10 Easy to Grow Annuals


Flowers are a great addition to any garden! Here are 10 easy to grow annuals guaranteed to brighten up every corner of your yard.

Flowering annuals are a perfect addition to any garden, and here are 10 that are easy to grow | www.donnaberlanda.com |

Across the US and around the world, the same flower can have many different common names. To avoid confusion, I’ll provide the botanical names too. And so I don’t play favourites, I’ll list them in alphabetical order.

Here’s my top 10 easy to grow annuals:

Begonia

Flowering annuals are a perfect addition to any garden, and here are 10 that are easy to grow | www.donnaberlanda.com |
Begonias

These are commonly known as wax begonias – Begonia x semperflorens-cultorum. Begonias grow well in full sun to partial shade. They’re perfect for along the border of the garden since they are compact, don’t spread out too much, and grow to be 6-10″ tall. Flowers come in pink, white, red and salmon.

Calendula

Flowering annuals are a perfect addition to any garden, and here are 10 that are easy to grow | www.donnaberlanda.com |
Calendula

Pot marigold – Calendula officinalis. Here in New England, calendula is treated an an annual, since it cannot withstand over-wintering. If you live in a warm climate, you may be able to grow it as a perennial. Calendula is such a versatile plant. The petals of the calendula are edible, widely used for medicinal purposes, and to colour food (like how saffron or turmeric does). The plants grow to be 8-18″ high, like full sun, and come in colours ranging from pale yellow to a reddish-orange. Some varieties are double like the one in the photo, and others are single petals with dark centers. I tend to go for the double varieties in bright yellow and fiery orange. (oops I said I wasn’t going to play favourites!)

Geranium

Flowering annuals are a perfect addition to any garden, and here are 10 that are easy to grow | www.donnaberlanda.com |
Geranium

Geraniums Pelargonium x hortorum are an old-fashioned favourite, and look amazing in hanging baskets and window boxes. They like at least 6-8 hours of sun a day, and can get full and bushy with proper care. Petals are single or double, and colours range from white, pinks, magenta, salmon, purples, fiery reds and bi-colours. Some gardeners are able to over-winter their geraniums in the house, but I just get fresh plants each year.

Impatiens

Flowering annuals are a perfect addition to any garden, and here are 10 that are easy to grow | www.donnaberlanda.com |
Impatiens

If you have a shady area, impatiens impatiens wallerana are the annuals you want to get. I plant them in a window box in a shady area of the patio, and they bloom up until frost. Colours are white, pinks, magenta, fuchsia, reds, peach, salmon, orange and bi-colour. They will grow to be about 8″ high, and fill out nicely. As the flower petal fall off, a seed pod will grow. And grow. Eventually, it will get to be about a half inch long, and if you touch it, it will burst and seeds will fly everywhere! Just before they get to that stage, I pick them off, and pop them over the soil in the window box. By mid-summer, new plants are growing and filling the window box with gorgeous colour.

Marigolds

Flowering annuals are a perfect addition to any garden, and here are 10 that are easy to grow | www.donnaberlanda.com |
Marigold

Marigolds tagetes are one of the easiest annuals to grow – especially from seed. There are so many varieties – ranging from dwarf plants to ones that grow to be several feet high! Although mostly in the yellows and orange family, there are off white and even lime green. Petals can be single, double, or so dense that the flower looks like a snowball. Oh, and speaking of flowers – they are a little stinky. Not an offensive like a skunk stinky, but definitely not a sweet, smelling like a rose fragrance. Which is probably why marigolds are thought to repel mosquitoes and other bugs. Marigolds will fill out nicely if you pinch off the dead flowers. And save those to dry out for more seeds. Next spring, start those seeds indoors for a free crop of plants!

Morning Glory

Flowering annuals are a perfect addition to any garden, and here are 10 that are easy to grow | www.donnaberlanda.com |
Morning glory

This morning glory ipomoea is aptly named “Heavenly Blue”. Isn’t it gorgeous? This is a vine that grows well on light posts, arbors and fences. The flowers open in the late morning, and by evening they are curled up and will die off. BUT – more flowers will appear and bloom all summer! Morning glories come in blue, purples, pinks and whites, and another favourite of mine is one that is bright red. Do be careful when pulling up the vine in late fall. The seeds fall off, and can become invasive weeds. (don’t ask me how I know this.)

Flowering annuals are a perfect addition to any garden, and here are 10 that are easy to grow | www.donnaberlanda.com |
Ipomea Carnivale

Petunias

Flowering annuals are a perfect addition to any garden, and here are 10 that are easy to grow | www.donnaberlanda.com |
red and white petunias

Petunia x hybrida are another sun-loving annual. They do well in hanging baskets, window boxes and along walkways. Single flower, doubles and ruffles come in so many colours and colour combinations! Red, white, red & white, pale yellow, deep velvety purple, light purple, pink, magenta, fuchsia…there is bound to be one you will fall in love with. To keep the plants from getting scraggly and leggy, pinch off the dried, dead flowers and your plants will bloom all summer.

