What are Annual Flowers?

Ken Black

Annual flowers are those flowers which live only for a growing season and are usually killed off at the first frost of the fall or winter, if not sooner. While annuals do take a considerable amount of patience, they can make for a very visually appealing garden. Annual flowers are common even in climates where the flowers would not normally grow and are considered a safe species to plant in many cases, simply because their ability to take over native species is limited by their lifespans. Annual flowers are also known for their very vibrant colors.

Garden tools and flowers.
Garden tools and flowers.

One of the primary benefits of annual flowers, and annual plants in general, is the cheap cost and maintenance issues. Unlike perennials, which may need to be pruned and taken care of through the winter, this is not a requirement with annual flowers. The only requirement with annuals is to plant new seeds every year.

Petunias are popular annual flowers.
Petunias are popular annual flowers.

Annual flowers, like many perennial flowers, may be especially sensitive to cold weather. Therefore, in areas with shortened growing seasons, it is necessary to start the plants inside. This is known as container gardening. However, in this case the plants are later transplanted to another location. Container gardening can also apply to annuals that are raised in a patio garden. In this case, it is likely they will never leave the container in which they were planted.

While the standard practice is to replant annual flowers every year, there is a possibility that some will drop enough seeds that they will sprout next year. However, in areas where there is extremely cold weather, it may stunt the seeds from growing. Or, if there is a period of warm weather followed by a frost, it is likely that these annuals would be killed off. Those planning to have an annual garden every year should make sure not to rely on this method for their flower production.

As previously mentioned, annual flowers do not take a significant amount of maintenance, other than planting, watering and transplanting, if desired. However, they do require patience in that gardeners working with annuals will find themselves doing the same thing every year. While some may find this a challenge and appreciate the different nuances of the flower crops they get year after year, others may find it boring and tedious. For those who want to bypass some of these steps, annual flowers can often be purchased at various stages of development.

Seeds for annual flowers can cost less than $1 US Dollar (USD) per pack. Some variety packages include seeds from many different species, designed to come in colors that complement each other. Popular varieties of annual flowers include: morning glory, sweet pea, nasturtiums and zinnia.

Annual flowers live for just one growing season.
Annual flowers live for just one growing season.

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