Hardy annuals are plants that grow from seed, flower, and then die, in one growing season. They normally grow and die from early spring until late autumn. (Sown in the spring to flower in the summer and then die off in autumn after they have flowered.
They are called Hardy Annuals, because they can be sown outdoors – more or less in the position that you want them to grow and flower.
There are many types of hardy annuals to be found in seed catalogues and at the garden centre seed display racks.
Hardy Annuals are ideal for making colourful displays in summer beds and borders in the garden. They can also be sown between shrubs and perennials for a splash of summer colour.
What: Bedding plants that are sown outdoors. Those are the main varieties, but you are sure to find many other plants in the hanging basket section of your garden centre. Don’t ignore the silver foliage plants. They may not flower as much, but they are a great addition to the mainly ‘hot’ colours that will be in your basket. If you have a few baskets, then don’t be afraid to try using just one variety of plant – or even go for a single colour scheme!
Petunias and Busy Lizzies are good for this. Don't forget the New Guinea Busy Lizzies - they are superb, with a great range of colours to brighten up a basket. Not too many for a basket or window box though! Hopefully you will have read our section on preparation of the compost. It is important to get this right. Regular watering is necessary – especially if you are using a mosslined basket. They tend to dry out quicker than plastic baskets for instance. You can also get plastic hanging baskets that hold a reservoir of water in the bottom. They might not look as nice when they are empty, but the mass of plants you are going to use for your hanging basket will soon turn it into a bowl of colour.
Where: Sow them where you want them to flower
Why: Because they are easy to grow – and have loads of colour
When: Sow them in early spring – ready to flower in a few months time in summer
A list of some easy hardy annuals..........
Calendulas, Clary, Eschscholzia (Californian Poppies), Larkspur, Godetia, Campanula, Centaurea, Cerinthe, Nasturtiums, Shirley Poppies, Clarkia, Chrysanthemum, Forget-me-Nots, (Myosotis), Gypsophila.
Some seeds sold as 'Hardy Annuals' are actually Biennials.
The list goes on .........