10 Easy Annuals To Grow and Maintain
Dress your outdoor spaces with annuals that blend good looks with easy-grows-it personalities. Many annuals pack nonstop flowers into a plant package that’s truly low-maintenance. If you’re looking for annual color to stage a season-long show, check out these plants. You won’t be disappointed.
What Does Easy Mean?
When a plant is easy to grow, you don’t have to invest lots of time in daily primping and pampering. You do need to water, and you’ll need to fertilize, but that can be as simple as adding season-long slow-release fertilizer at planting time. You might choose to remove spent blooms (called deadheading), but for these beauties, it’s not necessary.
10 Easy Annual Flowers
Common Name (Botanical Name): Diamond Frost euphorbia (Euphorbia graminea)
Special Feature: A blizzard of white or blush-pink blooms; deer- and rabbit-resistant.
Growing Tip: Plants love heat and humidity and need well-drained soil.
Common Name (Botanical Name): Dragon Wing begonia (Begonia ‘Dragon Wing’)
Special Feature: Waxy, bright-green leaves; red or pink flowers blanket plants. Stems arch neatly; use in hanging baskets or planting beds.
Growing Tip: Site in full sun to part shade. Tolerates many conditions: hot and humid, cool and moist, and hot and dry.
Common Name (Botanical Name): Lantana (Lantana camara)
Special Feature: Small balls of flowers change hues as they fade; a butterfly magnet.
Growing Tip: Plants tolerate full sun, heat, humidity and drought. Look for variegated leaf types. Flower colors include gold, purple, pink, rose and orange.
Common Name (Botanical Name): Million Bells (Calibrachoa)
Special Feature: Blooms look like mini petunias; trailing stems work in hanging baskets. Draws butterflies and hummingbirds.
Growing Tip: Plants succumb easily to overwatering; make sure soil drains well. For strongest flower show, place in full sun.
Common Name (Botanical Name): Moss rose (Portulaca)
Special Feature: Rose-like flowers open in a rainbow of hues. Blooms open in full sun, close in shade.
Growing Tip: Plants tolerate heat and drought once established, but flower better with regular irrigation. Soil must drain well; rocky or sandy soils are great.|
Common Name (Botanical Name): Pentas (Pentas lanceolata)
Special Feature: Clustered flowers in shades of pink, white, rose, lavender or bicolor. A butterfly favorite.
Growing Tip: Plants are heavy feeders; mix slow-release fertilizer into soil. Use compact types in containers.
Common Name (Botanical Name): Profusion zinnia (Zinnia ‘Profusion’)
Special Feature: Two- to 3-inch-wide zinnia flowers in several colors (cherry, orange, white, gold, etc.). A butterfly favorite.
Growing Tip: Site in full sun; tolerates heat, humidity and drought. Fills beds with a knee-high blanket of blooms. Disease-resistant.
Common Name (Botanical Name): ‘Summer Jewel’ Red’ scarlet sage (Salvia coccinea)
Special Feature: Bright red bloom spikes; hummingbirds can’t resist. Goldfinches eat seed.
Growing Tip: Plants thrive in full sun, but need even soil moisture. Look for a pink variety, too.
Common Name (Botanical Name): Spider flower (Cleome hassleriana)
Special Feature: Flowers open along a large spike over several weeks; attracts butterflies.|
Growing Tip: Look for new shorter types that don’t self-seed – ‘Senorita Rosalita’ or ‘Spirit.’
Common Name (Botanical Name): Summer snapdragon (Angelonia angustifolia)
Special Feature: Orchid-like blooms on spikes; lasts 10 days or more in bouquets.|
Growing Tip: Plants grow upright or are spreading. Check plant tags to get what you want.
Some of these plants are perennials in warmer zones. Check with a local garden center or cooperative extension office to learn more.
Check Out Plant Tags
Sometimes plant tags yield clues about how difficult caring for a plant will be. For a plant that won’t need hours of daily attention, look for these words:
- self-cleaning, no deadheading needed (that means dead flowers fall off – you don’t have to physically remove them)
- drought-tolerant (in planting beds, it won’t require much water once established)
Learn more about the key messages plant tags share.