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Annual plants

Annual plants

You are in the section of our site dedicated to annual plants. Annuals are plants that "are born, grow, flower, bear fruit and die" within a year. The period between germination (birth) and death is called the growing season. Most of the annual plants typical of temperate climates, germinate in early spring, bloom in summer, and die with the arrival of the first cold in autumn. Discover the characteristics and cultivation techniques of the main ones annual plants consulting our sheets below!

If you want to see a summary sheet with Name, Height, or Habit, Dominant Colors, Flowering Period, Soil, and Exposure of some annual plants chosen by our editorial staff, consult the annual sheet.

In this section you will find all the information to grow annual plants in your gardens. For annuals, ... continue


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continue ... , we consider all those species that have a life cycle of one year; after being sown, they grow rapidly and reach sexual maturity, they bloom and bear fruit in the same season and, once their annual cycle is complete, they die.

If you think about it, our garden is full of annual plants: the dandelion that grows in the lawn, the chicory or the cornflower, so common in the ditches of the countryside, the dreaded ambrosia, to which we are now almost all allergic, and finally all the species grown in our garden (or at least almost all, artichokes for example not). Surely the attentive gardener includes a large number of annual plants in his flowering projects, because their blooms are among the most beautiful in the whole plant kingdom. The downside is the greater effort and cost involved in their use: a bed of annuals must be continuously renewed from season to season, and sometimes we find ourselves having to replace the species we planted in spring with those that have a autumn / winter flowering.

Annuals are also great for decorating pots. Fast and lush growth allows for rich blooms within a few weeks. Surfinia and plectrantus decorate balconies and walls with waterfalls over a meter long, bringing green and color where until recently there was nothing. Summer annuals are considered summer annuals all the annual species that bloom in spring-summer; usually these plants are removed in autumn to make room for the winter annuals, this alternation allows us to always have some color in our garden.

You can sow these plants yourself, in seedbeds or in the open ground according to their needs; the protected crop allows you to choose the right time for transplanting, when winter is far away and there is no risk of sudden drops in temperatures. Usually April 25 is the date taken as a reference for a safe transplant even in the areas of Northern Italy.

It is important to choose the right exposure: begonias, bidens, verbena, petunia, delphinium and sunflower are examples of annuals that prefer sunny areas; lobelia, coleo, dicentra, impatiens, new guinea are sciaphilous plants and will bloom in shady and cool areas.

Winter annuals bloom in autumn-winter, they do not have a particularly energetic growth, but they have the advantage of withstanding low winter temperatures. This subset of annual plants does not include many specimens. Violet, cyclamen, some varieties of ornamental cabbage and heather and other species that we consider winter annuals, such as hellebore, even if in reality they are perennial herbaceous plants that have the advantage of being luxuriant in winter.

Designing a flower bed that gives color to winter is not an easy task and an experienced gardener also makes use of perennial species such as carnea heather, nandina fire power, penis and others.

The countryside meadows and woods are enriched by the colors of spontaneous herbaceous species that we can classify as annual plants: dandelion, thistle, poppy, chicory, nettle, soapwort and many others. Some of them have bulbs that resist from year to year, but most do not survive the winter and recur in the same areas due to the spontaneous dissemination of the seeds.

Their uses in the garden are mainly two:

- to enrich rustic lawns, scatter the seeds of these plants in early spring, when temperatures are ideal for germination. To fully enjoy the blooms, the lawn must always be kept at a minimum height of 30 cm, to leave the right space for the stems to develop. This type of lawn is suitable for non-walkable areas, perhaps located on banks and slopes, difficult to reach by lawnmowers.

- In aromatic herb beds. Many of these species are edible and have healing properties: dandelion and chicory are eaten in salads, thistle and chamomile are natural remedies for stomach ailments and stress. Cultivating flowerbeds with spontaneous species near vegetable gardens and herbs constitutes a reserve of useful herbs and gives splendid summer blooms.

the main characteristics of annuals are rapid growth and copious flowering. These plants will therefore need abundant nutrients and water, because the transition from seed to maximum development occurs in a very short time. To form leaves, stems and flowers, starches are required which require the assimilation of mineral salts and photosynthetic processes.

Fertilization with rapidly assimilating products is necessary, i.e. products that contain nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and other elements in a form that can be readily assimilated by plants. Usually the fertilizers that satisfy these characteristics are liquid ones. Fertilizers such as ox blood and grape juice contain a high concentration of fast-acting nitrogen. There are also preparations with amino acids and biostimulants that perfectly integrate nutritional deficiencies. The general advice is to irrigate 2 times a month with liquid fertilizer as an alternative to water and to use cultivation soils enriched with organic substances that release salts slowly; in this way you will have a very effective combined action.

Do not exceed the dosages of liquid fertilizers in order not to "burn" the plant, or create an excess of salinity in the circulating solution, a danger that occurs especially inside the pots.

In summer, do not irrigate during the hottest hours of the day and if possible do not use saucers in the sunniest aspects, as the water overheats the roots and risks cooking.

Consult the individual plant sheets to learn about the particular water and nutrient needs of each species.

Watch the video


Video: What is a Hardy Annual? When to Plant Cool Season Annual Flowers for an Early Harvest! (October 2021).