Full Season Annuals

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Gardeners are busy planning what to plant after the final spring frost. Many are looking for special vegetables while others are considering flowering plants. Full season annuals are a favorite especially if they provide lots of color to the landscape with dependable performance.

Many plant options are available so consider some of these characteristics in your choices. Does the plant being considered require routine maintenance such as dead-heading? Are there issues with diseases or pest concerns? How will the plant perform in the consistently unpredictable NC weather? Is there a variety that is more tolerant of temperature extremes, drought, excessive rainfall or humidity?

Here are just a few of the many choices to consider:

Ageratum  (Ageratum houstonianum) is an old fashioned favorite that produces a profusion of blue flowers from summer to frost. They grow in sun or partial shade and are attractive in containers as well as the garden.

Alternanthera dentata ‘Little Ruby’ is a new selection of a group of plants known as ‘Joseph’s Coat’ frequently used as a groundcover. It has green and deep burgundy colored foliage in full sun. With less sun the leaf colors are green and red. ‘Little Ruby’ is a compact, smaller, thicker and fuller growing. This versatile plant can be grown alone in the landscape, mixed in a container in different amounts of sun and shade.

Blanket Flower (Gaillardia x grandiflora) is an easy to grow summer flower with daisy-like flowers in bright colors of yellow, orange, and red. They thrive on neglect making good cut stems and attracting butterflies.

Spider flower (Cleome hassleriana) is easy to grow in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. The tried and trouble free plant tolerates light shade and works well in a natural setting. The flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

Cockscomb (Celosia argentea) flowers are large and have very bright colors of yellow, pinks and reds. They have several distinctive shapes resembling rooster combs or convoluted brains and celosia.

Coleus x hybridus plants produce brilliantly colored leaves and are grown in borders and outdoor pots. Most varieties produce their brightest colored leaves in partial shade, but some cultivars thrive in full sun.

Dorotheanthu bellidiformus is a variegated trailing succulent, commonly called the Ice Plant. It is quick growing and easy to care for with small pink flowers that stand out against the variegated foliage.

Next week we will discuss more options to consider.