What are annuals?
As the name suggests, plants called "annuals" flower only once in a year. It's the name given to more delicate, blowsy plants, which don't survive Britain's cold winters and frost snaps. Plant them in your garden at the beginning of summer, when you know the warm weather is here to stay, and they'll fill the space with bright colours and fragrant flowers all season long.
5 of the best flowering annuals
1. Mandevilla: a climber with white, pink and red flowers that carries on flowering right into autumn.
2. Petunia: an ideal plant for pots and containers. Brighten up hanging baskets with a trailing variety.
3. Geranium: create a celebration on your patio or balcony, with several colours mixed together.
4. Cosmos: looks good both in the garden and in a vase on your kitchen table.
5. Busy Lizzy flowers all through the summer in lovely bright colours. It doesn’t even need full sun.
Tips for looking after annuals
Regularly remove old flowers. It prevents the plant from putting its energy into making seeds, and will make new buds instead. Use blown garden flowers for a quick indoor display. Then, once a plant looks fully exhausted, prune it right back. A second, late-season flowering will often follow. Summer-flowering annuals bloom best if the plant is fertilised from time to time. Do this by mixing liquid plant food with the water in your watering can, or buy special food pellets to place in the soil beside your plant.
If you’re looking to boost your flowery annuals with some perennial blooms, take your pick of this excellent list of plants and shrubs.
5 of the best flowering perennials
1. Verbena: a fantastic plant, beloved by butterflies.
2. Hydrangea flowers well into the autumn. Dry the flower heads to enjoy them in wintertime as well.
3. Wallflower: blooms until well into the summer, and looks stylish in winter with its grey-green foliage.
4. Gaura: flowers all summer long, with petals that look like butterflies dancing around the pot.
5. Repeat-flowering roses: leave this laid-back plant alone and it will keep flowering on into autumn.