Gardening with the Masters

Serving Acworth, Cartersville, Dallas, Hiram, Kennesaw, Marietta, Powder Springs

Flowering annuals are noted for their impressive display of color as well as for ease of growth, hardiness and relatively low cost; annuals are those plants that complete their life cycle in one year. Planted in early spring, some annuals will remain viable until the first killing frost. There are three distinct types of annuals — hardy, half-hardy and tender.

HARDY annuals can withstand freezing temperatures. An excellent familiar example here is the pansy (Viola X wittrockiana). We see an abundance of these plants during the late fall through early spring in all sorts of venues. Another great example is the ornamental kale (Brassica oleracea).

HALF HARDY annuals are those that grow best under cool temperatures and may withstand light frost like phlox (Phlox drummondii) and calendula (Calendula officinalis).


TENDER annuals are not at all frost tolerant and represent the most popular annuals grown in Georgia. Well-known examples are vinca (Catharanthus roseus), zinnia (Zinnia elegans), impatiens (Impatiens wallerana), and petunia (Petunia X hydrida).

Since the growing season in Georgia for annuals is relatively long as opposed to other parts of the country, annuals lend themselves beautifully to a large variety of uses such as borders, backgrounds, trellises, ground covers, containers and window boxes depending on the annual chosen. In addition, some are good choices for their fragrance, for cut flowers, for their large size, for their ability to trail, for vines, and for attracting hummingbirds and butterflies.


When planning displays in the garden, it is important to heed recommendations for environmental conditions for which they will perform the best such as locations that are particularly hot, or dry, or moist, or shady, or partly shady. If clustering plants in a container or elsewhere, be sure they all have similar light and moisture requirements.

As mentioned earlier, the growing season in Georgia is long and can last up to 8 months. If one sets out plants in April, say, and discontinues them in November, that exhibitor will get some real mileage out of that display. This example applies to tender annuals. Filling in with hardy annuals in the late fall to early spring can bring about a nice balance to your garden. Native plant gardeners will be happy to mix in native perennials to fill out a display. Coral belles (Huechera), for example, lends some splash and augments nicely to any display. At the end of the season, they are already in place so they can do double duty and be companions to annual plants in the wintertime.

Caring for annuals is pretty straightforward. Most plants require 1 — 1/2 inches of water per week. Rainfall can accomplish much of this, but having drip or trickle irrigation handy is a good plan. Avoid the use of grass clippings, leaves, and sawdust as a mulch because this can lead to nitrogen deficiencies. Some annuals will require pruning and “deadheading” to keep them in bloom. The ideal pH for these plants should be 5.5 — 6.5. Lime tilled into the soil before planting will help to achieve this measurement. At the end of the season, annuals don’t need to be gone forever. Carefully chopped up, the spent flowers can be good organic material to add to your compost pile.

Tapping into these links, you will find many many interesting examples of annual plants you may choose. In the end, you may find you are sitting with the “Yard of the Month” award in your neighborhood because of the great curb appeal you have created to appreciative folks passing by!

Original source: Mary Shuster:


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Cinnamon Creek Landscaping
138 Spring Brook Lane
Dallas, GA 30132


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