Last week we let you know our top perennials' picks for the year. This week we are going to let you know our top annuals for the year. Growing annual flowers is a great way to have some fresh flowers in the house for part of the year. Most annuals are easy to grow and can be grown throughout the warmer months. They also don't require as much work as perennials, so even when you have a busy life, you can still enjoy your favorite blooms all year long.
Our number five annual is Cockscomb Celosia. This flower is grown for its interesting-shaped blooms and is the state flower of Texas. The flower heads are ruffled and have a velvety texture. People think they look like a brain. The flower thrives in a hot dry growing environment. It is low-maintenance and can grow in poor soil. First, this plant needs full sun exposure in order to thrive. Another important thing is that it needs well-drained soil or sand which has been mixed with organic material or manure in order for the plant not to rot and stay healthy. The last thing you need to do is water it regularly, so it doesn't dry out, and fertilize it when needed.
Kirigami Oregano is fourth on our list and is an ornamental non-culinary oregano plant that has large purple-green bracts with small rose-colored flowers. It is fragrant and attracts pollinators. The plant is heat and drought-tolerant and prefers hot sunny conditions where the climate is dry, and the soil is well-drained. It blooms in late spring to early summer. Ornamental Oregano Kirigami is a great patio plant in a container or hanging basket. It also can be used in a border or in a rock garden. This plant can also be dried and would be an attractive addition to a dry arrangement.
In the middle of our list is Ranunculus. The flower is known as the “Rose of Spring” or buttercups. These attention-getting flowers are popular cut flowers and are found in many florist’s bouquets. They are multilayered flowers that come in stunning jeweled color hues of red, orange, pink, and yellow, to name just a few! These flowers are cool-season plants. Their rose-like flowers are thin and delicate. Ranunculus are a natural fit for, flower beds and containers. The plant grows fairly quickly and performs best where winters are relatively mild. Plant the bulbs in fall for March flowers or in spring for late summer blooms.
Number two on our list is Nasturtium, a wonderful, warm-season annual and edible flower that grows to be about 3 feet tall. They are versatile as they can be planted in pots, window boxes, containers, or just in the ground. These flowers benefit from being mixed with other flowers that have a long flowering time or attract butterflies and hummingbirds. The blooms are quite stunning and come in a wide range of colors. They are often used for borders, edging, or as a single specimen plant. You can grow them from seed or transplant seedlings from your garden. Plant them in full sun. They do not need to be watered too often so you should only water them when the soil is bone dry. Nasturtium does need to be fertilized with organic matter every 2-3 weeks during the growing season for best results.
Now for our top annual flower, Bachelor Buttons. This flower is also known as “Cornflower” because you could find it in all of the cornfields in its native Europe. It is a popular plant and a favorite in cottage and cutting gardens. We love it for its gorgeous blue flower and fringed petals. They are relatively easy to grow and propagate which makes them a great choice for beginners looking to get into gardening. Plant them in sunny locations with well-drained soil that is not too rich. Allow some space between the plants to ensure that they get enough air circulation and light. Water only when the soil is dry and feed with compost once a year.
Let us know what annual flowers you would add to our list!
Photos of Kirigami Oregano courtesy of Ball Seed and Jill Mazur