Vibrant flower clusters attract butterflies. Striking in gardens and containers, where plants can easily be trimmed to shape. Excellent drought and heat tolerance, and resistant to deer browsing. Vigorous where hardy; may be wintered indoors where not hardy. Prune lightly in mid- to late spring.
Early spring to fall
Not hardy, grow as an annual
Grows 10-24" (25-61 cm) tall.
8-10" (20-25 cm) apart.
Tips and Uses
Likes well-drained soil; water new transplants
Pinch for full growth
Attracts Butterflies, Drought Tolerant, Outstanding Color
› General Plant Info
- Annuals are one-season plants in the garden. A true annual completes its life cycle in a single season, germinating from seed, maturing to bloom, and setting seed for the next generation before it dies. Plants sold as annuals also include some that would live for many seasons in the mildest of climates, and others that are hybrids of perennials or biennials selected to bloom early and profusely in their first year.
- These plants are used to provide color. Most have profuse flowers throughout the growing season, from spring planting until the weather cools in fall. Others add colorful foliage as a constant through the season, and may or may not flower as an added bonus. Cool-season annuals fill in the gaps, providing strong color in early spring, late fall and even through the winter in mild winter areas.
- Annuals have a place in nearly any home landscape.
- In containers:
- Use a single plant to create a bold statement
- Combos of mixed plants with complementary or contrasting colors and textures
- Create a classic layered planter with a tall, upright "thriller," 3-5 shorter, mounded "fillers" and trailing or cascading "spillers"
- In the garden:
- Plant in sweeping masses for blankets of color
- Mix with perennials to provide constant color as the seasonal flowers come and go
- Design and site considerations:
- Height - To make sure all your plants get good lighting and none get lost among the other plants, start with tallest varieties at the center or back of a planting, and place gradually shorter plants as you move toward garden’s edge. It’s fine to put the occasional tall, open plant closer to the edge as a see-through plant to keep things interesting.
- Spacing - Spacing recommendations are based on the normal spread of a plant. You may space plants farther apart or closer together, depending on how quickly you want the planting to fill in.
- Light preference - Always match your plants to the light conditions where they will be growing. Most plants are put into one of three basic categories:
- Full sun - 6 or more hours of direct sun
- Part sun - 4-6 hours of direct sun. Also includes bright areas with dappled light
- Shade - Less than four hours of direct sun
- Watering needs - When you’re making a combo, all the plants should have similar watering needs so they will be happy in a single container.
- Special features - Look for qualities that suit your gardening objectives, such as low maintenance, attractive to butterflies, resistance to deer damage, etc.
- You'll enjoy your plants more if you visit them regularly, and they’ll always look fresh if you take the opportunity to remove any faded blooms or trim stray growth. You’ll also notice any problems early and be able to take preventive action.
› Water Tips
- New transplants will take a few weeks to establish as their roots grow out into their new soil. Initially, you’ll need to frequently check the soil at the plant’s base, and water if it feels dry to the touch. Observe plants closely to check for signs of flagging, and make sure to water before plants wilt.
- In the garden:
- As plants become established, they will need less water, depending on rainfall. A rain gauge is a helpful tool to understand how much water plants receive, and determine any additional irrigation needed.
- Conditions that increase water needs:
- Dry, windy weather
- Periods of drought
- Sandy, light soils that do not hold moisture well
- Containers in hot, sunny spaces
- For new transplants, make sure the water soaks the original root ball as well as the surrounding soil.
- Slow, deep watering is most effective; frequent, shallow watering encourages shallow root systems that are less drought tolerant.
- Apply water at the base of the plants to minimize evaporation and keep foliage dry, which also helps prevent disease.
- When overhead sprinklers are used, water early in the day; morning is best. Foliage will dry quickly as the day warms.
- If plants are wilted, water right away.
- Check daily, and water thoroughly when soil feels dry an inch below the surface.
- If plants appear to be wilting, check soil to make sure it is dry — extreme overwatering can also cause wilting.
- Drip irrigation or soaker hoses can be put on a timer and help make vacation watering a breeze.
› Planting Tips
- Most soils benefit from the addition of organic matter such as compost, peat or composted manure. This helps poor, sandy soils to better retain moisture, and breaks up heavy clay soil to help air, water and plant roots move more freely.
- For new planting beds, prepare the soil by tilling, and work in organic matter following product recommendations.
- To add new plants to an established bed, it is best to prepare the soil using hand tools to avoid damaging the roots of the long-term residents.
- Gently remove plant from its container, taking care not to pull on the main stem as this can cause damage by breaking away roots.
- Using a trowel, make an opening in the prepared soil and insert plant at the same depth as it was in its container. For larger plants, make a low ring of soil around the plants, just wider than the root ball. This will help funnel the water to the plant’s roots during the establishment period.
- For peat pots, break away the lip of the container so that it is just lower than the soil, then plant as above. For other plant-in-the-pot products, follow package directions.
- Water carefully with a gentle sprinkle, soaking the prepared soil and the transplants.
- Mulch may be applied between the plants, keeping a few inches away from the plant stems. This will help prevent weeds and retain moisture.
- Large combination planters and hanging baskets are ready to use; simply place and enjoy.
- If you’re putting together your own combinations using smaller plants:
- Choose a container with drainage holes. There is no need to add pot shards or stones to the bottom of the pot.
- Plants have more room to grow and are less likely to dry out in larger containers.
- Use a lightweight professional potting mix for best results. Do not use garden soil as it will not drain well and plants usually fail to thrive.
- Remove plants from the nursery pots.
- Loosen roots gently if they are packed tightly into the shape of the container.
- Plant into potting mix at the same depth as the root ball.
- Water thoroughly with a gentle spray.
- Annuals in containers perform best with regular fertilization. High-quality potting soil promotes free drainage and healthy roots, but cannot provide nutrients for plant growth.
- If you choose a soil with fertilizer mixed in, apply supplemental fertilizer only as recommended for that product.
- Time-release products can be used as a soil dressing, and are applied only a few times during the growing season, depending on the product. Each time the plant is watered, a small amount of fertilizer is released.
- Water-soluble fertilizers can be applied with a hose end sprayer or mixed in a watering can or bucket. Use a product formulated for the type of plants you are growing, and apply according to package instructions.
- If your plants are dry and wilting, water immediately with clear water. Fertilizing at this time will cause leaf burn. Wait until plants have perked back up before feeding.
- Annuals planted in the ground can be fertilized less frequently, as good garden soil will provide the necessary nutrients.
- If plants are massed together, a time-release product is very effective.
- When plants are tucked in among perennials or shrubs, base fertilizing on the needs of those more permanent plantings.
› Pruning Tips
- Many of today’s hybrid annuals do not require pruning. Premium varieties are often compact and self-branching and do not produce fertile seeds, making it unnecessary to pinch off the old flowers to keep plants tidy and in constant bloom.
- However, you’ll enjoy your plants more if you visit them regularly, and they’ll always look fresh if you take the opportunity to remove any faded blooms or trim stray growth.
- Container plants benefit from occasional light trimming to keep them looking tidy and encourage new growth.
- Take notice of any signs of disease or insect damage so that you can take prompt preventive action.