Annuals emerge from seed, flower and die in a single growing season. Most annuals bloom non-stop all season. Planting annuals provides great flexibility by allowing you to change the look of your landscape every year or every season. Annuals provide a beautiful show of flowers all summer long. They require a moderate amount of care, regular fertilizer applications, regular watering, and deadheading.
- New plantings of annuals should be watered thoroughly. A liquid plant starter fertilizer may be used to help get the plants off to a faster start. Once established, waterings can be reduced to once a week or when the soil becomes dry.
- With few exceptions, annuals prefer a warm soil and should not be planted in the spring until the danger of frost is past, around May 15 in Minnesota. Pansies, alyssum and snapdragons are the exceptions and will tolerate light frosts and cool soil.
- Good soil preparation is essential to success with annuals. Till or spade the soil deeply and add a slow-release flower fertilizer at this time. If drainage is poor, you should consider raising the bed and improving drainage by adding topsoil, compost, peat or other organic matter to the bed. Planters, pots and hanging baskets must have drainage holes and a potting soil that drains well. After planting, mulch will help to control weeds and keep the soil uniformly moist and cool. Another way to prevent weeds is by using chemical weed preventers such as Preen or Miracle-Gro Weed and Feed before planting.
- Fertilizing will provide extra nourishment resulting and improved plant performance. Since annuals produce more blooms than most plants, they require more frequent fertilization, every 10 days to two weeks. Use a granular Osmocote or Miracle Gro Shake and Feed Bloom at planting and a water soluble Miracle-Gro Bloom booster every 2 weeks for best results, which you can find here at Wagners.
- Always follow label directions when applying fertilizers. It is wise to incorporate both an immediate release and a slow release fertilizer when you are adding nutrients to the soil. Never fertilize too dry or stressed plants.
Care & Maintenance
Pinching Back & Deadheading
- Many annuals will benefit from being pinched back at planting time. Just pinch out the top 1/3 or so of the growing tip and this will make the plants bush out, producing more flowers through the growing season. Don’t be shy; even if you just purchased bedding plants that are in bloom, pinching the tips out will reward you in the long run. Some plants that benefit from pinching are petunias, coleus and any trailing plants.
- Deadheading, the practice of removing faded flowers and seed heads, is good for all annuals and it is especially beneficial for plants with large blooms like marigolds, zinnia, dahlia, geranium. Deadheading doesn’t only keep the plant neat but it also promotes more buds forming.
There are few sights as lovely as the first crocus of the year, peeking up out of the frozen landscape of winter – and a few surprises as happy as the sight of a bowl of ‘Paper White’ Narcissus blooming indoors on a winter’s day. The flowers that we know as bulbs – tulips, daffodils, crocuses, irises, lilies, gladiolas and many others – contain a hidden world of color, lying beneath the ground waiting to be realized. Fortunately for us, bulbs are not only beautiful, but also easy to grow, lending themselves to a wide variety of terrains and performing well for anyone – from the novice to the most expert of gardeners.
Plant bulbs in the ground according to their shape:
- Plant tear-drop shaped bulbs with the pointed end up and the heavy end facing down. Tulips, Daffodils, Crocus.
- Plant bulbs with obviously flat ends so the flat end points up. Tuberous begonia.
- Plant rooted bulbs with the roots pointed down. Amaryllis.
Care & Maintenance
- First remember, never to let your bulbs stand in water, or they will rot. While the bulbs are growing, be sure they have plenty of water; even when they are dormant, they should not be allowed to dry out entirely.
- Make sure that you plant them in rich, well-drained soil, in a place where they will have full sun while their leaves are green.
- For best results when planting add bulb food, blood meal or bone meal to the soil. This will improve blooming.
- Mulch your bulbs in winter and allow the mulch to decompose in place, improving the soil. If you have problem visitors – squirrels, chipmunks – plant your bulbs, place chicken wire flat just below ground level and cover with soil; this will help keep the creatures out. Clean the area of bulb shells or leftovers, tab the soil down making it look undisturbed to avoid squirrels digging.
Tips & Tricks
Bulbs for spring planting and summer bloom time:
Asiatic lilies, Calla lily, Canna, Colocasia, Crocosmia (Elephant Ear), Dahlia, Gladiolus and Oriental lilies. Must be removed in the fall and planted again in the spring or will freeze.
Bulbs for fall planting and spring bloom time:
Allium, Asiatic Lilies, Crocus, Daffodils, Hyacinths, Garlic, Muscari, Oriental lilies, and Tulips. Do not remove their foliage after done blooming until it dies on its own (July). They will need it to store energy for next year. The best time to plant and divide Iris rhizomes is August.
Bulbs for winter planting and indoor forcing:
Amaryllis, Hyacinths, Paper Whites. Paper whites can be forced just in water. Set the bulb on top of a wide mouth bottle and fill with water until it touches the bottom of the bulb. Maintain that water level until the roots fill the bottle. Do not submerge the bulb in water or it will rot.
Pansies and Violas are the perfect Minnesota-ready cold weather annuals.
Care & Maintenance
- These spring loving annuals come in a rainbow of delicious colors! Pansies and Violas are our most frost tolerant annuals and are among the first plants to be set out in the spring.
- They will survive in temperatures as low as -15°F. The blossoms could get damaged at temperatures lower then 40°F or if heavy frost occurs, so the plants need to be protected under these conditions.
- Blooming slows down as the temperatures rise, so savor these annuals in early spring and replace them with warm weather annuals in the summer.
- Plant your pansies in full sun to part shade and rich, well-drained soil. For better blooms add a water-soluble fertilizer like Miracle-Gro (available at Wagners).
- Encourage longer blooming by deadheading (removing the spent blooms with the stem). Violas are the small-faced members of the family. They may be more compact, but they like to be treated the same as pansies.
- Both Pansies and Violas are perfect in containers. Wagners offers colorful, pre-potted bowls and ovals to beautify your patio, deck or front steps.
- Our pansies, violas, and other cool weather plant selections like Alyssum, Dusty miller, Lysimachia, Snapdragons and more are available in early April weather dependent.
Cold-Tolerant Plants at Wagners
|In 4-Paks||Alyssum, Dianthus, Dusty Miller, Pansy, Snapdragon, Viola|
|4 1/4"||Dianthus, Kale, Nemesia, Snapdragon, Primula, Ranunculus, Lysimachia, Pansy|
|Vegetables in 4-Paks||Arugula, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Collards, Kale, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Onion, Spinach, Swiss Chard|
Looking for annuals that thrive with little water? Look no further!
Drought Tolerant Annuals
|Botanical Name||Common Name|
|Begonia Hybrid 'Big'||Begonia|
|Dusty Miller||Dusty Miller|
|Portulaca||Moss Rose, Purslane|
|Sedum 'Lemon Ball'||Sedum|
Check out the list of water-friendly annuals below.
Moist Tolerant Annuals
|Botanical Name||Common Name|