What types of annual plants thrive well in the Northeast?

These five annual plants can brighten your garden in the northeastern parts of the U.S. They are grown, known and loved in many parts of the country and the world, but are particularly suited to the mild climate of the Northeast. They can all be bought as seedlings at your local nursery, and are best planted in well-drained soil just after spring's final frost. However, you may choose to grow them from seed, starting six to ten weeks prior to the estimated final frost.

  • Pansies: These larger relations of the violet are available in a wide variety of colors. The blossoms can reach four inches (about 10 centimeters) in size, and may be all of a single color, have black lines radiating from the center or have a dark center surrounded by color. Pansies prefer morning sun.
  • Geraniums: There are some 10,000 cultivars of this hardy plant available. Gardeners have their choice of almost any color of flower and have a wide range of other characteristics to select from, including scented or color-edged leaves and climbing ivy types rather than standard ones. Geranium plants need plenty of direct sunlight.
  • Snapdragons: Once believed to protect their owners from witchcraft, snapdragons can grow up to eight stalks of colorful blooms in a single summer. You should remove dead flowers to promote new growth. Snapdragons are available in a variety of heights, from dwarfs (up to 10 inches/25 centimeters), to standard-sized plants (up to 36 inches/90 cm), to giants (five feet/1.5 meters), which need to be staked.
  • Impatiens: Named for their exploding seed-pods -- impatient to get out and grow -- impatiens are popular all over the world. They prefer light shade and plenty of room to spread out. There are many colors of impatiens, including varieties with bi-colored flowers.
  • Marigolds: Both French and African marigolds will add warm color to any garden. They grow easily from seed, even when sown straight into the garden. //]]]]> ]]>