Annual flowers can be a great source of color to accent your home’s landscape. While flowering trees and shrubs provide short periods of color, most flowers offering annual color begin blooming shortly after planting and continue to flower for the length of the growing season. Plants with annual color come in an abundance of colors, sizes and species adapted to either sun or shade. Annuals are perfect for flowerbeds, borders, pots and window-boxes, hanging baskets or as temporary ground covers and fillers.
Flowers promising color that lasts one season are non-woody plants that complete their life cycle in one season, ending with seed production. Some annual plants do re-seed themselves, such as marigolds, American daisies, cosmos plus others, and appear to have a perennial habit but they’re actually referred to as self-sowers.
Annual color can play an important role in a well-designed landscape. Compared to most perennial plants, annuals require more maintenance and water, so plant annual beds need to be near water sources and able to be maintained. Try to keep annuals in beds with other annuals or plants with similar water requirements. Planting annuals randomly throughout the landscape not only increases maintenance, but also lessens the plants’ aesthetic impact.
Although annual flowers and plants bring a variety of interesting textures and forms to the landscape, they are most notable for the color they provide. You will get the most effect in the landscape by planting in a simple mixture of color. Color themes using related colors, such as red, orange and yellow (warm colors) or green, blue and purple (cool colors) work well. Warm-colored flowers bring excitement into the landscape and tend to appear close to the viewer, making the space in which they are planted feel smaller. Cool-colored flowers, however, appear more distant, creating a greater sense of garden space. Cool colors also tend to relax and soothe viewers.
Using shades of one color (including white) is also a popular and attractive theme. Another pleasing effect comes from using complimentary colors, such as orange and blue or purple and yellow. These color combinations form high color contrasts and create a lot of interest in the landscape. Always be aware of surrounding or backdrop colors to achieve a coordinated overall design. The best way to set off annual flower colors and textures is to provide a simple backdrop of green vegetation.