Three Kinds of Annuals – Tender, Hardy and Half Hardy
In the flower garden, annuals provide a type of transitory delight with their amazing colors and all they can do. They can be used for quick growth providing color amongst the slower growing perennials and foundation plantings, which take more time to achieve their full growth. These plants can even provide flowers and greenery around your bulbs before they grow and after they are spent.
You can grow annuals easily from seed. This allows you to grow many which are not available at the local garden center. Relatively speaking, seeds are inexpensive allowing you to try out many more color combinations and types of flowers.
Annuals come not only in beautiful colors but also different types. These are tender, hardy and half-hardy. What do we mean by these?
Tropical and subtropical locations are where our tender annuals come from and as such they cannot handle any frost. You must wait till all danger of frost is past before setting them out in the flower garden in the spring. Once temperatures start to decline in the fall, they will not survive long.
With hardy annuals, you will have plants that can take some chill. You can even direct seed these into your flower garden as soon as you can work the soil in the spring or even the fall before. Be sure to follow the instructions on the seed packet. These hardy flowers are a good way to extend your blooming within the flower garden later into the fall. You may find that many of these hardy annuals will actually not bloom during the heat of mid-summer, as they prefer cooler temperatures.
As you might expect, half-hardy annuals can take just a bit of frost – a light frost or two. They are not as susceptible to the cold as the tender ones but not quite as frost resistant as hardy ones. Setting these out after your last frost in the spring is best but a surprise late frost will generally not kill them.