Buying Guide

Types of Annuals

Annuals Planting Tips
A gardener planting petunias in a flower bed.
  • For soil that contains clay, add compost or manure to the mix.
  • Many annuals prefer soil with a pH between 6.7 to 7.4.
  • Add lime to acidic soils or aluminum sulfate to alkaline soils.
  • Gently untangle roots before planting to help plants take hold of soil.
  • Placement holes for each plant should be slightly larger than the root ball.
  • Plants should stand in the ground at the same level as in the container.
  • Carefully tamp down the earth around the plant for stability.
  • Water thoroughly.

When to Plant:

  • Pay attention to the typical growing season of your region.
  • Most annuals can be planted as soon as the danger of frost is over.
  • Planting later in the day yields better results.
Hardy yellow pansies with frost.
  • Fertilize once or twice during growing season.
  • Soil enriched with compost may not require fertilizer.
  • Need between 1 inch to 1 1/2 inches of water per week during growing season.
  • Water early in the morning to allow foliage to completely dry.
  • Add mulch to retain moisture in soil and reduce growth of weeds.
  • Use general purpose insecticide or fungicide to treat disease or insect damage.
  • Weed regularly to improve appearance and reduce insects and disease.
  • Pinch off dead blooms to encourage new flowers.

Consult the following list for suitable annual options: 

Characteristic: Hardy annuals – tolerate cool temperatures, freezing conditions.


  • Forget-Me-Not
  • Larkspur
  • Pansy
  • Snapdragon
  • Viola

Characteristic: Prefer full sun.


  • Geranium
  • Marigold
  • Petunia
  • Zinnia

Characteristic: Prefer shade or filtered sun.


  • Ageratum
  • Begonias
  • Coleus
  • Fuschia
  • Impatiens
  • Lobelia

Characteristic: Semi-hardy annuals – tolerate cool temperatures, moderate frost.


  • Calendula
  • Petunia
  • Pansies
  • Snapdragons

Characteristic: Tender annuals – don't tolerate cool weather.


  • Marigold
  • Vinca
  • Zinnia

Characteristic: Thrive in alkaline soil.


  • Dianthus
  • Strawflower
  • Sweet pea

Characteristic: Thrive in infertile soil.


  • Cosmos
  • Gazania
  • Nasturtium
  • Poppy

Characteristic: Tolerate drought.


  • Cleome
  • Dusty miller
  • Globe amaranth
  • Petunias
  • Zinnia

Characteristic: Tolerate wet climates.


  • Browallia
  • Fuschia
  • Nicotiania
  • Pansy
Pink calibrachoa flowers in a hanging basket.
  • Seeds: Starting seeds requires plenty of space, good light and proper temperature levels.
  • Live Plants: Choose plants that are deep green in color and are neither too compact nor too spindly. Also, look for plants that have not yet bloomed.
  • Containers and Hanging Baskets: Provides a more ideal root-zone environment.
  • Screens and Hedges: Some fast-growing annual vines can be used as screens when grown on trellises or fences.