Yellow melampodium self sows but isn't a thug. Seedlings transplant easily and literally come up blooming. It isn't attractive to butterflies. It doesn't have to be deadheaded. It generally lasts to frost. Sometimes I pull the leggier ones to make more room for late fall blooming perennials to come to the front.
July 31, 2009. on far right: Chartreuse alternanthera and the larger red, still green, at edge of a bed.Alternanthera
Alternanthera, commonly called Joseph's Coat is not really an annual but a tender perennial. I keep cuttings over the winter in a cup of water. Leaf colors vary. The flowers are usually seen in winter in the greenhouse, rarely in the garden. Flowers are shaped like clover, much smaller than a clover blossom and fairly insignificant.
The biggest alternanthera cultivar is purple and showy. The red is intermediate and prone to get eaten back mid-summer by insects while it is green. Come fall, it puts out again and turns bright red. Chartreuse is my very favorite despite its small size.
Madagascar periwinkle on right from 2010.
Perennial Brazilian ruellia on left.
I've already planted out the ruellia for this year.
It has two blossoms.
Madagascar periwinkle, Catharanthus roseus. Another reseeder, it requires warm weather to sprout and thrive. Requiring light to germinate, it is encouraged by gently stirring the soil where periwinkles grew the previous year.
If you are planting trays of nursery-grown plants, wait for hot weather to plant them out. Periwinkles come in various shades of red, pink, purple and white, with or without an eye.
Wax begonia with bronze foliage on the right in 2009.
Small pieces of Chartreuse alternanthera.
Begonia semperflorens are frequently sold as annual plants. The seed, fine as dust is not something I've tried to grow. A couple of pots kept inside through the winter will provide plenty of cuttings that are easy to grow.
Who doesn't know zinnias? Mixed colors or groups of all one color?
Laura Bush Petunias have already seeded themselves into cracks along the driveway planters. I hope to see them elsewhere. The only thing about petunias is that planted near the house, they smell like a wet dog when it rains.
I'll wait to see if Tithonia reseeds this year. Butterflies love it.
Nicotiana is self planted and transplanted from the lawn to suitable locations. It tends to play out early and I cut it back or pull the leggy plants.
What are your favorite annuals for summer's heat?
Back in the winter when it was time to plant pansies, I failed to buy any. Little violas have replanted themselves both in beds where they were last winter and in the lawn. What a wonderful Spring treat!
These are not ovenproof but will last well into May.
Self-seeded Violas, 2011. Blooming today. Too cute.