7 Easy-to-Grow Annuals to Add to Your Garden - Backyard Boss
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7 Easy-to-Grow Annuals to Add to Your Garden

If you’re craving long-lasting, bright pops of color in your garden, consider adding some low-maintenance annuals to your flower pots or beds.

Unlike perennials, which regrow year after year, annuals live for only one growing season, so you’ll need to plant new seeds if you want to enjoy them again next year.

They are beloved by amateur gardeners for their ability to stay in bloom for weeks, sometimes months, on end. They also allow for experimentation: you can change your flower arrangements each year without having to rip anything out.

Annual flowers tend to be some of nature’s most vibrant. The following seven species are not only beautiful but also easy to take care of, making them excellent choices for busy or less experienced gardeners.

Pansy

Pansy flowers
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With their wide array of colors and patterns, these cheerful, sweet-smelling flowers are at home in virtually any garden or patio arrangement. Plant them in spring and enjoy them all summer long. If you live in a relatively mild climate, these frost-resistant blooms may last well into the fall.

Most pansies grow in a mound formation, but you can also find trailing breeds–perfect for a hanging basket or ground cover.

Marigold

Marigold flowers
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These annuals, which bloom in bright yellow, orange, or red, have charmed many generations of gardeners with their unfussy elegance. Simply plant them in spring in well draining soil after the final frost has passed, and they will reward you all summer long.

Marigolds come in several varieties, the tallest of which, the African marigold, can grow up to 40 inches. The French marigold grows just over a foot, producing smaller but more numerous flowers.

Sweet Alyssum

Sweet alyssum
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This annual is a popular edging and carpet plant, but it’s worth celebrating in its own right. Its small, fragrant flowers of white, pink, or purple provide texture and a delicate feel to any flower garden. Use it to offset other plants in a pot or hanging basket, letting it tumble over the sides, or to fill in gaps in your flower bed.

Sweet Alyssum thrives in sunny spots and is easy to grow and maintain in neutral, well draining soil.

Canna Lily

Canna lily
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If you love the look of a tropical garden but want to keep things low-maintenance, consider the canna lily.

This annual grows quickly and robustly in warmer climates, where it will produce elegant flowers through spring and summer. The sun-loving canna will stand strong through heat waves that fry other species as it does best in zones 7 through 10.

In cooler climates, cannas might be flowerless or not bloom at all. However, many gardeners choose to plant them simply for their large, veined leaves, which are eye-catching in their own right.

Nasturtium

The nasturtium is an especially low-maintenance plant. Although they have the ability to come back next year, this plant is labeled as an annual.

Its vivid flowers are prized by chefs for their peppery flavor, which makes for a sophisticated addition to salads. Aside from looking and tasting fantastic, the nasturtium is also an effective trap plant for vegetable garden pests.

With about 80 varieties available, including dwarf, climbing, and cascading types, you’re sure to find one that suits your garden. Just make sure to plant it in full sun and away from plants that require a lot of water and fertilizer. The nasturtium prefers well-drained, relatively nutrient-poor soil.

Poppy

Poppy flowers
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A classic easy-care annual, the poppy thrives in sunlit garden plots, adding height and vivid bursts of color. The tall, red poppy is iconic, but you can find these annuals in a variety of hues and heights. If you’re looking for abundant poppies, choose the fast-spreading California variety.

For large, showy flowers, the Oriental poppy is a favorite, though it may not fare as well in very high-heat locations. Poppies prefer well-drained soil that has not been enriched.

Sunflower

sunflowers
Image credits: David Wirzba via Unsplash

The sunflower is another classic summer annual that will brighten your garden without demanding too much care. They grow in a variety of soils, attract birds, and their cut flowers can stay fresh for over a week, making them a favorite among gardeners and florists across the country.

Tall sunflower varieties with large heads will need to be staked as they grow. Other popular types include the teddy bear, with its plush, especially long-lasting blooms, and the dwarf, which lends itself to small plots and containers.

Enjoy Annual Bliss

Gorgeous blooms don’t have to come at the expense of hard work. These annuals will let you focus on simply enjoying your garden without all the stress of intensive maintenance. If they do well, plant them again next year! If not, you’ll find no shortage of other beautiful, easy-care annuals to try out.

Have you planted any of these varieties in your garden? Let us know how their thriving in the comments down below!

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