Container Garden Annuals

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Container garden annuals will be the showy members of your designs.  They provide the most color and impact from the moment they are planted.  Plant them alone, or tuck a few in with your shorter blooming perennials, or with your herb or vegetable containers.  Use them to underplant shrubs and trees in containers for a colorful display. Here are some of the best container garden annuals for use in your potted gardens. 

I have the annuals here listed by sun requirements. There are probably some of your favorites, but maybe some you haven't tried.

My favorite sun annuals are any of the daisies, snapdragons, verbena and lantana. I also like geraniums because they provide a lot of color. In shady areas, I like coleus, impatiens, lobelia and moneywort.

I also use a lot of ivy and sweet potato vines. Ivy comes in lots of variations in color and leaf size. Sweet potato vines can be found in colors from lime green to dark purple. They both are easy to grow and thrive just about anywhere.

When you purchase annuals for container gardens, their planting instructions indicate whether the plants need full sun, partial sun, or partial sun/shade to grow best.

Full sun is expected to be at least 6 hours of sun per day. Partial sun is a requirement of 3-6 hours per day. Partial sun / shade would be filtered or dappled sunlight throughout the day.

These container garden annuals need full sun

African daisy

Ageratum (floss flower)

Angelonia

Bacopa

Black-eyed Susan vine

Calibrachoa

Cuphea (cigar flower)

Dahlia

Elephants ear

Fan flower

Geraniums

Gloriosa daisy

Hibiscus

Kale / ornamental cabbage

Lantana

Licorice plant

Marguerite daisy

Marigolds

Nasturtiums

Pentas(starflower)

Petunias

Salvia

Snapdragons

Spurge

Sweet potato

Verbena

Zinnias

Annuals for sun / partial shade

Alternanthera (joseph's coat)

Asparagus fern

Cupflower

Dichondra

English ivy

Fuchsia

Lobelia

Nicotiana

Pansy

Plectranthus

These work well in shady areas

Begonia

Caladium

Coleus

Impatiens

Moneywort

Persian shield

Polka dot plant

Spotted nettle

Wishbone flower

Take your potted begonias and geraniums indoors to use as houseplants during the winter.

For more about shade gardening with containers. . . .

These are just a few of many annuals that you can try in your container gardens. For more recommendations, go to gardens.org.

You can refine your search by your growing region, type of plant "annual" and then continue to refine by the parameters that follow - color, water requirements, height, spread, etc.


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One of the most popular annuals for many gardeners is the petunia.

Learn more here.

Another favorite annual for lots of color is the geranium.

Learn more.