Those with southern addresses can revitalize containers and landscapes after the summer heat by removing tired plants and replacing them with vibrant bursts of color. Winter annuals can provide some much needed color and texture through the time of year when not many plants are putting on much of a display and have gone dormant.
While you may know that pansies, flowering kale, and snapdragons provide wonderful color and can withstand cooler temperatures, there are plenty of alternatives to consider. To lengthen the bloom time through the shorter, cooler days of December through February, select annuals that can handle a light frost.
|Snow Crystals™ Alyssum Lobularia maritima|
|This reliable garden favorite outperforms others with its sizable clusters of white, delicately perfumed flowers on 10" mounding plants. Use it to edge beds and paths, fill in borders and rock gardens, or spill over edges of containers. Just make sure to plant it in a location where its scent can be enjoyed. Grow it in full sun to part shade in well-drained soil. Although it tolerates some dry conditions, for best performance, keep it watered, and fertilize monthly.|
|Calendula 'Candyman' or 'Bon Bon' Orange Calendula officinalis|
|Calendulas are one of the few annual flowers which bloom in the winter and these two varieties showoff any time of the year with multi-petaled, luminous orange blooms. The glowing color of the daisy-like flowers are a warm spot in the cool winter landscape, and make excellent cut flowers that can be enjoyed indoors, as well. The compact, well-branched plants should be deadheaded regularly to prolong the bloom time.|
|Dianthus 'Ideal Violet' Dianthus chinensis|
This very hardy variety of Dianthus is bred for its resistance to winter cold and its tolerance of summer heat. It is an excellent cool-season annual with masses of richly colored, fragrant blooms on 8-10" tall plants. Bright green leaves contrast nicely with the clusters of fringed flowers.
Dianthus is ideal for beds, borders, and cutting gardens, and all kinds of containers that receive full sun to part shade. Cut flowers can be enjoyed indoors in fresh bouquets. Remove any faded blooms to encourage new growth.