As we were considering our list of top annuals for the year, we were reminded of how wonderful annual plants are in the garden. Growing annual plants can be a fantastic addition to any garden. These plants complete their life cycle within a single growing season, typically from spring to fall. They offer numerous benefits and are enjoyed by many gardeners for various reasons. One of the key advantages of utilizing annual plants is their fast growth rate. Unlike perennial plants that take time to establish themselves, annuals quickly sprout, flower, and produce seeds all within one year. This rapid growth allows for a burst of vibrant colors and lush foliage in a relatively short period.

Annuals also provide flexibility and versatility in garden design. With an extensive selection of annual plant varieties available, gardeners have the freedom to experiment with different colors, textures, and heights each year. This allows for endless possibilities in creating visually appealing displays or achieving specific themes or color schemes in the garden.

Annuals are known for their ability to fill gaps in the landscape. Whether you have empty spaces between perennial beds or need to add interest to containers or hanging baskets, annual plants can quickly fill these voids with their abundant blooms and foliage.

In fifth place on our list is Diascia. We were first introduced to this plant at the California Spring Trials. Diascia plants are known for their delicate and dainty flowers that come in various shades of pink, purple, and white. They typically bloom from spring to fall, adding a splash of color to any garden or landscape. When it comes to caring for Diascia plants, they prefer well-draining soil and full sun exposure. Regular watering is essential for their growth and flowering. Deadheading spent blooms can encourage continuous blooming throughout the season. These garden-friendly plants are versatile and can be used as border edging, in container gardening, or as ground covers. Their low-growing habit makes them an excellent choice for rock gardens or cascading over walls.

Number four on our list is Cuphea. Cuphea plants are known for their vibrant and eye-catching tubular flowers, which come in a variety of colors including red, orange, pink, and purple. In addition to their tubular shape, Cuphea has petals that often have contrasting colors or patterns. In terms of growth habits, Cuphea plants can vary from compact shrubs to sprawling vines. They typically have small to medium-sized leaves that are green in color. Some species also have aromatic foliage. One notable characteristic of Cuphea plants is their ability to attract pollinators such as hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies. They are relatively low-maintenance and can tolerate periods of drought once established.

In the middle of our list, our third selection is Cosmos chocamocha.  Cosmos are renowned for vibrant and colorful flowers. This variety has velvety, chocolate scented flowers which bloom continually for up to five months. Small mid-green leaves decorate the plant adding to the lacy daisy look. It is a great pollinator plant, ideal for bees and hummingbirds. These plants are relatively easy to grow and maintain, making them popular choices for home gardens and landscaping projects. They prefer full sun exposure but can tolerate partial shade in hotter climates. We love having Cosmos in the garden.

Number two on our list is Caladiums, another favorite plant that we love growing. Caladiums are known for their large, heart-shaped, or arrowhead-shaped leaves that come in a variety of vibrant colors and patterns. The leaves of caladium plants can range from solid green to combinations of pink, red, white, and various shades in between. The patterns on the leaves can be speckled, striped, or marbled, adding to their visual appeal. These striking foliage features make caladiums a popular choice for indoor and outdoor gardens alike. Due to their striking appearance and versatility in landscaping and container gardening, caladiums have gained popularity among gardeners worldwide. They prefer partial shade or filtered sunlight but can tolerate some direct sunlight if provided with adequate moisture. Caladiums require well-draining soil and regular watering to keep the soil consistently moist.

Our top selection for the year is Freesias. Freesias are known for their elegant appearance and delicate, colorful blooms. These plants are known for their pleasant fragrance. The scent of freesias is often described as sweet and citrusy, making them a popular choice for cut flower arrangements or adding fragrance to indoor spaces. They can be grown outdoors in garden beds or containers and indoors as potted plants. Freesias require regular watering during their growing season but should be allowed to dry out between waterings to avoid rotting. Their vibrant colors and delightful scent make them a sought-after choice for special occasions such as weddings and events.

Let us know your favorite annual plants!

Diascia, Cuphea, and Cosmos chocamocha photos are courtesy of PlantHaven, International Inc. Caladium photo courtesy of Pixabay.

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