Even before winter has released its icy grip, gardening enthusiasts are perusing seed catalogs to find plants for spring. If you have a flower garden, this is probably a familiar scenario. Your garden’s backbone consists of the perennial plants that bloom every year. For accent colors that will last one season, you pick annual plants.

These seasonal beauties are just as varied as the gardeners who love them. The best way to choose annual plants is by their purpose. They might border a sidewalk or add a splash of color to a perennial bed. Here are some of the best annual plants to consider.

5 Annual Plants that Color Your Garden and Mood

marigolds

1. Marigolds

Marigolds are so easy to grow, no wonder they are among gardeners’ favorite annual plants. Most cultivars of this golden beauty are the perfect size for bordering sidewalks and flower beds. The African variety gets tall enough to stand alone or become a backdrop to smaller flowers.

  • Marigold cultivars range from 5-6 petals to a fluffy bloom like a carnation, and they bloom until the first frost.
  • These flowers come in shades of bright yellow, honey gold, and a dark ivory.
  • They are versatile enough for flower beds or containers.
  • Marigolds have an unpleasant smell that repels insects and other garden pests.

cosmos

2. Cosmos

If you wandered through your grandma’s flower garden, the chances are that you found cheerful cosmos. These annual plants are native to Mexico and parts of the United States. Also, they are in the same family as daisies and sunflowers. Gardeners delight in their pastels, which usually number from 6 to 8.

  • Cosmos have gorgeous, fern-like foliage, and some can grow as high as 6 feet tall.
  • Cosmos make a nice touch of color around other plants, or in a grouping of their own.
  • Moreover, cosmos are not hard to grow, and will bloom well into the fall in some growing regions.

Geraniums

3. Geraniums

Here is a variety of annual plants that is iconic in flower boxes. Geraniums originated from Africa. However, some members of the family are perennial, and some are annual plants. Common geraniums you see in containers, flower boxes, and perennial beds are usually the annual type.

  • These plants usually have five symmetrical petals.
  • They grow low to the ground and can be white, blue, purple, or a dark magenta.
  • Plant geraniums in well-drained soil if you want them to flourish.
  • Geraniums are edible, and were used in the past to flavor cakes and as a skin tonic.

impatients

4. Impatiens

Do you have a lot of shade in your yard? You may consider growing impatiens, the queen of annual plants that love the shade. They have many native habitats, from the Americas to tropical zones. Another reason gardeners adore impatiens is that they come in many colors, and grow into a breathtaking ground cover.

  • You can also put them in a flower box or container garden that does not get a lot of direct sunlight.
  • Impatiens are very forgiving when it comes to care.
  • If you keep them watered, they will burst into bloom until October’s frosts come.

morning glory

5. Morning Glory

When you grow climbing annual plants, they add variety and interest to your flower garden. One of the simplest vining flowers to grow is the morning glory. These trumpet-shaped beauties originated in tropical regions of Asia and North America, and include approximately 10,000 varieties.

If you have a fence or trellis, you can have them filled with morning glory vines in no time. These annual plants come in a lot of attractive colors, including mixed hues. They got their name from their habit of opening their blooms early in the morning, and closing them mid-day.

Coloring Up the Garden

A study from the University of Michigan states that gardening benefits your physical and mental health. Novice gardeners often start with annual plants, because they do not require a lot of care. If you decide you do not like a particular plant, it only lasts a season. Then, you can plant something else.

You can find many annual plants that will thrive in your growing zone. They can be used in any garden plan, whether it is a container garden or in a flower bed. Do not be surprised if you fall in love with traditional annual plants, and want to grow them every year.

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