annualsGrowing annuals in your garden brings great pleasure with excellent results that last all season, and can be changed completely the next year. Annuals fit perfectly in to any design scheme, color palette, gardening style, and setting. New varieties are introduced each year, too, so you can enjoy the thrill of discovering and combining plants you’ve never grown before.

Rely on annuals to create exceptional potted plantings for porches, patios, decks, terraces, and front entries, or as a focal point within a border. Use annuals to fill in spaces after spring bulbs or perennials have finished their show, or to add splashes of color at the front of a border or in any other high-visibility location.

Many annuals provide either a nonstop colorful bloom fest or tantalizing foliage; some even offer both. Since getting the right light for any plant is crucial, check our Web site for sun-loving annuals as well as annuals that thrive in shade, such as Coleus, Begonias, and Impatiens. You can also shop for annuals by color, height, bloom time, growing zone, fragrance, deer resistance, attractiveness to butterflies, and other criteria.

Annuals offer instant gratification. They often have flowers already open, so you won’t need to wait to see how one plant’s color will match up with another’s. Best of all, when you create an annual planting with a pleasing mix of colors, forms, and textures, the display will last for many months.

As you plan your own collections of annuals for containers, keep a few design tips in mind. Whatever you do, remember that it’s easy to rearrange designs with annuals and have fun with the process.

A harmonious color scheme features plants with similar hues, such as pastels or hot colors. Hues that are close together on the color wheel will generally produce a pleasing harmony.

Contrasting colors also can work well together, especially if they are opposites on the color wheel, such as yellow and purple, blue and orange, or red and green. Lighter and darker versions of each color will help to tie the scheme together, adding harmony to the dynamism of different colors.

You may also start by using three to five different plants to create a container design. Strive for variety in the heights, forms and textures. Balance something tall and dramatic with billowing and trailing plants. Include selections with intriguing foliage, such as a Caladium ‘Carolyn Whorton’, Begonia rex ‘Red Tango’, any of the many Coleus we offer, or annual Grasses.

When grouping several plantings in an area, it helps to have a unifying theme among the containers. For example, Cretan terra-cotta pots in different shapes can foster a casually cohesive display. Or plant a variety of annuals, herbs, or edible plants in elegant, long tom pots. You can also use these classic foot-high containers to line both sides of a walkway, or to form a perimeter grouping on a patio. Hanging baskets can be used to plant a repeating design or varied combos.

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