August 10, 2009

The Annual Report

Pink 'Profusion ' Zinnia, Yellow 'Profusion' Zinnia, Dianthus, Orange 'Profusion' Zinnia, Moss Rose, Proven Winners petunias, Coleus

I hear it constantly from customers at the garden center that they want to avoid buying annuals because they think it's a waste of money. I personally think that annuals are worth every penny because of their long bloom season , plus, many of them give the added bonus of being self-sowing and return for many years.
This is my first time to try the 'Profusion ' zinnias but I had heard and read rave reviews about them and I can say that they have been real performers. Unlike other zinnias, they are self-cleaning and mildew resistant. They are also an AAS winner which says a lot about them. I like the fact that they are heat and drought tolerant and bloom abundantly over a long season. Zinnias are also butterfly magnets.

I always buy Dianthus because it is sold as an annual but is actually a tender perennial that will come back for several years.

This is my first time to try the moss rose and I've found that the bees really love it. Don't know if it self seeds or not but if it does that would be a plus.

I also gravitate toward coleus because of its very attractive colorful leaves and also the fact that it can be brought in and grown indoors . Coleus looks good in containers as well as in flower beds.

Last, but not least, I planted purple sweet alysum between my stepping stones and I know for sure that it will self-sow for next year.


  1. I planted a fair bit of coleus in my containers this year and am so pleased with it! I'll be bringing some inside at summer's end, too. There are so many rich coleus colours now -- I'm wishing I'd planted some of the browns and rusts for a splash of colour in the fall. Your collage photos are lovely. :)

  2. Will the white Alysum also self-sow? I never realized it would... Great post, xoxo~Kathy~ @ Sweet Up-North Mornings...

  3. I do like those profusion zinnias, they do well for me in Utah, too. I'm hoping they develop a few more colors, though

  4. I've had success with dianthus coming back - but only in an area that's pretty protected in the winter (by the not-so-dwarf korean lilac). And I just found a petunia between my cobblestone. I had no idea they re-seeded?? In Chicago??

  5. Carolyn,

    Can you elaborate on them being self-cleaning?


  6. Thanks, Nancy. Coleus has so many colorful varities to choose from and another thing I like about them is that their colors are effective even in the Fall.

  7. Yes, Kathy, the white self-sows very well. Thanks for stopping by.

  8. Hi Muum,

    Like red and blue ? That would be cool but I think difficult to do. Thanks for visiting.

  9. Goodness gracious, Rosemarie, you just reminded me - petunias are one of the most prolific seeders around. I know a gardener that hasn't planted any in 20 years so successful was she in their return.

    Yes, the not-so-dwarf Korean lilac can reach 6 to 8 feet instead of the 4-5 range stated. I shear mine after it blooms to keep it lower.Considering the fact that regular lilacs can reach 15 feet it is still dwarf in comparison.

  10. Yes, MBT. Instead of having to pop their heads off the self-cleaning flower blooms shatter and drop and a new bloom emerges.

    Of course this process takes longer than deadheading them but for those short of time its very convenient.

  11. I'm a sucker for annuals and buy many of them every spring. They're great for containers and usually provide long-lasting color throughout the season, unlike many perennials that may bloom for such a short time. And when you're starting a new flowerbed, it's a great way to get more blooms for your money until you afford all the perennials you want.

    You've made some great choices, Carolyn Gail; the Profusion zinnias are one of my favorites. This year I found an apricot variety I really like, too. I have some annual dianthus that have been coming back in the same pot (kept outdoors) for three years now!

  12. I hear the same thing at the nursery Carolyn! I hear it most often from inexperienced gardeners who think they can plant perennials and have instant, season-long color year after year and that it will be more economical than replanting annuals each year. They often don't realize the short bloom season of most perennials or the knowledge and skill it takes to combine them for bloom succession, or the self-seeding properties of many annuals.

    With a shade garden, if not for the annuals there'd be periods of very little color here save for some of the purple, and variegated foliage. I'm not always crazy about the ubiquitous impatiens and begonias I have but I'm happy for the color they add, especially around the patio.

    I wouldn't be without coleus, iresine, and purple oxalis for foliage color in containers. They all thrive inside in the winter and are easy to propagate. I'd love it if they'd come up with a zinnia that would bloom in the shade!


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