A flat of annual flowers provides instant gratification to a busy gardener, but unless you choose wisely that instant gratification will turn into a summer of maintenance work. If you want a colorful landscape with less work (who doesn’t?) select some of these 7 maintenance-free annuals, then pour yourself a glass of sweet tea and enjoy your green thumb handiwork.
Annual vinca (Catharanthus roseus) also called Madagascar periwinkle, thrives in full sun and s summertime heat. Glossy green foliage topped with small flowers that form clusters in bloom colors of red, pink, white, purple and some with a two-tone contrasting ‘eye’. Annual vinca blooms in early summer and easy to propagate through plant cuttings.
Don’t let the name turn you off to this maintenance-free, prolific blooming annual. Flowering tobacco (Nicotiana alata) reaches a mature height of 1-5 feet (depending on variety planted), grows well in full sun or partial shade and produces fragrant blooms on tall stems that sway in an intoxicating dance when the summer breezes blow. The yellow, pink, red, purple, white or green blooms that never need deadheading attract hummingbirds and butterflies.
Tiny little jewels of flowers that grow exceptionally well in shady areas. Impatiens (Impatiens wallerianna) come in single or double bloom varieties, in a wide range of color and will bloom from late spring until first frost. The colorful blooms attract hummingbirds and butterflies and the plants never need deadheading.
Drought-tolerant plant that produces deep yellow flowers that resemble daisies. Melampodium (Melampodium Paludosum) needs full sun and well-draining soil to reach it’s mature height of 18 inches. The plant will give you a steady stream of yellow flowers that never need deadheading all summer until the first killing frost of fall.
A low-growing annual that is covered with small, fragrant blooms from spring through frost. Sweet alyssum (Lobularia Maritima) grows 8 inches tall and 10-15 inches wide when mature. White, purple, pink and apricot blooms attract butterflies and the plant never needs deadheading.
Different from the petunias you may be used too, wave petunias (petunia x hybrida ‘Wave”) never needs deadheading, makes a perfect ground cover or can be grown in hanging baskets or window boxes. Wave petunias come in a variety of bloom colors that attract hummingbirds.
Bright colored plants with waxy-looking leaves provides a steady supply of small flowers in red, pink, white or salmon and that flowers never require deadheading. Wax begonias (Begonia semperflorens) grow well in full or partial shade, reaching a mature height of 12 inches. The colorful blooms are a favorite of hummingbirds.