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10 Top-Rated Annual Flowers for Easy Maintenance

Today’s busy gardeners want and need low maintenance landscapes. They desire a beautiful yard but often don’t have the time or expertise to achieve the look they want. Do them a favor and offer these low maintenance annuals, perennials and shrubs to guarantee their success.

SUREFIRE® Begonia benariensis
For all-season color in sun or shade, nothing is as versatile as Surefire Begonias. You’ll be impressed by their thicker, more durable stems and larger flowers that just keep on coming without deadheading. They are a great alternative to Impatiens in areas that are prone to downy mildew. Use them in mono containers, combos, or landscapes. At 1 to 2 feet tall and wide, Surefires are nice large plants.

SUPERTUNIA® Vista Petunia
The best petunia for landscapes. Hands down. Supertunia Vista varieties deliver an outstanding performance over the entire season, lasting an extra month in southern states and well into fall in moderate climates. They are bred to flower earlier, grow taller and wider, and spread more vigorously than other petunias. No deadheading is needed for these plants to bloom from spring through fall. They do best in part sun to sun conditions – 4 or more hours of direct sun a day and grow up to 2 feet tall and 3 or more feet wide.

Gardeners have grown to love the Proven Winners line of thornless, seedless, odorless, non-sticky cleomes. They exhibit excellent heat, humidity and drought tolerance, bloom spring through fall and have minimal disease issues. They offer all-season color on very low maintenance plants. Cleome grows best in sunny spots – 6 or more hours of direct sun a day and grow up to 4 feet tall and 2 feet wide.  If they outgrow their container or spot in the garden or are looking bedraggled after a long season, they can easily be trimmed back to stimulate new growth and branching resulting in renewed and refreshed plants and even more flowers.

COLORBLAZE® Coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides)
Extremely versatile in sun and shade, containers and landscapes, ColorBlaze Coleus are a must-have for vibrant landscapes. Their broad color range ensures there’s a variety to match every style scheme. All ColorBlaze Coleus are bred to be non-flowering or very late flowering, so you won’t have to pinch off any blooms to maintain their neat appearance throughout the season. Coleus need humidity to tolerate sun. If you live in a low-humidity climate, it would be best to provide afternoon shade. The sizes of ColorBlaze varieties vary, with heights ranging from 2 feet to almost 4 feet tall and widths ranging from 1 to 3 feet.

ILLUSION® and Sweet Caroline Ipomoea batatas
Sweet potato vines are a staple item for combination containers, adding useful textures, colors and forms to the mix. For a more controlled look with less maintenance, try the more compact Illusion or Sweet Caroline Sweetheart series or Sweet Caroline Bewitched. A bit less vigorous than the traditional sweet potato vines, these won’t take over the garden. These plants will thrive in full sun to part sun – 4 or more hours of direct sun a day, however, they will also grow well in shadier locations.  When grown in more shade, the foliage colors may be slightly less vibrant. These sweet potato vines grow 6 to 16 inches tall and will trail up to 3 feet over the edge of a planter.

TOUCAN® Series Canna x generalis
If you love the look of tropical plants but need one that is as easy to grow as a petunia, try our Toucan Cannas, which come in four colors: Red, Rose, Scarlet and Yellow. They grow quickly to make bold thrillers in your large containers and thrive in landscapes too. Cannas flower like crazy all summer in warm climates where they love the heat, and are grown more for their bold foliage in northernmost climates where they bloom late in the season. Toucan varieties have lush foliage and bear warm-toned flowers that invite hummingbirds and bumblebees to come explore your garden.  They flourish in part sun to sun – 4 or more hours of direct sun a day, and grow up to 4 feet tall.

A tough-as-nails filler for hanging baskets, troughs, combination containers and landscapes, this beautifully textured succulent is vigorous as well as heat and drought tolerant. Its lime green to chartreuse foliage pairs well with almost any other plants in sun and part shade, providing great contrast in combinations. When paired with blues, purples, reds and oranges, the high contrast created makes for compelling plantings whether they are in landscapes or containers. Though many sedums are perennial, this one is an annual in zones 7 and colder.

Cuphea are beloved for their heat tolerance and adaptability, working well in sunny landscapes where the plants get six or more hours a day of sun, or as a thriller in patio planters. Vermillionaire is packed with tubular orange flowers that are beloved by hummingbirds which flock to it. Compared to similar cuphea, Vermillionaire has glossier foliage, more vigor, better branching and much better flower coverage. Standing 2 feet tall and wide, it has great presence in the garden.

Diamond Frost®and Diamond Delight®look soft and wispy, but are some of the toughest plants you can find for your garden. Once you’ve planted them, they require almost no additional care if planted in landscapes. They are also the ultimate plant for combination containers where they will mix well with, literally, everything. They love heat, can handle drought and will bloom in sun or shade, although they will flower more heavily in sun. If you want easy, this is the plant for you.

PRINCE and KNIGHT Lobularia
Fragrant, vigorous, cold tolerant, all-summer blooming plants that require no special care aren’t exactly a dime a dozen, but these sweet alyssums fill the bill. Plant them in part sun to sun and don’t let them get too dry, and you’ll be rewarded with a fabulous display of fragrant blossoms for months on end. Standing just 4 to 8 inches tall but growing up to 4 feet across, they will cover a lot of ground and trail spectacularly from hanging baskets, mono containers and combination planters.

Learn more from Proven Winners through these resources:

Article: Right Plant, Right Place

Pinterest: Easy Garden Plants

Video: Supertunia Vista Bubblegum – in Landscapes and Containers

Calculate how many annuals needed for your flower bed.


Patent info: Diamond Delight® Euphorbia hybrid 'INEUPDIDIAZ' USPP 26,848, Can 5,269; Diamond Frost® Euphorbia hybrid 'Inneuphdia' USPP 17,567, Can 2,830;

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