All About Annuals: The Best Annuals For Sun and Shade
With the spring season approaching quickly, gardeners are starting to think about which flowers they want to incorporate into their landscape this year. Before you make any final decisions, it’s important to know what types of flowers to look for and how to properly care for them.
Everyone’s backyard space is different, which means growing conditions will vary. Continue reading this blog to learn everything you need to know about annuals for sun and shade.
What Are Annuals?
Whether you already know your way around a garden, or you’re just a beginner, there’s no doubt you’ve heard someone refer to their plants as either “annuals” or “perennials.” Knowing the difference between annuals and perennials is one of the keys to growing a successful garden.
Unlike planting perennial flowers, true annuals have a brief life cycle which consists of germinating, growing, flowering, and then dying in a single year. Simply put, these are the flowers you will plant anew each year or season, whereas perennials will often bloom year-over-year on their own.
There is a wide variety of annuals with different blooming seasons as well as various light requirements. This is a good thing for gardeners because as one of their annual flower’s life cycles ends, another begins.
Many gardeners find annuals valuable pieces of their garden because of their fast-growing habits and bright colors. However, to ensure your annuals blossom, it’s important to know how to plant and care for them properly. Doing this requires you to know the best annuals for shade and sun and areas in between.
Best Annuals For Shade
Having a shady garden doesn’t mean it has to lack colorful flowers and plants. Annuals for shade can make great additions to your landscape, especially if you need to fill in areas that don’t get much sunlight. In this section, we’ve provided our favorite shade flowering annuals for you to plant this year.
One of the best annuals for the shade that bloom all summer is begonias. These plants will not only bloom continuously until the first hard frost, but they require very little “deadheading” (removing the blooms once they die or dry up). Begonias come in a wide range of colors from pale pink to bright orange.
These types of impatiens are favorites for many gardeners because they are more disease resistant than others. Beacon Impatiens are shade-tolerant annuals that will grow upright, and present colorful flowers in bright oranges, pinks, reds, purples, and white. These particular impatiens will bloom larger flowers as well as attract butterflies and other pollinators.
If you’re looking for shade annuals for containers, planters, or hanging baskets, you should consider fuschias. These trailing plants come in many varieties of multi-colored blossoms. While fuschias enjoy the warm weather, they may struggle if temperatures rise above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Ensure they are being watered properly and stay in the shade on hot days.
Best Annuals For Partial Sun & Partial Shade
More often than not, your garden will have sections that receive partial sun or partial shade. Many annuals for shade and sun can be placed anywhere in your garden because they adapt well to a variety of light exposures. Below, we’ve listed the best annuals for partial sun and partial shade.
Known for being great partial shade annuals for containers, bacopas are trailing plants that bloom small flowers. Their flowers can come in varieties of white, pink, lavender, blue, red, and coral and usually blossom from June through October. When caring for bacopas, ensure they have partial shade from the afternoon sun and are watered thoroughly.
Reaching a height of about 2 feet, browallia flowers are usually shades of purple and blue with small white centers. These warm-weather annuals thrive when they grow away from direct sunlight and will bloom from spring until the end of summer. Browallias can also be grown in baskets and containers and will most likely attract hummingbirds to your garden.
Also known as the wishbone flower, torenias are one of the best annual flowers for partial sun and partial shade. This trailing plant will grow throughout the entire summer season, presenting tube-like flowers with purple, white, and pink petals. Torenias enjoy the sun but should spend some time in the shade, especially during the afternoon hours.
Best Annuals For Full Sun
Finally, we have the best annuals for full sun. These varieties will bloom throughout the summer season, thriving in the heat and sun. Humidity and dry soil don’t pose a problem as they’re used to extreme temperatures. If you’re looking for sun-living annuals, consider planting one or two of the following.
These fast-growing flowers thrive in the heat and require little to no care. Zinnias come in a wide array of colors and shades including pinks, reds, purples, oranges, yellows, greens, and white.
They will be at their best throughout the summer as well as the warm parts of spring and fall. While they don’t need to be “deadheaded,” zinnias will have a longer bloom if you cut them every so often.
Other popular flowering annuals for the full sun are cosmos. These flowers are easy to grow and beautiful to watch bloom. Cosmos can range from soft pastels to vibrant shades of pink, purple, red, yellow, and orange. They are sturdier than other annuals and make great cut flowers if you ever want to bring a few indoors.
Coming in a plethora of colors, patterns, and blooms, calibrachoa are wonderful additions to any garden. These flowers grow quickly and will flourish in containers, pots, or hanging baskets. Calibrachoa is also easy to care for since they don’t need to be “dead-headed” to continue growing through the summer season.
If you’re interested in adding intense tropical colors and textures to your landscape, you should consider planting sun coleus. These large, leafy plants will thrive in full-sun conditions and can be planted in containers or in your garden bed. Sun coleus come in a variety of colors from deep reds to bright greens.
We can’t talk about the best full-sun annuals without mentioning Mexican sunflowers. These flowers present daisy-like petals in bright colors of red, orange, and yellow. Great for large empty spaces in your garden, Mexican sunflowers grow to be tall and sturdy. If planted in spring, you’ll be able to enjoy them all summer long into the fall.
Popular for their vine-like appearance and small clusters of blooms, lantana plants can grow in baskets or act as ground cover for your landscape. Their flowers come in bright, almost fluorescent colors including yellow, red, pink, blue, and purple.
Easy to grow, and beautiful to look at, marigolds are one of the most popular full-sun annuals. Presenting brilliant shades of gold, red, and orange, these plants can thrive in almost any type of soil and love the sun.
These flowers are favorites of many gardeners because of their long flowering period and bright blooms. They can be planted after the last spring frost date and will be bursting with color by mid-summer. Petunias need a lot of sun and are fairly heat-tolerant, so they don’t need to be watered too often.
This popular tropical plant loves the heat and is drought-tolerant. Vinca plants present blooms in various colors including white, red, pink, and purple. They can be grown in hanging baskets, and containers, or used as ground cover.
Choosing annuals for your garden should be an enjoyable process. Take some time to plan your garden space and decide which colors and types are best suited for you. Remember, no matter which type you choose, any annuals for shade and sun will bring your garden to life.