By Julie Martens Forney
Combining annuals in containers gives every gardener a chance to express her or his inner artist. It’s one of my favorite gardening activities -- I’ve even developed a list of go-to container annuals. One is Gaura lindheimeri ‘Crimson Butterflies’ (above).
This plant craves the growing conditions that occur in a container, and its pink blooms and crimson leaves provide seasonlong color. The plant grows to 18 inches high. In parts of the Mid-Atlantic, gaura overwinters and performs like a perennial. It’s reportedly hardy in Zones 6 to 9.
- Gaura growing tip: Remove spent flower spikes to yield more blooms and a bushier plant.
Pretty Much Picasso Supertunia (Petunia hybrid)
Elevate container plantings to living art with petunia’s many colors and patterns. My new favorite is Pretty Much Picasso Supertunia.
Pink flowers with lime-green edges sparkle in mixed containers and hanging baskets. Picasso has the intense growth rate that has made Supertunia famous. Expect plants to trail up to 36 inches.
- Picasso growing tip: Get the best show with any Supertunia by following the breeder’s care guidelines.
Toto Gold gloriosa daisy (Rudbeckia hirta)
Toto Gold gloriosa daisy shines in a container garden -- it’s like growing living sunshine.
This bright annual unfurls 3-inch-wide flowers on 1-foot-tall plants. Sometimes it even acts like a short-lived perennial in the warmest parts of the Mid-Atlantic. I plant Toto Gold, Pretty Much Picasso Supertunia, and ‘Crimson Butterflies’ gaura in the same pot -- it’s stunning.
- Gloriosa growing tip: Give this bloomer full sun. Remove dead blossoms to keep flowers coming.
Diamond Frost euphorbia (Euphorbia graminea)
Called a “blizzard in a pot,” Diamond Frost euphorbia never stops flowering.
Flowers open in white or pink on plants that love heat and humidity. Place containers in full sun to part shade.
- Euphorbia growing tip: This bloomer is susceptible to overwatering. Use a well-drained, commercial soilless growing mix for containers.
Try a few of these annuals in your containers this year -- you won’t be disappointed.