Brighten your garden with these colorful annuals!
- Coreopsis. This little wiry-stemmed beauty grows 1 1/2 to 3 ft. tall. Summer flowers that continue to fall come in yellow, orange, maroon, bronze, and reddish banded with contrasting colors. Sow seeds in place in dryish soil; keep spent blooms picked off to prolong flowering.
- Cosmos (C. bipinnatus). Delicate looking but tough and easy to grow, Cosmos bipinnatus are prolific summer flowers, sending up flowers in many colors and forms above fernlike foliage. Plants grow 3 to 4 ft. tall, although Sonata, a dwarf strain, grows just 1½-2 ft. tall. The blooms, which attract bees and beneficial insects, are also great in bouquets.
- Forget-me-not (Myosotis sylvatica). This pretty spring bloomer produces sky-blue forget-me-not flowers on stems that rise among soft, velvety green leaves. The plant self-sows profusely over a long season, but it’s easy to pull where you don’t want it. Prefers light shade, regular water.
- Honeywort (Cerinthe ‘Purpurascens). It forms clumps of blue-green leaves, with upper leaves and bracts that looks as though they’d been dipped in bluish-purple dye. The plant is easy to grow from seed, and it self-sows without being invasive in mild winter areas. Takes sun or part shade and regular water.
- Impatiens (I. balsameana, I. walleriana). Grown as perennials only in the mildest sunset climate zones 17, 24, and H1), impatiens are among the few annuals that produce really colorful flowers—in white and shades of pink, rose, lilac, red in light shade.
- Mexican sunflower (Tithonia rotendifolia). This coarse plant with velvety green leaves is gaudy but spectacular, with orange-red flowers from summer to frost. The plant grows fast to 6 ft. tall, 4 ft. wide. It makes a great temporary screen, or plant it along a wall.
- Sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima). Lacy, honey-scented blooms of white, pink , or purple on low, mounding plants that make great fillers at the front of borders or along paths. Best in sun but tolerates light shade; regular water.
- Sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus). Sweet peas come with flowers in many rich shades, from coral, rose, and purple to bi-colors. Plant seeds in fall for winter-spring bloom; in colder areas, start seeds this month. To hasten germination, soak the seeds for a few hours before planting; space them 1 to 2 inches apart.
- Sunflowers (Helianthus annus). Flowers come in lots of colors, from bronze and yellow to blends, and—depending on variety—can be either pollen-less or pollen-producers. Plant seeds in a sunny spot and water amply.
- Zinnia peruviana. It’s a profuse bloomer, with flowers—which come in brick red or soft gold— that dry well for arrangements. Give plants full run, regular water.