Annuals are plants that live for just one year. They complete their life cycle, including flowering, setting seed and dying off, within that time. Typically, summer annuals germinate in spring, provide flowers throughout spring and summer, set seed in autumn, and then die in winter. Winter annuals are sown in late summer and planted in autumn.
In our gardens, annuals are planted for the beauty of their flowers, or as companion plants in the vege garden. Annuals need to be replaced every spring or autumn, so do take some planning and work. In return, you are rewarded with seasonal displays of colour.
What to grow
There are many annual plant choices available in Auckland. Because they flower for a long time with minimum fuss, we love growing bedding begonias (Dragon Wing Red), Salvia farinacea ‘Victoria’ and Iceland poppies (Papaver nudicaule).
Visit our 'Plants for Auckland' database for the easiest annuals to grow in Auckland.
How to plant
Most annuals prefer a sunny position with well-drained soil. Incorporate some general fertiliser into the soil. In heavy soils, add compost before planting. A few species will tolerate some shade, such as impatiens, tuberous begonias and cinerarias. Plant at the same depth as they were planted in their container and water well. Water deeply on a regular basis in dry periods.
How to grow
Annuals are so short-lived they don’t need much maintenance, other than watering and planting in good soil. However, some annuals do require regular removal of spent flowers to ensure prolonged flowering, such as polyanthus, some salvias, zinnias and dahlias.
Top image: Iceland poppies (Papaver nudicaule)