Top 5 Annuals for the Sun
Angelonia angustifolia- Summer Snapdragon
Since being introduced a few years ago, this upright easy to grow annual has proven to be a winner. Sun loving and heat tolerant, this water-wise plant comes in a range of rich colors and is truly low maintenance. With its upright 16-18" stems covered in blossoms all summer, it does resemble a snapdragon, and makes an excellent cut flower. Look for the more compact "Serena Series" this year that grows only to 10-12". The deer don't usually bother Angelonia.
Upright yet bushy and growing 12-18" tall with clusters of small star shaped blossoms all summer long. The leaves are handsome as well. These carefree heat tolerant, sun loving annuals are available in lavender, white, red and pink.
Calibrachoa (Million Bells, Super Bells etc.)
Designed for hanging baskets, this horizontal growing annual for the sun can also be grown in containers. A petunia relative with small flowers in great numbers all summer long, these low maintenance beauties need no attention other than regular feeding.
This garden favorite still out-sells most other annuals. Geraniums are durable, with no serious pests and will bloom well beyond the first frost of fall. Today choose from a wide range of colors and fancy-leaved types. At least half a day of sun is best and feed regularly.
Top 5 Drought Tolerant Annuals
Vinca or Madagascar Periwinkle
It's hard to beat this sun loving, heat tolerant, drought tolerant flowering annual for long lasting color that requires little if any attention. Sure, you see it planted everywhere, with good reason! New varieties have expanded the color range to salmon, apricot, orchid and vivid red. The handsome glossy foliage adds to their beauty and the deer usually ignore Vinca. This annual must have good drainage. Heavy, wet soil or overwatering will turn leaves yellow and the plants will perform poorly. So, plant Vinca in the sun, stand back and enjoy!
A trailing annual with fleshy stems and succulent leaves available in vivid orange, pink, yellow, white and red that thrives in sunny hot, dry conditions. Can be grown as a groundcover, or spilling over garden walls or flowing down the side of a large container or hanging basket. The deer seem to ignore Portulaca. Water only when the soil is dry and feed occasionally.
Mostly trailing and in a range of colors that look like candy. Two or three colors are often present on the same flower head with flower buds opening in an interesting progression. The aromatic foliage seems to keep deer away and pests are usually not a problem. Lantana is very attractive to butterflies so it deserves a place in your garden.
Surprisingly drought tolerant, this garden stand-by is reliable for length of bloom as well as its ability to tolerate dry conditions. Easy to grow and available in more colors than you might think. Often planted as a companion plant in and around vegetable gardens to repel insects and rabbits. Most varieties are short and compact but tall growing varieties are also available.
Scarlet Sage is well known as a long blooming, reliable annual for the sun. In fact, it is usually the number one choice for blazing red color in flower beds and pots. The Victoria Blue Salvia is just as drought tolerant and has attractive gray-green foliage and can provide that cool blue color to the garden. For more intense blue, consider the Salvia Black & Blue. The black stems and deep, intense blue flowers make this a hummingbird magnet.
Top 5 Annuals for Shade/Part Sun
Known for the large colorful leaves in white, pink and red patterns, these bold annuals really stand out in the shade garden or in pots in the shade. Keep soil evenly moist and feed occasionally.
New Guinea Impatiens
Sure you see New Guinea Impatiens everywhere, in everyone's garden, but with good reason. New Guinea Impatiens are still the most reliable annual for the shade that blooms from the day that you plant them until the first hard frost. Now that's a great return on investment.
Also called Flowering Maple because of the handsome foliage. This upright flowering annual has interesting upside down bell shaped flowers in beautiful tones of yellow, apricot and red. Something different for your pots.
Wax-leaved Begonias are deer resistant and tolerate a wide range of light conditions including shade. Water-wise, these annuals need little attention during the hot dry summer months.
This little-known and under-used annual is gaining in popularity. The bi-color blossoms are free flowering and self cleaning. Deer resistant, provide filtered light and Torenia will be quite happy.
Seldom Damaged by Deer
Please note that deer when hungry or curious will try any plant. Use repellent, netting, stakes in the plants or any odorous material to deter them!