It’s that time of year again when many people are deciding what annual flowers to plant in their garden. With the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more people are turning their attention to this rewarding hobby to both beautify their homes and spend more time outdoors safely! While I’m always excited to see perennials return year after year, annuals give my garden and patio a burst of colour! Annual flowers do, however, require a bit more care than perennials. Read these tips to find out how to care for annuals. You might also be interested in reading, “How to Choose Flowers for Your Container Garden“.
Water Annuals Daily
Annuals offer a gorgeous array of colour, but their spectacular blooms come at a cost: annual flowers require water on a daily basis, whether they are in planter pots, in hanging baskets or in the ground.
As a general rule of thumb, you should water your annuals every day. You may need to water annuals you plant in your container garden more frequently than annuals you have planted in a flower bed. For annuals in hanging baskets, the water should run to the bottom of the basket. If you insert your finger in the soil and it is dry, your plant needs water.
Best Time to Water Annuals
Try and water your annuals in the morning or evening. If you water annual flowers during the day, especially when it’s quite hot, the water will evaporate before it seeps into the soil and you’ll end up using more water. Give them a good watering so that annual flowers’ roots will grow larger.
Annuals that require less water
Alyssum, Zinnia, Cypress Vine, Hyacinth Vine, California Poppies, Paper Daisy, Verbena, Cleome, Strawflower, Portulaca, Honeywort, Cosmos
Vacation Tips for Keeping Annuals Watered
If you are going on vacation, you will want to create a back-up plan for watering your annuals. Here are some suggestions:
- Move annuals to a shady section of your yard;
- Ask a neighbour to come by to water your plants;
- Fill an empty wine bottle with water. Place your thumb over the top of the bottle and insert the bottle into the soil of your annuals. The water will slowly release into the soil over a day or two. Make sure the soil is not too dry or the water will release too quickly. You can read more about this self-watering solution for annuals here. This is a fun solution since you get to drink the wine first lol.
Mulch Your Annuals
Applying a mulch made of wood chips around your annual flowers will help keep the soil moist. Bonus: If you buy organic mulch, it will help enrich the soil. Don’t allow the mulch to touch your plants.
Fertilizing your annuals should keep them blooming all summer. Use a fertilizer such as Miracle-Gro and follow the instructions, which say to use the product every two weeks. I find that in the first month, you can use Miracle-Gro every two weeks and then scale it back to every four weeks once the flowers are blooming steadily. I have had excellent experience using Miracle-Gro Plant Food for my petunias, geraniums, lobelias, calibrachoa, and salvia, which bloom right into October.
Deadheading is required if you want your annuals to bloom all through the summer and into the fall. Deadheading encourages new blooms. Break off the dead flower just below the base of the flower or above the first leaf. While deadheading isn’t necessary for all types of flowers, it will definitely make your flowers look better and increase blooms.
The following annuals will continue to bloom without being deadheaded:
Petunias, Impatiens, Lobelia, Begonia, Cleome, Bidens, Verbena, Calibrachoa, Canna, Diascia, Lantana, Browallia, Angelonia, Osteospermum, Diamond Frost Euphorbia, Torenia, Ageratum, Scaevola, Supertunia.
I hope you found these tips on how to care for annuals helpful. Please let me know if you have any questions in the comment section.