Tips for Growing Annuals and Biennials

Annuals are flowers that bloom the first year they are planted, often flowering just a couple of months after sowing. The following tips will help you to get to know these flowers a bit better.
  • Most annuals are started indoors or in greenhouses in late winter or early spring. But when spring frosts are over, plants such as zinnias, nasturtiums, and cosmos can be sown directly in the garden for a summer full of flowers.

pots of flowers
Annuals bloom the first year they are planted.
See more pictures of annuals.

  • In colder climates, tender perennials such as alstroemeria, wax begonia, and some species of impatiens will behave like annuals and must be cultivated as such. These same plants, however, will grow as perennials in their native hot climates.
  • Biennials like cup and saucer, some foxgloves, and some hollyhocks produce greenery the first year only. During the second year of growth, they flower and set seed destined to become the next generation. If you allow plants to self-sow for at least two years, you will have a steady supply of blooming plants.
In the next section, we'll give you some great tips for choosing the right annuals and biennials for your garden.

Annuals with Everlasting Flowers
Grow annuals with everlasting flowers to dry for winter arrangements. If seedlings of everlasting annuals are not available at your local garden center, consider starting your own seedlings indoors. Some everlasting annuals:

  • Cockscomb: plume or comb-shaped flowers in bright red, orange, or yellow
  • Annual baby's breath: cloudlike drifts of small white flowers
  • Bells of Ireland: spikes of green trumpet-shaped flowers
  • Globe amaranth: ball-shaped flowers of white, pink, purple, and orange
  • Love-in-a-mist: maroon-striped seed pods
  • Statice: bright sprays of pink, purple, yellow, white, and blue flowers
  • Strawflowers: double daisylike flowers with straw-textured petals in red, pink, white, gold, and bronze

Want more gardening tips? Try:

  • Gardening Tips: Learn great helpful hints for all of your gardening needs.
  • Annuals: Plant these beauties in your garden.
  • Perennials: Choose great plants that will return year after year.
  • Gardening: Discover how to garden.