The Best Annual Flowers

Discover some of the most popular annual flowers among professional gardeners. These bloomers should be on your garden radar.
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Petunia x hybrida  (06) Habit

Petunia x hybrida (06) Habit

Petunia x hybrida (06)

Give your yard a flowery facelift with some of the most popular annual flowers. We’re showcasing newer annual introductions that have proven their mettle in test gardens across the country. Many are familiar botanical faces with a new and improved twist. While these may be common annual flowers, they’re uncommonly terrific. 

One of the best annual flowers is the petunia. For sheer flower power, petal hues and plant forms, this bloomer is tough to beat. They come in miniature versions, full-size versions and the larger-than-life Supertunia or Wave varieties, which quickly cover ground as they grow inches per day. The color spectrum is well-represented in this common annual flower, with blossoms opening in every hue imaginable. 

A newcomer petunia that’s soon to be one of the most popular annual flowers is African Sunset. It has bright orange blossoms that are bold and breathtaking. You don’t have to remove dead blooms—the plant cleans itself. Cha Ching Cherry petunia will win fans among those who cherish a multi-hued bloom. Each blossom features a creamy star pattern, surrounded by a deep cherry red that fades to rose, pink and chartreuse. 

Snapdragon is another popular annual flower, and you’ll find something interesting in its family when you search out the Snap Daddy hybrids. These snapdragons feature variegated foliage and a disposition that stands more heat than its traditional cousins. Snap Daddy Peach is a new offering, with flowers in shades of peach, coral, pink and red. Plants grow 18 to 20 inches tall. 

A common annual flower is sunflower, but Solar Flare sunflower is anything but commonplace. Its flowers feature a flame style petal, with a black center disk surrounded by two-tone petals: burgundy by the dark center fading to brilliant gold. The effect is stunning in the garden, and plants are small enough (five to six feet) that they fit into casual cottage garden style designs. 

Another duo-toned new face on the annual scene is Superbells Lemon Slice calibrachoa. It looks like a miniature petunia, and each blossom features alternating wedges of lemon and white. Use this popular annual flower in a container or bed, although a hanging basket might showcase its unusual coloring best. 

For heat tolerant annuals, check out vinca and angelonia. The newest vinca, Jams ‘n’ Jellies Blackberry, has deep purple (almost black) petals surrounding a white eye. It’s a dazzler in the landscape or pot. Plants grow roughly 10 to 12 inches tall and wide. Angelonia is a tried-and-true heat and drought tolerant annual, especially the Serena or Serenita (smaller version) types. Look for purple, pink and white offerings. 

Another outstanding and popular annual flower is Euphorbia. In bloom, this plant creates a blizzard in a pot, and the newest introduction, Star Dust Super Flash, has so many petals that leaves are barely visible. In the landscape, plants form a rounded mound of solid white. This is a heat and drought tolerant annual, and it also gives deer, rabbits and groundhogs the brush off. It’s not just a popular annual; it’s tough, too.

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