There are many ways to customize a container garden, whether with small shrubs and vines or with perennials. However, using annual flowers can help fill in dead spots in a container garden or just add a bit of variety to the container plants year after year. Annual flowers can be changed out every season since they have but one growing season. Here are some choices that make for good annual selections for a container garden.
Verbena x hybrida, or garden verbena, is from the vervain family of plants. It is actually a perennial that most use as an annual. It is highly fragrant and grows up to 18 inches in height. Flowers are small and in clusters, with varying colors depending on cultivar. It should be planted in full sun and moved to partial shade in the summer. Soil needs to be well-drained and fertile. Garden verbena can be propagated by seed, cuttings or division.
Calendula officinalis, or calendula, is from the aster/daisy family of plants. A fast growing and easy to grow annual, it can grow up to 30 inches high and wide with bright green leaves and marigold-like flowers in yellow, cream, or orange. It should be grown in average soil with sun or partial shade. Propagate a calendula by seed.
Impatiens wallerana, or impatiens, is from the balsam family of plants. It attracts hummingbirds and is an easy to grow annual. It grows up to 2 feet high with flowers in many shades depending on cultivar. It should be planted in fertile moist soil with partial shade with more shade in the summer. Propagate an impatiens by cuttings or seed.
Portulaca grandiflora, or moss rose, is from the purslane family of plants. It is a drought tolerant annual that grows 6 inches high and twice as wide. Leaves are green and succulent with a rose-like flower in shades of pink, red, white, orange or yellow. It should be planted in poor sandy soils that are well-drained and in full sun conditions. It can be propagated by seed. As a temperamental perennial, it should be used as an annual.
Melampodium divaricatum, or butter daisy, is from the aster/daisy family of plants. It is a fast growing and easy to grow annual. Leaves are bright green and the flowers are yellow and look like daisies. It should be planted in well-drained average soils that are in good sunny spots. Depending on the cultivar, it can grow short and sturdy or tall and need to be staked for support. Propagate a butter daisy by its self-seeding.