May 7, 2007


Lovely annual Dianthus

I've heard many a client say that they thought annuals were " a waste of money " because they don't come back each year. I always tell them that annuals are worth every penny you pay for them. What other flower will give you blooms from May up until November in Zone 5 ? I rest my case.

Since I have thrifty Scottish blood I love to experiment with annuals that DO come back , sometimes as long as 3-4 years. Needless to say some of my clients are amazed and appreciative when they don't have to plant annuals for this long a stretch.

Here are some of my favorites that self-sow : Violas, Sweet William, Alyssum, Hollyhocks, Marigold, Dusty Miller, Cosmos, Alyssum, Cleome, Bells of Ireland, Nicotiana, or Flowering Tobacco, and Chinese Lanterns. Petunias are prolific self-sowers but can become a nuisance so I always confine them to containers.

Some of you may ask why not just plant the seeds ? You can do that but Mother Nature seems to be better at it and the seeds she sows have a lot more time to germinate and bloom.


  1. That's quite a list of self sowers. Don't forget snapdrogons, they self sow in my garden, along with the occasional impatien. I agree with you that they are best in containers, and with everything else in the garden, that's about the only place I have for them, anyway. Though, I do still plant some in my vegetable garden to add some interest and color.

  2. Thanks, Carol for the suggestion. I do love snapdragons for their fragrance and colors.

  3. That is a good list,Carolyn! In the Western 'burbs I had good luck with Mealy Blue Sage/Salvia farinacea both as an annual and as a reseeder. I'd buy some plants each spring for prominent areas, but watch for seedlings, moving them to spots which needed a little blue by midsummer.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose


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