Annual plants are "here-today, gone-tomorrow" party girls. They may have just one season in the sun, but what a season: they flower for an incredibly long time and are invariably so spectacularly beautiful you'll lose your heart to them.
We stock two kinds of annuals in our garden centre in Emersons Green: hardy annuals to sow direct from March onwards, and half-hardy annuals to sow under cover as they don't like frost. Here are just some you'll find in our garden centre.
Hardy annuals, also known as cool flowers, are one of the hardest-working, most productive plants in the late spring/early summer garden. These annuals can withstand cold temperatures, thrive with little care and produce vigorous flowers for an extended time. You can sow hardy annuals in autumn (September - October) as they will over-winter and burst into growth as soon as the temperatures warm up in spring. Alternatively, you can wait until springtime, and sow hardy annuals from March onwards. Nearly all hardy annuals prefer sun and well-drained soil.
- Ammi majus: lacy white flowers over feathery foliage
- Poached egg plant (Limnanthes douglasii): cheery yellow-and-white flowers
- Love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena): starry blue or white flowers followed by architectural seedpods
- Ladybird poppies (Papaver communtatum 'Ladybird'): scarlet papery petals each with a black blotch
- Nasturtiums: abundant red, orange or creamy flowers over rounded leaves
Half-hardy annuals quickly produce lots of flowers and provide a burst of colour in summer borders and containers. Half-hardy annuals won't survive the winter, so, unless you have a greenhouse, they must be planted in mid-spring, and neem some protection. Plant them out after the chance of frost has passed and you will be delighted with a splash of colour this summer.
- Cosmos 'Purity': clear white daisies with yellow centres on long stems
- Zinnias: pompom flowers in brilliant scarlets, yellows and purples
- Swan river daisy: profuse mauve daisies tumbling over pots and baskets
- Nemesia: another perfect container plant with pretty, delicate blooms
- Tobacco plant (Nicotiana): charming open flowers in pink, cream and green over big leafy rosettes
How to sow annuals
- Whether it's a hardy or a half-hardy annual, they prefer a sunny and sheltered place in well-drained, fertile soil.
- Rake the surface to create a fine texture.
- Follow the sow guidance on the seed packets.
- Water the seedlings regularly, to keep them moistured.
When to plant annuals
Besides annual seeds, we also stock plenty of pot-grown annuals. We have early-flowering annuals, like pansies, dianthus, petunias, hellebores, snapdragons and calendulas. If you want to extend your flowering season, combine early bloomers with late-bloomers, like crocosmia, Japanese anemone, phlox and hydrangea. These plants can be planted into the soil directly after buying them from our garden centre.
Buy annuals at Elmwood
Our garden centre is your place to go for annuals, perennials, bulbs, seeds and other garden plants. We are specialized in garden plants and have a fantastic range to fill borders, beddings, containers, flower pots and so on. Please ask the staff in our Emersons Green garden centre for more information and advice about choosing and growing annuals. Our friendly staff is happy to help you. Check our opening hours on the contact page, and we look forward to seeing you soon.