success with annual bedding plants in THE northwest
Annual bedding plants can be planted in fall, spring or summer. Their life cycle must be completed inside of a year and though no annual lasts all year, our winter and spring pansies come close.
SHADE ANNUALS perform best when receiving morning sun and afternoon shade, dappled sun/shade, or some bright light without direct sun. SUN-LOVING ANNUALS perform best when receiving 6 hours or more of sun.
There are a large number of annuals which, when planted together in mixed beds or baskets, grow well in a sun/shade environment. Plant signs stating "sun/shade annuals" refers to plants that grow and bloom well in a variety of conditions.
When ready to plant, work soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. Whether planting in patio containers, hanging baskets or garden beds, annuals enjoy a loose textured, moisture retentive soil that drains well. Amend flower beds with compost if necessary. Thoroughly mix in an All-Purpose organic fertilize and begin planting according to specific plant instructions on individual tags or signs. Be sure to gently loosen the roots.
For best results, water with a B-1 solution for the first 3 or 4 waterings. Bedding annuals have hearty appetites and should be fed at least once a month with a water soluble fertilizer. If you choose a dry granular fertilizer, follow package directions.
Thorough, infrequent watering is preferred over frequent, light watering. This encourages plants to develop a deep root system. The frequency of watering can depend upon weather, soil and the types of annuals. Generally, it is best to water early in the day to allow any moisture on the foliage to dry off. This helps to prevent or minimize disease issues.
Deadheading is quick, easy, and helps promote season-long blooms. Some annuals such as Marigolds, Geraniums, Cosmos, Snapdragons and other annuals benefit from removing old flowers. This can be done by removing faded blossoms with pruners. Deadheading helps the plants look their best, prevent re-seeding and increase flower production. Some annuals such as Begonia, Calibrachoa and Impatiens blossoms fall off by themselves and don’t require deadheading.