For many beginner gardeners looking to establish their first flowerbed gardens, the thought of planning, choosing and then planting can be a daunting task. No need to fret.
I will agree, however, that once you are at the garden center, the choice of plants, be they annual or perennials can be overwhelming. And if you are anything like me, I still have a hard time choosing my annuals and I have been caring for landscapes in the harsh Chicago climate for 30 years.
So, whether you want to plant for sun or shade, tall or short I have included some of my favorite annuals and I promise that each one is not difficult to grow.
Take note that I mention whether the annual is for sun or shade and its growing height. This added information will allow you to ‘click on the link’ and visit the plant pages that you deem fit for your flowerbed location. Have fun and do remember that you can’t make a mistake…every plant is movable.
Angelonia Sun, Low Growing: The Angelonia works well when grown in groups, such as in threes and with repetition within the flowerbed. Great purple coloring.
Bacopa Giant Snowflake Sun, Trailing: This trailing Bacopa annual, which bloom in white, is great for containers.
Tuberous Begonia Million Kisses Devotion Part Sun to Shade, Trailing: This Begonia is another great heavy branching, trailing annual. Great for container planting.
Bidens Sun, Low Growing: The Bidens offers the container gardener another choice for a filler plant. Also works as a border plant. Yellow in coloring.
Black Knight Pincushion Flower Sun, Tall Growing: The Black Knight is a tall growing annual is striking at best. The coloring is almost black. Great in containers.
Bonfire Begonia Sun, Low Growing Trailing: In discovering this wonderful Bonfire annual, I used it in containers but could also be used as a ground cover.
Coleus Shade, Low Growing: there are now varieties of Coleus that can be planted in sun, however this one is for shade.
Gartenmeister Fuchsia Shade, Trailing: This Fuchsia has become one of my favorites. Very easy to grow.
Impatiens Shade, Low Growing: Impatiens are most definitely a shade plant. Great for borders or planting in mass. Come in white, peach, red, pink. I have even seen a new variety of lime green!
Dorotheanthus Mezoo Sun to Part Shade, Trailing: This Mezoo is an unusual annual. Should be grown in containers for impact.
Dragon Wing Begonia Shade, Medium Height: I use the Dragon Wing Begonia in container planting. The elongated wax leaves and big, bold flowers make a great impact.
Dusty Miller Short Height: Although I have this silver annual listed as a short growing plant, mine do grow to a medium height. I think it’s all the fertilizer. Use as an edging plant. This is a great annual to use as a filler plant in containers. Very wispy, airy annual.
Felicia Daisy Sun, Low Growing: The Felicia Daisy could quite possibly be one of my favorite annuals. Delicate purple/mauve blooms. Makes a perfect grouping or edging plant. This annual is perfect for hanging baskets or containers.
Marigold Sun, Short Height: The Marigold is an old time annual. Many gardeners find this plant boring, however I still like the color it adds to any garden space.
Nelia Argyranthemum Sun, Tall Growing: The Nelia Argyranthemum never stops blooming. The daisy-like blooms do require deadheading, but well worth it. Great for cottage gardens.
Nelia Nicotiana Sun, Medium to Tall Height: Depending the variety, the Nicotianna can grow to a medium height or as I found out…can also grow pretty tall. Will reseed if not deadheaded.
Portulaca Sun, Low Growing: Portulaca is definitely meant for sun and dry conditions, this annual now has a variety that does not close up on cloudy days. Sundial stays open and offers the gardener blooming all day long.
Potunia Sun, Short Height: This annual does look like a petunia, however with the Potunia the flowers stay perky even after a rain.
Salvia Black and blue Sun, Part Shade, Tall Height: I simply love this Black Salvia annual. If you have a spot that requires a tall annual…this is the one for you. Blooms for an extended time and once the bloom stems have dried, just snap off. Even though this annual is very easy to grow, the amount of blooms is disappointing. It blooms quite a bit in the beginning of the season and then slows down.
Salvia Hot Lips, Part Shade, Tall Height: One of my favorite Salvia annuals. Looks like a cross between Lavender and the annual Salvia Victoria Blue. Beautiful red color.
Salvia Victoria Blue Sun, Part Shade, Medium Height: The Victoria Blue is still an outstanding long blooming annual. I plant it every season.
Verbena Sun, Short Height: The Verbena can be a short annual planted as an edging plant or can be a variety that is trailing and planting in baskets and containers. Comes in various colors.
Check out my container annuals post for more ideas.Return to the Chicago Lawn Care Home