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The Blog: Let's Talk Gardening
#10 - Geraniums
#9 - Petunias and Million Bells
#9 - Millions Bells
#8 - Coleus
#7 - Euphorbia (Diamond Frost and Diamond Snow)
#6 - Hibiscus
#5 - Impatiens (New Guinea and SunPatiens)
#5 - Impatiens, New Guinea
#5 - Impatiens, SunPatiens
#4 - Portulaca and Purslane
#3 - Scaveloa
#2 - Begonias (Green and Bronze Leaf)
#1 - Lantana

The Garden Guru's Top Ten Annuals for Hampton Roads

Whether you’re looking to fill a window box, add a little curb appeal to your front walk, or just fill in a few gaps in the landscape, annuals are just what your garden needs to get it from now to WOW! McDonald Garden Center’s Garden Guru, Mike Westphal, shares his top ten annuals for Hampton Roads.

WHAT ARE ANNUALS?

Annual plants live for one growing season and then die, while perennials regrow every spring.

#10 - GERANIUMS

With a distinctive bloom and ruffly, textured leaves, geraniums give big color all spring and summer long. There’s lots of choices when it comes to color and variety.

  • Loves the sun but can take some shade.
  • Heat tolerant.
  • Available in lots of colors - reds, pinks, whites, and corals.
  • Great in containers, hanging baskets, or in the landscape.
  • Heavy feeders, so continue to feed to support bloom production throughout the growing season (fertilize every three to four weeks in containers and four to five weeks in-ground).
  • Deadhead geraniums regularly to prevent seed production and extend the length of the flowering season by forcing more energy into flower production.

#9 - PETUNIAS AND MILLION BELLS

PETUNIAS

Petunias are easy to grow and come in an almost unlimited assortment of colors, shapes, and sizes. From compact to mounding habits, there’s a petunia to fit any garden situation.

  • Sun loving/full sun.
  • Prolific bloomer.
  • Heavy feeders, so continue to feed to support bloom production throughout the growing season (fertilize every three to four weeks in containers and four to five weeks in-ground).
  • Ideal in containers, hanging baskets, and in the landscape.
  • Don’t require a lot of deadheading in the landscape but will need to be pruned/deadheaded when planted in containers.

TIP: Petunias have a tendency to get leggy and bloom less heavily in late summer. Shear the plants back by one third to encourage new growth and then fertilize them to give them a second wind.

MILLION BELLS

Million bells are an easy to grow annual that produces one-inch blossom that resemble tiny petunias. A classic spiller plant, it has a trailing habit, and looks great in hanging baskets, bowls, or mixed containers.

  • Sun loving/full sun.
  • Prolific bloomer.
  • Comes in a rainbow of colors - solids and two-tones, stripes, patterns, and double blooms.
  • Compact oval-shaped leaves.
  • Ideal in containers, hanging baskets, and in the landscape.
  • Heavy feeders, so continue to feed to support bloom production throughout the growing season (fertilize every three to four weeks in containers and four to five weeks in-ground).
  • Like petunias, these don’t require a lot of deadheading in the landscape, but you can pinch back regularly to encourage a more compact growth habit in containers.

#8 - COLEUS

Coleus plants give color all-season long in full sun, shade, and everything in between.Their bold and beautiful foliage makes them the center of attention
no matter where they’re planted.

  • Sun or shade – depending on the variety.
  • Available in lots of beautiful foliage colors and color combinations (greens, reds, oranges, purples, etc.).
  • Great as a standalone in containers or paired with sweet potato vine, etc..
  • Feed regularly (about every two to three weeks for container-grown and every four to six week for in-ground plants).
  • Water regularly, keeping soil moist.
  • Keep plants looking tidy and maintain their size and shape by pinching or trimming stem tips.
  • To promote denser and more compact growth, pinch out flower spikes before they elongate.

#7 - EUPHORBIA (DIAMOND FROST AND DIAMOND SNOW)

Diamond frost

Diamond Frost produces delicate, gray-green foliage with petite, white blossoms. This plant is tough and is both heat and drought tolerant. Diamond Frost has unstoppable flower power, and blooms all summer long.

  • Full sun to part shade.
  • Drought tolerant.
  • Perfect in hanging baskets or as a filler in containers.

Diamond Snow

Diamond Snow has the same habit and easy-to-grow features as the original favorite, Diamond Frost, but it features double white flowers and a mounding habit.

  • Full to partial sun.
  • Great in hanging baskets, as a standalone in containers or as a filler in mixed containers, or as a border in the landscape.

#6 - HIBISCUS

Annual hibiscus is an easy to grow variety that features big, bold blooms that creates an instant tropical feel. Plant in the garden or pot up several plants to create vibrant focal points around a deck, patio, or pool.

