OUT IN THE YARD — Add a splash of color with flowering annuals

Published 12:07 am Saturday, March 14, 2020

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Flowering annuals provide fast, easy color. Flowering annuals or bedding plants can be the bright spot in a landscape as they offer an almost instant splash of color and variety to the landscape.

Spring is annual time — time to prepare soil or planting beds and make selections of bedding plants. Annuals can’t be depended on for a season-long source of color or permanent planting, but instead as a seasonal splash of color and interest to the landscape. Annuals, if properly selected, can brighten up an entryway or highlight a garden bed and add interest to a dull garden.

Today’s annuals are much larger, more gorgeous and varied in form and color than those of past years. With new varieties and colors being introduced every year, there is always something new to choose from.

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Annuals prefer a sunny well-drained soil; however, some will bring color and interest to a shaded pocket in the garden as well. If you are limited on space, consider planting your annuals in a container that can be located almost anywhere in the landscape and provide instant color where needed.

Here is a sampling of annuals that are well adapted to the Southeast Texas region and will provide ample enjoyment during the growing season.

Begonia: Height 12-18 inches; bronze or green foliage; red, pink or white flowers; light green leaf variety best suited to shadier locations while bronze leaf variety can tolerate more sun; spacing 12 to 14 inches for full effect.

Coleus: Height 12-36 inches; multiple shades of green, pink, and yellow foliage; best suited for shady locations; spacing 12 inches for full effect.

Geranium: Height 12-16 inches; red, pink or white flowers; needs shade in mid-summer; spacing 12-15 inches.

Impatiens: Height 12-30 inches; multiple colors; shade tolerant for most varieties; spacing 12-14 inches. Sunpatiens are a sun tolerant variety that can be planted in sunnier locations.

Marigold: Height 8-30 inches; full sun; orange or yellow flowers; spacing 12-18 inches.

Petunia: Height 8-18 inches; full sun; multiple colors and varieties available in trailing and upright forms; spacing 10-12 inches.

Periwinkle (vinca): Height 12-18 inches; white or pink flowers; good heat and drought tolerance; spacing 8-12 inches.

Portulaca (moss rose): Height 6-12 inches; multiple colors with full and partial sun; spacing 10-12 inches.

Zinnias: Height 18-30 inches; multiple colors; full sun location preferred; spacing 10-15 inches.

After selecting the perfect annual for your location; give some thought to soil preparation, fertilization and watering techniques. Create well amended beds with peat moss or other organic materials that are tilled to a depth of 6-8 inches. Be sure to incorporate a complete fertilizer such as 15-5-10 at a rate of 2-3 pounds per 100 square feet. Water as needed for establishment and then consistently during warmer months. Be sure to mulch planting as well for weed and moisture control.

Reach Jefferson County AgriLife County Extension Agent/ Horticulture, David Oates, at david.oates@ag.tamu.edu or (409)835-8461