12 Best Annuals for Your Sunny Yard

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Look for these no-hassle annuals at your favorite garden center.

Full sun means at least 6 hours of direct sunlight.

Full sun means at least 6 hours of direct sunlight.

Annuals are easy to grow and guarantee you color all summer long.  Just pop them in the ground and watch them grow fast and bloom to their heart’s content all season long.   For our busy lifestyles, annuals are the perfect choice for adding bursts of color wherever you need it with very little pampering from you.

Annuals’ Characteristics

For the record, annuals are plants that flower or produce foliage for one season.  They won’t come back next year.  Most prefer full sun and thrive in heat and humidity and many bloom nonstop into fall.  However, there are shade annuals that are quite colorful also. They lend themselves to planting in beds and containers.

Full Sun Tip

In gardening, the term “full sun” refers to locations where plants receive at least 6 hours of direct sunlight every day.  Annuals that love the sun won’t thrive without lots of sun.

Annuals – When to Plant and How They Thrive

There’s probably some wiggle room about the exact date to plant because so much depends on the overnight temperature conditions.  But the rule of thumb is to wait until Mother’s Day so you need not worry about Mother Nature surprising you.  All like a feeding of balanced fertilizer when planted and a few times during the blooming season.  And most require regular watering although some can tolerate drought.

Our Favorite No-Hassle Annuals for Summer Color

Angelonia - you'll love this annual.

Angelonia – you’ll love this annual.

Angelonia –  It looks delicate but it can tolerate blistering heat and require less watering once established.  Requires 6 to 8 hours of direct sun for maximum flowering. It grows tall, no staking necessary, no deadheading and fills in fast, Available in blue, white, rose and purple. Great annual and deer and rabbits don’t care for it.

Wave Petunia - so many new breeds available.

Wave Petunia – so many new breeds available.

Wave Petunia – You can’t beat them for performance, whether in containers, beds or large hanging baskets.  In the old days, petunias were gangly but the new breed of petunias are bred to have more blooms on denser plants. Blooms like crazy all season without being cut back.

Marigolds –  There are two types – lower and larger growing.  They can take harsh summer conditions once established.

Salvia – Easy care, long-lasting flowers that tolerate hot and dry conditions.  Most varieties attract pollinators like bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.  Salvia plant types may be annual or perennial, most are rapid growers and come in many shades such as blues, purples, pinks, reds as well as some whites. Be aware of the characteristics of the variety you choose.

Zinnia – Tough flower for sun with little or no deadheading.

Coleus - new breed of coleus which likes sun and wonderful foliage colors.

Coleus – new breed of coleus which likes sun and wonderful foliage colors.

Coleus – There’s a new breed of coleus which likes the sun.  A wide range of eye-catching foliage colors mix well with many flowers. They are tough and durable, and work extremely well in borders as well as containers.  The removal of any flower spikes will greatly improve the performance and longevity of the plant and they will last thru the first frost.

Vinca – Colorful small blooms in a wide range of colors, including reds, pinks, lavenders, whites, and even coral.  They are heat and drought tolerant.

Lantana – Wonderful tropical-colored flowers in shades of pink, orange, yellow and white.  Use in hanging baskets, pots or beds to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. They can tolerate heat and humidity.

Dragon Wing Red Begonias grow in sun to part shade.
Dragon Wing Red Begonias grow in sun to part shade.

Begonia –  Although typically begonias are shade plants, several varieties grow well in full sun.  Wax begonias and Dragon Wing Red begonias grow in sun to part shade, but prefer some afternoon shade.   The bronze-leaved wax begonias are the begonia varieties most likely to thrive in hot sunlight without afternoon shade.   Low maintenance and rabbits won’t nibble on them.

Calibrachoa – Sometimes referred to as Million Bells.  They are vivid petunia-like blooms in a range of colors and bloom non-stop all season.

SunPatiens –   They look very much like New Guinea Impatiens, but unlike these shade-loving plants, SunPatiens thrive in the sun.  There are different varieties and are available in a wide range of colors and size options.

Persian Shield –  This plant makes a fantastic addition to your garden or container.  Known for its rich purple leaves, Persian Shield is a must-have if you want drama in your beds.  It grows best full sun or part shade and well-drained soil.  It’s not particularly drought tolerant, so don’t forget to water.  The color comes from the leaves, not the flowers so you don’t have to worry about it going in and out of bloom.

Every landscape design needs color and dimension.  Dimension is accomplished with a combination of plants, shrubs and trees and seasonal color makes that landscape pop.  Have fun planning your sunny garden.

Have fun planning your sunny garden.

Whitehouse Landscaping has been providing superior landscape and hardscape design and installation services in Montgomery and Chester counties for over 20 years. 

Take a look at our gallery of landscaping, patio, walkways, fire pits and water feature installations. You’ll see that we are passionate about what we do.  We are committed to working with clients every step of the way in achieving the full potential of their properties.  Reach out to us to discuss your ideas and vision for your property and let our experience and design capabilities help you install your dream backyard.