  • Tropical and loves full sun.
  • Blooms all summer long.
  • Comes in white, pink, red, orange, yellow, and bi-color.
  • Use in garden beds and containers.
  • Heavy feeders, so continue to feed to support bloom production throughout the growing season (fertilize every three to four weeks in containers and four to five weeks in-ground).
  • Remove spent blooms.
  • Pruning helps maintain a nice shape and size and encourages a fuller plant.
  • Bring hibiscus in during the winter to keep them year-round.
  • Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.

#5 - IMPATIENS (NEW GUINEA AND SUNPATIENS)

Impatiens flowers have much to offer, including shade-tolerance, long-lasting blooms, and brightly colored blossoms that come in a variety of colors.

New Guinea

New Guinea impatiens provide long-blooming flower power for a part sun to shade areas in the garden.

  • Part sun to shade.
  • Low maintenance and high performing.
  • Blooms in pastels and vibrant colors including white, red, pink, violet, coral, purple, and yellow.
  • Use in containers, hanging baskets and in the landscape.
  • No deadheading required.

SunPatiens

SunPatiens flourish in full sun, high heat, and high humidity, making them perfect for Hampton Roads’ summers.

  • Grow in sun or shade (more tolerant of sun).
  • Low maintenance and high performing.
  • Blooms in pastels and vibrant colors including white, red, pink, violet, coral, purple, and yellow.
  • Use in containers, hanging baskets, and in the landscape.
  • No deadheading required.

Garden Impatiens

Typical garden variety impatien.

  • Shade-tolerance
  • Long-lasting blooms.
  • Available in a variety of colors.>
  • Use as a bedding plant, in containers, hanging baskets, and window boxes.

#4 - Portulaca & Purslane

Portulaca

Portula is a popular, drought-tolerant annual that loves the hot, dry days of summer. These plants are low-growing spreaders with thick succulent leaves and vibrant, cup-shaped flowers.

  • Sun loving.
  • Drought tolerant.
  • Dome-shaped habit with thick, succulent-like leaves.
  • Come in a variety of colors - pink, coral, red, yellow, and white.
  • Fertilize and shape to keep them looking their best.
  • Attracts pollinators.

Purslane

Purslane is a tough, vigorous, low-growing
annual flower that thrives in hot, dry conditions and adds tons of color with a minimum of care.

  • Loves full sun.
  • Flatter leaf than its cousin portulaca.
  • Thrives in hot, dry conditions (drought tolerant).
  • Blooms in lots of bright colors - yellow, orange, rose, red, and white.
  • Use in beds, borders, containers, and hanging baskets.
  • Fertilize and shape to keep them looking their best.

#3 - SCAVEOLA

Scaveloa is a easy care, heat loving plant with spoon-shaped leaves and fan-shaped flowers. Its thick stems ensure drought tolerance in full sun locations.

  • Loves full sun.
  • Drought tolerant.
  • Trailing habit.
  • Produces blue, pink, or white flowers.
  • Good in containers, window boxes, and hanging baskets.
  • Feed in containers every three to four weeks.
  • No deadheading required.
  • Attracts butterflies.

#2 - BEGONIAS (GREEN AND BRONZE LEAF)

Begonias are an easy to grow annual that does well in a variety of conditions and needs little to thrive. Begonias plants are grown for both their leaf forms and their blooms and are available in many different leaf colors, shapes, sizes, and colors.

Green Leaf Begonia

  • Designed for shade
  • Easy to grow.
  • Drought tolerant.
  • Gumdrop/round habit.
  • Use in the landscape, hanging baskets, or containers.
  • Available in pinks, whites, and reds.
  • No deadheading required.

Bronze Leaf

  • Full sun.
  • Easy grow and versatile.
  • Comes in white, pink, or red.
  • Use in the landscape, hanging baskets, or containers.
  • Feed in containers every three to four weeks.

OTHER BEGONIA VARIETIES:

Big Leaf (available in bronze and green leaf) • Dragon Wing • Angel Wing • Solenia

#1 - LANTANA

Lantana are a durable, easy-to-grow plant that thrives in drought and harsh sunlight conditions. Lantana boasts tons of brightly colored flowers all summer and into fall.

  • Needs full sun.
  • Easy to grow.
  • Tolerant of both drought and humid conditions.
  • Comes in purple, red, orange, white, pink, yellow, and bi-color.
  • Use in containers, hanging baskets, and in the landscape.
  • Some varieties have spreading habit while others have open habit or compact habit.
  • Deadheading is not required (prune longer branches if desired).
  • Can cut the plant back by one-third if lantana gets long and leggy in midsummer, or just shear the tips.
  • Attracts hummingbirds and butterflies.

To learn how to care for summer annuals click here.