When I worked in public garden curation, I used to grow and use a lot of annuals. Much has changed since then. Many annuals are now clonal, that is they are now grown from cuttings instead of from seed. At first glace this seems crazy because seeds are easy and cheap, but these new cutting grown selections grow better and flower longer and harder. Gardeners may pay a bit more up front but these plants are a much better value. You need fewer plants to cover the same amount of ground and the display starts earlier and goes longer. These new plants fill in faster and require less care. In the old days we would plant spring annuals, replace them with summer annuals and then dead-head or replace them with mums to keep the display looking good. Not any more; this new breed of annual has changed all that.
Still there are some plants that will always be grown from seed like the castor bean plant or fragrant tobacco. These plants grow plenty fast as it is.
When it comes to annuals, I'm a fan of big and bold. I am also a fan of fragrance. But above all I am a fan of plants that perform in the garden. Summer is too short here in Michigan to plant wimpy annuals that take 4 months to mature. I want plants that offer quick color and that fill in fast to shade out the weeds. Because I hate weeding.
Here are my top 10 favorites. What are your favorite annuals?
|9. Graceful Grasses® Vertigo® Pennisetum boasts big bold leaves.|
This is a monster plant that gives you color, contrast and texture in
the garden. It also gives you movement. I adore big annuals.
|8. Kale 'Kaleidoscope' a wonderful cool season annual with a ruffled margin.|
The foliage color changes and intensifies as the temperatures drop in autumn.
Ornamental Kales and Cabbages are great in mixed containers.
|7. Nicotiana sylvestris the Fragrant Tobacco is a bold plant with incredible fragrance. |
It is grown from seed but matures quickly. I like to plant it in groups of 5 or more
to give people a real good dose of sweet fragrance as they pass by.
| 6. Ricinus communis 'Carmencita' - Castor Bean plant is big bold plant |
and some cultivars have attractive red leaves like this one.
One plant can reach 5-6' or more in one season.
|5. Supertunia® Raspberry Blast is a super strong grower with incredible flower power. |
Like other Supertunias it is a super grower and a great value. You can get cheaper
petunias but they wont grow and flower like this series of plants.
|4. I love Superbells® Cherry Star Calibrachoa because it is such a cheerful color. |
It boasts a unique blend of bright red with a yellow lines.
|3. Euphorbia Diamond Frost® looks great every day all summer long. A very strong |
grower that gives great garden value. It is great in containers, as seen here,
or in the garden. Just give it plenty of room to grow.