Once again it is time for us to share our favorite annual plants for the year.  As always this is a difficult decision as there are some many beautiful flowers and plants to choose from.  Our summer containers and flower beds would not be complete without these beauties.  Learn more about our selections and why we put them on our list.

At the lower end of our list is Mandevilla. It is a tropical vine also known as Dipladenia or Rocktrumpet.  This plant is an annual but in warmer parts of the country, it is considered a perennial. Mandevillas are known for their spectacular fragrant flowers.  These warm climate vines produce flowers in pink, red, white and yellow.  Since these plants are climbing vines, they can be trained to grow on an arbor, trellis, or wall.  It is a versatile plant as it looks great in flower beds, borders, and containers. Grow your Mandevilla vine in a location that gets full sun and make sure you keep the soil moist, but not soaking wet.  If you live in a colder climate bring it indoors and treat it as a houseplant until the spring and all danger of frost is gone and then you can bring it outside again. In frost-free parts of the country, you can grow Mandevillas as an evergreen perennial that flowers much of the year.  

Fourth on our list is Borage.  The blue color of this flower is so eye-catching. Borage is an interesting plant as it is a medicinal herb and the flowers and leaves are edible.  Borage is also known as starflower, bee bush, bee bread, and bugloss. As some of the other names indicate the plant is great at attracting bees. In the past, beekeepers would grow this plant to boost honey production. In the garden, Borage repels pests like hornworms and is a great companion plant to tomatoes, strawberries, and squash. In many areas, the plant will flower from mid-spring to early fall. There are some varieties of Borage that are perennials.

Number 3 on our list of top annuals is Euphorbia Glitz. This plant has masses of tiny white blooms that top green stems.  The flowers bloom late spring through early fall. It is an ideal filler plant for your container.  With its tiny white flowers, it looks great in mixed containers with such plants as Calibrachoa, Geraniums, Petunias, and Sweet Potato Vines.  It can also be grown in-ground. While the flowers are very pretty, during the twilight hours the plant takes on a special effect.  The plant grows 10 to 14 inches high and 12 to 18 inches wide. It is a great alternative to baby’s breath.  Euphorbia Glitz is a sun lover but will tolerate some shade especially in hot summer locales.  It is also somewhat drought resistant and deer resistant.

Second, on our list is Pink Gomphrena. Gomphrena is a truly unique and distinct clover-like flower.  Gomphrena is a low-maintenance plant with a globe shape and blossoms in purple, red, pink, blue, orange or white blossoms. American gardeners have been growing this flower for centuries as it is a must for any cutting garden. These plants grow one to two feet high. There are some new varieties that grow taller. It does not need to be deadheaded, as even when the flowers age, they still look nice on the plant.  Plant Gomphrena plants in full sunlight. The plants do tolerate partial shade but a full sun location makes for more vibrant blossoms. These flowers are not picky about soil type, but it's best to plant them in well-drained soil during the spring. It is an easy to care for flower as well as a durable plant. 

Top on our list this year, are you ready?  Our number one pick is Grandstand Salmon Salvia. We loved all of the new salmon-colored plants and this Salvia was our favorite.  This compact plant grows to a height of 12 to 14 inches. It is perfectly suited for planting in 8-inch and larger containers.  This salvia will continuously bloom from late spring/early summer until autumn frost.  It prefers full sun to partial shade.   The plant will hold up in hot, humid climates.  It is also a pollinator-friendly plant, especially loved by hummingbirds and butterflies. Use well-drained soil and keep the soil moderately moist at all times.  Hardiness zones 9 – 11.

Let us know what your favorite annuals were this year!

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