Like any change you make to your yard, planting your annual flower bed takes planning before digging up your soil. We still have a few months before it’s time to get back in your yard, but now is the perfect time to plan out exactly what you want to do. Calculate your cost and work out your design ahead of time to save headaches and surprises later.

Annual Basics

It’s important to know a little bit about annuals before getting started. You may know they only last one growing season, but do you know which annuals can withstand cooler temperatures and shade?

There are three types of annuals: hardy, half-hardy, and tender. Hardy annuals can withstand cooler temperatures and can even be planted in the early fall when the temperatures begin to drop. Half-hardy annuals can tolerate cooler temperatures but need to be covered at night if there’s a frost; this is your most common annual. Tender annuals can’t withstand any cool temperatures and must be planted in the late spring when there is no potential for a frost.

In addition to temperature, different annuals require different sun exposure. When planning out your plant beds, monitor the sun exposure each bed gets throughout the day. Are they receiving morning sun, morning shade, full sun, or partial shade? Be sure you’re selecting the right plants for your sun exposure.

Planning the Annual Beds

Now that you know the details you need to collect about your beds, you can strategically plan them. You can use a rope or a garden hose to outline the rough shape you want the bed to be and measure it. If you want to be precise, use a piece of graphing paper and draw your bed to scale on the sheet. Whether you graph your bed out on paper or not, you do need to write down the size and sun exposure of each plant bed. This will guide you once you are at the nursery.

Picking the Annual Plants

Before you head to the nursery, you’ll probably do a Google search of which annuals do best in your specific sun exposure. We’ll link some great in-depth resources below to help you out. The nursery might not have every plant you picked out, but you have the best chance of getting all the annuals you want if you get there in early spring. 

Whichever annuals you ultimately end up buying, make sure you’re buying them in groups of at least three. Annuals always look best when planted in clusters. If you buy too many different plants in small quantities, chances are that your garden will look overrun and messy.

Pick flowers and plants with colors that complement each other, and remember to grab a variety of textures and sizes.

Annuals are a great plant for an instant burst of color in your yard. They won’t grow back next season, so it gives you a chance to change things up the next go around. If you pick the right annuals for your yard conditions, there’s no reason you won’t have a gorgeous, colorful garden that brings a smile to your face.  

Resources

Full Sun Annuals

Partial Shade Annuals

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