Portulaca

Flowering annuals are a perfect addition to any garden, and here are 10 that are easy to grow | www.donnaberlanda.com |
Portulaca

I said I wasn’t going to play favourites, but I have to give a shout out to Portulaca grandiflora. What tough plants they are! Blistering sun, not much water, and touching the hot pavement does not phase them one bit. They are low, sprawling plants that just look so happy! Colours are yellow, light yellow, peach, white, bright orange, fuchsia, pinks and red – in single and doubles. I need to stop gushing over these – just get some. Mine like to seed themselves, so I get a new crop every year without having to buy them. I just transplant them wherever I want a burst of colour in a tough spot – usually along the front walkway that gets full sun all day long.

Sunflowers

Flowering annuals are a perfect addition to any garden, and here are 10 that are easy to grow | www.donnaberlanda.com |
Sunflowers

The sign in these Helianthus says it all – We’re Happy! Sunflowers are the kind of flower that just makes you smile. The variety with the bright yellow petals and dark center look just like the sun. Sunflowers come in short varieties that are great for cut flower arrangements, and then there are the tall 10′ plants that grace the vegetable garden. The seeds are edible – but the birds and squirrels know that too, so keep a lookout for critters who want a free lunch. Flowers can be single petal or double, in colours mostly in the yellows and rusty orange family. Super easy to grow from seed, and kids love it when you make a tepee with a circle of them. (and let your pole beans grow up the stems)

and last on the top 10 list…

Zinnias

Flowering annuals are a perfect addition to any garden, and here are 10 that are easy to grow | www.donnaberlanda.com |
Zinnia

Growing flowers from seed doesn’t get much easier than with Zinnia elegans. Zinnias look beautiful in the garden, and make a long-lasting cut flower too. Single petal, double petal, short and tall, and coming in a huge range of colours, I think the only colour they don’t come in is a true blue. There’s even a lime green variety called “Envy” which I have grown. (it looks really cool planted next to deep velvety purple petunias). Zinnias are another annual that gives you free plants when you save the seeds. To keep note of what colour the plant is, use one of those plastic bread bag tags and write the colour on with a Sharpie marker. Slip the tag onto the stem of the plant, and in the fall or when the flowers die, you’ll be able to keep track of which colours you have for seed next year.

Keep a record of what you grow 

And speaking of keeping track…did you get my free Garden Journal yet? Click here to get yours! I used my own photographs like the ones above, and turned them into watercolours for pages the Journal. I hope you like it! It will keep all of your garden notes, photos and seed packets organized and you can print one out for every year.

There are hundreds more annuals that I could write about, but how about perennials next? Or herbs? Maybe vegetables? Which group would you like to know more about? Let me know in the comments!


15 thoughts on “10 Easy to Grow Annuals

  • Bradleigh@WideMeadow

    Pinning! This is just what I need! This year I finally have the space to grow things, and I need to start with what’s easy! I have sunflower seeds to plant soon, but do you recommend starting these flowers from seed or buying seedlings? Thanks!

    • Donna Post author

      Sunflowers grow easily from seed, and the seeds can be planted directly into the garden once all danger of frost has past. You can start them indoors if you have a short growing season, but I’ve always planted them directly into the garden, and have never seen seedlings offered in the nurseries here. I’ve even dug up and transplanted sunflowers that have started growing under the bird feeder. Birds are sloppy eaters!

  • Amanda | Maple Alps

    This is perfect for me, since I’m trying to develop a green thumb! These are all such beautiful flowers and if it’s true that they are easy to grow, I hope they grow for me! Working on it 😉

    • Donna Post author

      Keep me posted on your progress, Amanda. Once you get the hang of gardening, you are going to love it! And check back, because there will be more gardening how-to posts coming soon.

  • Julie

    Wonderful information and beautiful photos! I have great intentions every year for my flowers, but my thumb is not very green. Trying again this year.

    • Donna Post author

      Thank you, Julie! I love taking photos of flowers almost as much as growing them. Try some of these in your garden, and report back on your progress!

  • Lynnae McCoy

    Thanks so much for this post! My yard could really use some beautifying with flowers, but I’m not that great at keeping them alive.

    I’m going to try to plant some of these!

    • Donna Post author

      Lynnae, if your plants are starting to look like they are stressed and possibly on their way out, contact me and I will try to walk you through reviving them.

  • Meredith

    Beautiful flowers! And “easy to grow” is my type of flower. Thanks for sharing. Happy spring!

    • Donna Post author

      Thanks Meredith! If you want more suggestions on easy to grow flowers, let me know. I could go on for pages and pages here!

  • The How-to Guru

    I ADORE this post. I was just thinking yesterday how I need to research what flowers to add to my flower bed for Spring … and here you are. These photos make me happy – now on to the hard work of getting some of them planted!

    blessings,
    The How to Guru {Shan Walker}

    • Donna Post author

      Tell me more about your climate Shan, and I can give you more ideas on what to plant.

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