Reliable Annuals in my Summer Garden

The majority of my zone 7 garden is perennials, bulbs, trees, and ornamental shrubs. But I must admit I do plant some annuals in my garden each year. Annuals are great for pots, hanging baskets and areas where you just want to add some instant color. In fact I planted some annuals in my new garden bed to add some seasonal color. I always plant annuals in my containers.

I plant Catharanthus (Madagascar Periwinkle) in large pots in my garden. Periwinkle is a herbaceous perennial but is actually treated as an annual in my area. It will readily reseed from year to year but I haven’t had any luck with the plant overwintering. Now here is an interesting fact, the sap from this plant is used to treat Leukemia. In some areas I guess this plant could be considered invasive, but I’ve never experienced that problem in my garden.
Angelonia is my new favorite annual for the summer garden. This little gem has been blooming it’s heart out for the past month. It seems to be low maintenance as far as deadheading and watering. The area where it is planted is quite dry and hot and it is thriving. This is actually a perennial plant for zones 9-11 It seems to be a reliable drought tolerant annual for the garden or even as a potted plant. This plant also comes in white or a two toned of white and blue.
I’m not crasy about ornamental grasses in the garden. Most of them tend to be quite invasive. But this Pennisetum “Purple Fountain Grass” is a good selection. In my zone 7 garden it is an annual so it will not overwinter. I don’t mind having to purchase it every year because it easy to find and inexpensive. It grows quickly and has beautiful purple fuzzy blooms. The seed heads fade to a pinkish color in the fall. It will keep on blooming until the first hard frost here and then it dies back and you just pull out the rootball. It looks great in pots or in the garden.
Petunia integrifolia “Purple Wave” series is a great annual for hanging baskets. It blooms almost non-stop through the season. The best part is you don’t have to deadhead it as meticulously as you do most petunias. I do give it a haircut in the middle of summer because it can get quite leggy come mid July. But it bounces back quick and blooms until frost.


12 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by OhioMom on July 3, 2008 at 11:02 am

    Love the periwinkle!


  2. Posted by Meadowview Thymes on July 3, 2008 at 7:23 pm

    I like to plant some annuals too! This year my favorites are profusion zinnias. I bought orange, red and white. The red pretty much turned orange though.
    I think they may return as volunteers, but my experience is that when they return, they are always pink! I also like to buy hanging baskets, but I don’t hang them, I set them in old chairs!


  3. Posted by Perennial Gardener on July 3, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    Thanks Mom. They are my favorites.


  4. Posted by Philip Bewley on July 3, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    I will try the petunias this weekend. Hopefully not too late in the year, but Yours looks wonderful!I will keep in mind the haircut!


  5. Posted by Perennial Gardener on July 3, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    The profusion series of zinnias are a great selection Linda. I love their blooms. They should reseed easily, most zinnias do. They must be reverting back to the original plant if they are coming up pink, maybe you have to grow them from a cutting. I’ve used an old chair as a planter too, it makes an interesting piece of garden art.


  6. Posted by Perennial Gardener on July 3, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    Thanks Phillip, I think you will enjoy their hot pink blooms! It shouldn’t be too late. They will bloom until the first hard frost in the fall. Have a nice weekend. Thanks for visiting.


  7. Posted by Susie on July 4, 2008 at 12:04 am

    I really like the purple fountain grass. We have a ton of it at work right now in 3 gallon pots and it is just gorgeous! It doesn’t come back for us in zone 8 either. I wish it did.


  8. Posted by Perennial Gardener on July 4, 2008 at 3:15 am

    It must be a very warm climate plant Susie. Maybe zone 9-11? It doesn’t bother me that it doesn’t ocme back because that just means that it doesn’t have time to take over the garden. Most grasses can be quite invasive.


  9. Posted by Lets Plant on July 4, 2008 at 5:36 pm

    Another set of great pictures!


  10. Posted by Perennial Gardener on July 4, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    Thank you Lets Plant.


  11. Posted by Sam on July 6, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    I too plant some annuals in my gardens each year. I discovered the “wave” petunias this year and am a fan now. They will definetely be found in my garden next year.



  12. Posted by Perennial Gardener on July 6, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    I think every gardener has to be open-minded to annuals. They do add alot of color and interest to a summer color for little expense. Purple Waves are a keeper in my books too Sam. Thanks for visiting.


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