Let’s Talk About Summer Annuals

We sell A LOT of summer annuals here at Gardener’s. In fact, we sell more annuals than we do perennials, shrubs and houseplants COMBINED every year. They are definitely one of our specialties and we’d love to share some thoughts, tips and pointers regarding the summer-annuals ritual that we all love so much.

So what is an annual anyway?

This is a great question as there is often a bit of confusion here. Annuals are plants that have to be REPLACED every year.

They can either be plants that complete their entire life cycle during one growing season OR they can be plants that would behave as perennials in warmer climates. Either way, we’re replacing them every spring.

What makes annuals so special and why do we love them so much?

Well, two things here. Number one is, why are they special? FLOWER POWER. Annual plants are going to grow and bloom continuously from the time they are planted until we get a killing frost in the fall if they are well cared for.

And number two, why do we love them so much? We think it has to do a lot with emotions. They make us happy. Kinda like when we decorate the house for the Christmas holidays. Annuals give us the opportunity to get creative and express our artistic side every year.

Some folks like to do the same thing in the same pots and beds every year, and some like to experiment with new things. Either way, it’s all good. If you’ve ever had the opportunity to sit on your porch, patio or deck on a quiet summer morning or warm summer evening enjoying a favorite beverage surrounded by your beautifully blooming annuals, you understand how wonderful it is to feel all the feels.


So how do you get the most out of your annual “annual” investment?

A few things here. Summer annuals are an investment of time and money, and to ensure that you get to experience those warm and fuzzy feelings for as long as possible, you’ll want to be sure your annuals are planted and cared for properly.

There are a few questions we are asked every day regarding annual care, so we’re going to answer them here for everyone. If you are growing annuals in pots or containers, you’ll definitely want to keep reading…

Do I need to replace the soil from last year that’s still in my pots?

The short answer is YES. Annual plants are vigorous growers and heavy feeders and the nutrients in your old soil has been depleted. You’ll want to fill your pots with fresh soil. This is also a great opportunity to check the drainage holes in your pots. They often will become clogged with soil that has been in them for a long time, and this is certain death for your plants. They require excellent drainage. So make sure those drainage holes are free from obstruction.

Guru Tip: Sean likes to put paper coffee filters over the drainage holes before adding soil. This will allow water to pass through and keep the soil where it belongs, in your pots.

Do I have to actually plant my annuals in my pots? Couldn’t I just “drop” them in the pots they’re in already?

You can, but they’re not going to make it very long like that. They’re more than likely already or close to being root-bound in the pots they were grown in. Give their roots space and fresh soil to grow in and they will thrive and perform well until October. Additionally, plants left in their small original containers will require much more watering, sometimes twice a day during the heat of the summer. And no one wants to water their plants twice a day.

How often do I have to water my annuals in pots?

Early in the season when annuals are freshly planted and temperatures are still relatively cool, it may just be two or three times per week. Even less if we throw in a rainy day or two.

However, once things heat up in mid to late June, you’ll want to get into the habit of watering every day.

Guru Tip: Grab a favorite beverage and water your containers after work or in the evening before you settle in for relaxation time. This will give your plants the opportunity to soak up some water and hydrate overnight before they start baking in the sun again the next day.

Do I really need to fertilize my annuals?

Absolutely, positively YES! This is a step many people skip. You’re expecting your annual plants to grow and bloom continuously for four to five months, and they will as long as they have the energy to do it. And that energy comes from nutrients.

Initially, they will have plenty of nutrients in that nice, fresh soil you planted them in. After they’ve been growing for a month or so, you’ll want to start feeding them every other week with a water soluble fertilizer.

Jack's Classic Blossom BoosterWe recommend Jack’s Classic Blossom Booster for all annuals in containers. You’re mixing one scoop of Jack’s per gallon of water.

So grab yourself a two-gallon watering can if you don’t have one already, add two scoops of Jack’s, and water your annuals with it every two weeks all summer long. It’s easy, economical and no more hangry annuals.

Sean’s “Annual” Love Affair With Begonias

They’re beguiling. They’re bewitching. They’re begonias — Sean’s favorite annual. Watch video to learn why… 

Come see the lovely colors and blooms we have… And, as always, your friends at The Gardener’s Center are available to answer your plant and gardening questions!
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