Tolerant of frosts.


Marigold (French)

Tagetes patula


General
Yellow, orange, deep red, brownish
6–36”

Mid-summer to frost

Sunny

After frost

Seed
Some large flow- ered types too tall at medium to high altitudes. Attracts hummingbirds, butterflies

Marigold (Aztec)

Tagetes erecta

General, edging Various shades of yellow and brown
24–48”
Mid-summer to late fall
Full sun

After frost
Seed or transplants Some varieties are late in flowering Attracts hummingbirds, butterflies

Mignonette

Reseda odorata

Grown for its fragrance Greenish, grayish or yellowish white
12–18”
June to October Sunny, well drained
After frost

Transplants
Place in coolest part of yard
Best in pots

Mirabilis (See Four O’Clock)

Monkey Flower

Mimulus guttatus

Shady rock gardens, streamside Yellow with red spotted throat
12–18”
June to August
Shade

After frost
Seeds started indoors
Not heat resistant
Needs plenty of moisture

Moss rose (See Portulaca)

Nasturtium, common Tropaeolum majus & Tropaeolum minus (dwarf)
General

orange, yellow deep reds

12–15”

Mid-summer

Partial shade

Spring

Seed or transplants

Too much nitrogen will inhibit flower formation

Edible and drought-tolerant

Plant Name

Uses

Color

Height
Bloom Period
Exposure
Planting Time How Propagated
Limitations

Remarks

Painted Tongue

Salpiglossis sinuata


General
Many (rich velvety)
12–24”

Summer
Partial shade
After frost
Seed (plant very shallow) Do not over fertilize  


Pansy

Viola x wittrockiana


Bedding

Wide range

5–12”

Early spring, late fall

Partial shade, cool

Early spring

Seed

Best in cool weather

Will reseed itself; tender perennial


Penstemon

Penstemon spp.


General, rockeries
Reds, pinks, blue, lavender, purple
6–24”

Summer & fall

Full sun

Early spring

Seed, cuttings

Well-drained soil
Most species are biennial or perennial

Periwinkle

Catharanthus roseus


General

Rose, blue

12”
 
Shade
Seed early spring, transplant in May
Cuttings, layering

Not too hardy
 


Petunia

Petunia (hybrids)


General

Numerous

8–24”
Early summer to late fall
Sunny
Seed inside, transplant after frost Seed or trans- plants
Very adaptable
Types: Multi- flora, Grandiflora, Double


Phlox, annual

Phlox spp.


General, ground cover
Rose, crimson, pink,scarlet, violet, white,pale yellow
Variable

Early summer to fall

Sunny

After frost

Seed
 
Showy

Pincushion flower (See Scabiosa)

Pinks

Dianthus spp.

Borders, edgings, general Pink, rose, red and white combinations
12”
Late spring and summer
Sunny
Early spring
Seed

Needs moisture
Showy. Some species can be invasive

Poppies - Corn Papaver rhoeas & Iceland Papaver nudicaule

General

Red (black), pink, rose, scarlet

12”

Late spring

Sunny

Early spring

Seed

Needs moisture

Can be invasive

Portulaca (moss rose or rose moss)

Portulaca grandiflora

Borders, rock gardens, edges, bare banks
Yellow, red, white, (pink stems)

4–8”

Late spring to frost

Sunny

Early spring

Seed

Drought tolerant

Reseeds itself

Rudbeckia (See Blackeyed Susan)

Pincushion/ Mourningbride

Scabiosa atropurpurea


General
Blue, maroon, white, yellow pink, rose, red,
24”

Mid to late summer

Sunny

May

Seed or transplants
 
Good for cutting. Deer Resistant

Scarlet Sage

Salvia splendens

General Scarlet red Variable Late summer Sunny Early spring Seed or transplants Warm Shrubby


Snapdragon

Antirrhinum sp.


General, cutting

White, yellow, pink, red

12–24”

July to frost

Sunny
Seed inside, transplant after frost
Seed or transplants
Plants may be half hardy. May break in wind
Best Varieties are F1 Hybrids

Spiderflower (see Cleome)

Statice (Sea Lavender)

Limonium spp.


Drying

Rose, purple, pink, lavender

12–20”

Mid-summer, autumn

Sunny

Early spring

Seed or transplants
 
Good in winter bouquets


Stock

Matthiola incana


General, cutting

Numerous

10–15”

Early summer

Sunny

Early spring

Seed or transplants

Coarse texture

Very fragrant

Strawflower

Xerochrysum bracteatum


Drying, general
Yellow, red, pink, orange, white
24–36”

Mid-summer, fall

Sunny

After frost

Seed or transplants

Best grown in cutting garden

Good for dried bouquets

Plant Name

Uses

Color

Height
Bloom Period
Exposure
Planting Time How Propagated
Limitations

Remarks

Sunflower

Helianthus spp. and hybrids


Background
Yellow rays, brown centers; orange, chestnut- red
16”–15’

Mid-summer until frost

Sunny

Early spring

Seed
Grow dwarf forms where wind is a problem
Provides food for pollinators
Sweet Alyssum (See Alyssum)

Sweet Pea

Lathyrus odoratus

Bouquets, arbors, fences White, red, pink, blue, purple, yellow dwarf
24–48”
Early summer and fall
Sunny

Early spring

Seed
Subject to root-rot disease in many gardens
Cool, moist climate needed

Sweet Sultan

Amberboamo- schata


Cut flowers

Purple, white, yellow

18–24”

July to September

Sunny

After frost

Seed indoors

Not frost tolerant

Very fragrant

Tickseed (Calliopsis)

Coreopsis tinctoria


General

Yellow, maroon, crimson

12–18”

July and August

Full sun

Late April or May

Seed

Lodges in high wind or heavy rain

Drought tolerant


Tidytips

Layia platyglossa

Cut flowers, beds, borders, rock gardens
Yellow with white tips

12–18”

June to October

Open, sunny

After frost danger

Seed or transplants
 
Seeds are often in wildflower mixes


Verbena

Verbena (spp & hybrids)

Beds, borders, boxes, cutting, rockeries
White, pink, scarlet, blue

Creeping

June to late fall

Sunny

Early spring

Seed or transplants

Requires warm climate

Deer resistant

Winged everlasting

Ammobium alatum


Drying

White

18–24”

Fall

Sunny

Spring

Seed or transplants

Grow in cutting garden
 


Zinnia

Zinnia elegans


General

Many mixed

18–48”
Early summer to late fall
Full sun

Early spring

Seed or transplants

Breaks in wind
Hybrids are best; deer resistant

 


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