Flowering annual plants have a life cycle that lasts only one growing season. In Florida, we can have flowers twelve months of the year, and annuals are an easy way to add color to the landscape. Annuals are typically split into two categories—warm season and cool season.
In containers they add a splash of color to a deck, porch, or patio. In beds and as borders they provide bright accents. Limit your selection to as few kinds as possible to prevent visual confusion.
Success with annuals depends largely on adequate preparation of the planting bed. Clear a section of your landscape for the bed, removing grass and weeds. A few weeks before planting, till at least six inches down, to loosen and aerate the soil, and add organic materials like compost to enrich and add moisture. Thoroughly mix organic materials like compost or composted animal manure to help the soil retain nutrients and moisture that plants need.
Flower beds should be fertilized prior to planting or at planting time, with a controlled-release, complete fertilizer. Most of these products last for months, so you shouldn’t have to fertilize very often.
Before planting, make sure you gently loosen and spread the roots of your annuals. After planting, add mulch to beds to keep weeds down, and water regularly. A border around the bed will help keep grass from invading.
Keep in mind that annuals require some maintenance such as weeding and removing spent flowers (also called “deadheading”), and applications of water and fertilizer.
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