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Top 5 Annuals in the Midwest

With its lovely purple flowers and fragrant scent, Lavender is an ideal addition to any garden.­
With its lovely purple flowers and fragrant scent, Lavender is an ideal addition to any garden.­

If you thought Colocasia was a confusing annual, you might be scratching your head even more on Lavender. Often a small bush or shrub, Lavender is usually a perennial. However, certain species of Lavender, such as French and Span­ish lavenders, are considered annuals [source: McCoy].

Lavenders are classified by their beautiful purple flowers and very fragrant blossoms. The annual species can grow 3 to 4 feet (.9 to 1.2 m) in height, but aren't always the hardiest plants -- one of the main reasons they are classified as annuals [source: McCoy]. Sun and moisture requirements can be particular for these plants. Their relative delicateness, though, is a tradeoff many Midwesterners are willing to make for the bountiful fragrance that can fill an entire yard -- and easily waft over to the neighbor's, as well. In addition, as much as humans love the fragrance, many pests do not. Pests from deer to ants find the fragrance too cloying and overpowering. Lavender serves as a natural, organic pest control, which makes growing it a bit easier.­

Some planters feel that because these are delicate flowers, it might be best to start from the shrubs and transplant them to your yard. Others, however, prefer to start them from seeds because it helps them adapt to the difficult Midwestern environment from germination [source: Sink].

Lavender does more than just look good as an ornamental among your landscaping. French Lavender has a rosemary scent and is a popular element in potpourri. Spanish Lavender, meanwhile, has elegant oblong flowers that serve particularly well for dried or pressed flower arrangements. Both species let you enjoy these annuals long beyond their short growing season in the Midwest.

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