Today: Aug 17 , 2019

Flowering Annuals ~ Herbaceous Perennials

Did you know? There are ‘tender annuals’ and ‘hardy annuals.'

Garden Classes

Mark your calendars for the next couple of Garden Classes!

June 25 – Containers that Bloom like Crazy! After the first 15 minutes of this class you will have what it take to design great container gardens that sparkle in the afternoon heat. Water, the best foods, companion plants that shine and more. Everyone is going to comment on you container success after this class.

July 2 - Attract Birds, Bees & Butterflies: Gardening for Wildlife – Monarchs, Swallowtails, and bees are in trouble locally. This class goes into all the details of how to help the local natives. Because the like so many of the same plants hummingbirds are simply a bonus to this class. Learn the best local trees, shrub, flowers and grasses that naturally bring the best wildlife. We also cover the best feeders, and water that attracts.

A true annual is a plant that completes its life cycle in one year. This means that it goes from seed to bloom to seed and then dies during the span of one growing season. The whole mission of an annual is to flower, produce seed, and propagate. That is why deadheading, removing spent flowers before the flowers produce seed, is so important with blooming annuals.

Some tender perennials, like Watters' ever-popular geraniums, are grown as annuals in local gardens. For a perennial to be worth growing as an annual, it must flower profusely in its first year of growth.

Did you know? There are “tender annuals” and ”hardy annuals”. Pansies, lantanas, geraniums, and alyssums are tender annuals. Hardy annuals are able to withstand a bit of frost without being killed. They continue to bloom and set seed into the next year; they do eventually expire. Bachelor Button and Salvia Victoria are good examples of hardy annuals. Annuals also can be divided into cool season, like pansy, and warm season, like zinnia.

Pansies will fade as the summer heats up. Zinnias have no interest in spring and wait for for the heat of summer to really get blooming. Yet both are classified as annuals.

Annual flowers' best features – Few flowers produce as many blooms as annuals do. They also have a longer bloom cycle. Annual flowers provide gardeners the opportunity to have a totally different garden each year. Try planting annuals and perennial flowers together in the garden. The perennials anchor the garden and bloom at the same time each year, while the annuals provide show-stopping blooms throughout the growing season.

What is a herbaceous perennial plant?

When a plant is called 'herbaceous', it means that the core stems that hold the leaves upright during the growing season are soft, green, succulent, as opposed to the brown and woody stems of a lilac, forsythia, or rose of Sharon.

Most plants that are defined as 'herbaceous' will die back to the ground in winter and the spent stems and foliage need to be pruned back to soil level. The roots of these perennial plants are alive and well, and new growth will emerge from the ground in spring. Good examples of herbaceous perennials are peony, coreopsis, cone flower, blanket flower, and Mexican primrose. 'Woody Perennials' do not die back below the soil's surface. Typically, after their spectacular show of colorful autumn foliage, these woody shrubs drop their leaves for winter. The same stems that held their foliage last year, will reemerge with fresh new leaves in spring. There is no need to trim last year's plant all the way back to soil level. Good examples of woody perennials are lilac, spirea, salvia, potentilla, hardy hibiscus, crape myrtle, and rose.

Plant of the Week is the Millionaires Cuphea

Always an exciting addition to any garden, this bloomer explodes like firecrackers during summer heat. Hundreds of red hot tubular blossoms will cover this knee-high bloomer, and the numbers of vibrant red blooms only increase through summer. Less than $10 buys a lot of colorful blooms that are irresistible to hummingbirds!
Until next week, I'll see you in the annual flowers here at Watters Garden Center.

Ken Lain, the Mountain Gardener

Ken Lain is attracted to sunshine, beauty, happiness, success and health through gardening, and wishes to point the way to others. Throughout the week Ken can be found at Watters Garden Center located at 1815 W. Iron Springs Rd, Prescott, or contacted through his web site at