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Plant Types : Annual Flowers


Annual flowers germinate, flower, set seed, and die in a single season. In their native habitat, their plentiful seeds ensure survival of the species until next time conditions are right for germination. As a result, true annuals tend to be small, quick-growing, colourful plants.

Some annuals are not damaged by frost. Called hardy annuals, they are sown outdoors where they are intended to flower. Frost-prone annuals from warm climates are termed half-hardy annuals. They can only be planted outdoors after the danger of frost has passed.

Many short-lived perennials that might live for several seasons, such as snapdragons, pelargoniums, bedding begonias, bedding busy lizzies and alyssum, are treated as annuals for garden purposes.


Annual flowers are used to give quick colour; some kinds will be in flower a few weeks after sowing. They are planted in flowerbeds on their own, or in small groups in front of shrubs and border perennial flowers to give spots of colour. They are most effective in new gardens, filling up gaps and providing colour until more permanent plants take over.

Annuals make very good plants for window boxes, hanging baskets, tubs, pots and other containers because they come into flower quickly and produce a great splash. Summer annuals give colour from July to November and winter and spring bedding can provide colour from November to May.

Annual bedding plants are best used in simple complementary colour schemes, not a haphazard mix of species and colours. Some foliage plants should always be used with them, especially in containers to tone down the bright colour and set it off properly.


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