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Tender Annual Flowers

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Annuals are plants that grow from seed, attain their mature growth, flower, and produce seed in one year or less; they then die having completed their life-cycle.

Annuals can be divided into those that are hardy, meaning they can withstand a light frost, those that are half-hardy, meaning they can withstand cool temperatures but not a frost, and tender, which can be grown only in warm ground and only after all danger of frost is well over.

Tender annuals are best started in a greenhouse or hotbed if started in early spring, or they can their seed can be planted directly in the garden at least three weeks after the last frost in spring when the soil has begun to warm.

As a general rule, tender annuals will grow best from late spring to early autumn.

Bloodflower, Asclepias curassavica f

Colorful tender annuals

A-J Common NameBotanical Name
African marigoldTagetes erecta
BloodflowerAsclepias curassavica
BrowalliaBrowallia spp.
ColeusColeus spp.
FlossflowerAgeratum spp.
French marigoldTagetes patula
GeraniumPelargonium spp.
HeliotropeHeliotropium spp.
ImpatiensImpatiens spp.
Joseph’s coatAmaranthus tricolor
Bright orange Nasturtiums climbing a fence
Bright orange Nasturtiums climbing a fence
L-Z Common NameBotanical Name
Love-lies-bleedingAmaranthus caudatus
Monkey flowerMimulus spp.
NasturtiumTropaeolum spp.
Painted tongueSalpiglossis sinuata
PerillaPerilla spp.
PeriwinkleVinca major ‘Variegata’
Polka-dot plantHypoestes phyllostachya
Wax begoniaBegonia semperflorens
Wishbone flowerTorenia spp.
ZinniaZinnia spp.

Also of interest:

Designing with Annual Flowers

Growing Annuals for Summer Bloom

Caring for Annual Flowers

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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