Selecting Annuals

Petunia ‘Pink Sky’ is a new sister to ‘Night Sky’, with the same speckled flower pattern.

Selecting annuals is my favorite job of spring.  Choosing the flowers that will decorate my containers and beds for the summer is great fun.   Luckily, we grow a lot of containers, so I get a chance to grow many annuals every year.   I make my picks based on past performance, but also as a way to check out new material.  Early in the season, my favorite new annual is Petunia ‘Pink Sky’.  I suggest these for purchase after Mother’s Day since they were shipped out late and are not as fully established at May 1st as we might wish.  

The ‘Solar Tower’ series of sweet potatoes are climbers…note the skyward growth habit.

Another exciting new plant is ‘Solar Tower’ sweet potato.   This is essentially the gold form of sweet potato vine useful in full or partial sun, but instead of a trailing habit, it has a climbing habit.   That will make it great for a trellis, and we can blend it with Thunbergia (another annual vine) to add blooms with the stunning foliage of the sweet potato.    The most traditional sweet potatoes, ‘Margarita’ and ‘Blackie’ are customer favorites year after year and always make it into some of my containers as well.  Just as there is a black form of the traditional vine, there is also a black form of the climber.

This pink coleus is aptly termed ‘Pink Chaos’. Coleus provide bright color in shade.

There are annuals that love the shade as well.  Coleus such as ‘Pink Chaos’ and ‘Electric Lime’ will brighten any pot.  ‘Sedona’ takes the red rock and adobe tones to perfection.  And Kong coleus are simply magnificent in size and color.  Then add bloom with begonias, impatiens and fuchsia, and you are really cooking.  There is no reason a shady area has to be dull.

Lantana is another super performer for containers.   We have made a point of growing some 2 year plants for you so you can get a much larger display.  That way we are not alone in growing this plant to its potential.  Try it, you’ll love it, with 6 hours or more of direct sun.  

Lantana can be cool colors like these or very warm shades. Either way, they are multi-colored extravaganzas of bloom.

We have basics here like Purple Fountain Grass, Cordyline, Canna and such that make great centerpieces in container.  The plumes of Purple Fountain Grass are a fine decoration in any container, particularly in silhouette.  They are graceful and arching against the sky.  Other popular plants include dahlias (large and small), salvia, osteospermum, pelargonium (geranium), bidens, callibrachoa, and more.   I would love to include all these in the article, but it would be so big by the time I covered our extensive selection of annuals the blog would not load on most devices.   So, just a few with each article, but remember there are other articles on the topic as well.  Note that how I selected plants to include here…everything shown is pink or gold. 

It is completely cool to copy any container design you see at Tower.  They are planted to give you some ideas for combinations.   You can also buy any hanging planter and just transplant it to a pottery container.  The extra soil and space will make it grow much bigger.  Much like Lennon and McCartney, these containers are all Alan and Chessy.  We both do them and they are here for your pleasure and for suggestions.  

You can play with the rainbow of colors at Tower as well.  You can create your own combinations.  There are many, many that will sparkle.  Have fun making your selections as you go about selecting annuals.

Petunia ‘Daybreak Charm’ produces a truly remarkable number of blooms. This powerful performer will be the strong piece in any container.