Annuals are among the most beautiful, vibrant and colorful of all flowers, and they are very popular with both new and experienced gardeners. The sheer variety of annuals, their awesome range of color and their hardiness makes annuals hard to beat.It is important to know exactly what makes an annual an annual. In order to be a true annual, a plant must complete its whole life cycle in a single year. This means the seeds sprout, the flowers bloom, the plant sets seed and the plant dies, all within the same year.
Gallery of Annual Flowers
Some plants which are used as annuals are not true annuals. Some tender perennials are treated as annuals and replanted each year, especially in colder climates. While these plants could regenerate in warmer climates, in colder areas they are unable to regenerate and are therefore used as annuals instead.
The other side of that coin is annuals that act like perennials. Some annuals drop so much seed in the autumn that those seeds remain active over the winter and bloom the next year. That does not mean that they are perennials, simply that the seeds they set have taken root and bloomed the next year. Some of the most common perennial mimicking annuals are snapdragons, petunias and amaranth.
There are a number of ways to start annuals, including starting them directly from seed, buying seedlings, and buying older plants ready to transplant. Some annuals can be purchased in what are called cell packs, either in flats or as individual pots. Any time you buy plants to transplant, it is important to plant them as quickly as possible. If it is not possible to plant them immediately, they should be stored in a shaded area and watered when necessary. It is also important to water the bedding area in order to moisten the soil well before planting the transplants.
When working with annuals it is important not to plant them too early. Most types of annuals like the soil to be warm and the temperatures to be stable before planting. To prepare the plant properly, the seedlings should be lifted gently from their packs by pushing on the bottom of the container. It is important that the seedling and surrounding soil come out in one piece.
If the roots of the plant appear to be compacted, they can be loosened up by gently breaking the root ball apart or cutting the sides with a knife. Loosening the soil in this manner will encourage better and deeper rooting after the seedlings have been planted.
Annuals should be planted in the garden to the same depth they were in the cell packs. After they have been set in place, the soil should be gently tamped down around the seedling and the area should be watered deeply. This should be followed by an application of a high quality fertilizer that is high in phosphorus content. The fertilizer can be applied at a concentration of two tablespoons of fertilizer per gallon of water.
All these steps will help get your annual garden off to the best possible start. Then, in no time at all you will find yourself enjoying a stunning garden of annuals.
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