Growing Annuals

Annuals are one of the most popular plants and many gardeners' plant annual varieties for their color and beauty. Annuals are required to be planted every year and here are some tips on growing annuals to get a vibrant garden.
| Monday, January 19, 2009
Annuals are plants that move through the entire life cycle of growing, producing flowers, setting seeds and dying all in just one season. Annuals can also be practically defined as plants that need to be replaced every year. For a new gardener growing annuals can be a wonderful way to learning the tricks of gardening by planting and maintaining the produce.

Growing annuals at home can be easily done with the following pointers:

Planting and Spacing

Annuals growing guide indicates that the transplants should be planted closely to each other so that they fill in quickly. Most annuals are raised from the seeds. They can either be direct seeded in beds that are prepared or they can be started indoors so as to be transplanted outside later on. Annuals can also be obtained as transplants that can be readily planted. They should be planted around 8 to 12 inches apart from each other. You can easily use a ruler within the garden and measure the spacing with a trowel. In case you find the roots to be pot bound you can tease them apart to ensure that they maintain contact with the soil. Avoid planting annuals in areas where water stands following heavy rains. Bed preparation is important and this can be done by using the spade to a depth of 6 to 10 inches in the bed.

Watering is extremely important in learning how to grow annuals. Annuals need to be watered deeply  two to three times every week once they are planted. If the soil is moist then it will encourage proper growth. Pinch off the buds or flowers at the time of planting and watering so as to promote growth of a stronger plant and better branching.

Feeding the Plants
For growth of plants it is important that you feed them once every week with an all purpose fertilizer. A good 20-20-20 fertilizer can be used by mixing it with water. You can also use organic or traditional fertilizers. A good organic fertilizer that can be used is fish emulsion which can be mixed with some kelp based fertilizer. The annuals will grow well if you can mix compost or manure with the soil before you plant.

Sun or Shade
Depending on the plant tag you can get a fair idea of whether the plan needs shade or sun. If the plant tag indicates that the plant needs sun it means that the plant can take sunshine throughout the day but the plants will also do very well if the sunshine is between four to six hours particularly in the afternoon. For plants that need shade it is important to remember that some amount of sun is needed though not strong sun that burns through the afternoon. For these plants morning sun is beneficial.

Growth Rate
Annuals sprout from the seed and then flower. They then set the seed and die in one season. Some flowers such as impatiens, begonias and geraniums are grown as annuals. Biennials are those that complete their entire life cycle within two growing seasons. In the region of South Carolina many of these are planted as seed during the summer or fall and they bloom in the next spring or summer.

Annuals include hardy, tender or half hardy varieties. Hardy annuals include pansies and other varieties such as ornamental kale. These are often grown in cool or cold seasons for their color. They are also often planted in the fall season and most die at the onset of the heat in the summer. Half hardy annual include dianthus and allysum and these can tolerate light frosh. They are usually planted during the early spring and decline in the summer heat. Tender annuals include such plants as zinnia, impatiens and vinca and these do not tolerate freezing temperatures.
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