Learn about some of my favorite annual flowers to grow in containers each season. Lots of bright colorful trouble-free choices to fill your planter and adorn your home.
I love planting tons of flowers in containers in the spring. I typically head out to a couple of local nurseries and pick up several 4-inch pots to stuff my containers and hanging baskets. As time goes by I find myself selecting some of the same ones over and over again because I already know how they will grow and look. Every once in a while I'll try something new, but the standbys are still on my list and I thought I'd share a few of my favorite annual flowers with you.
Top Picks for Annual Flowers in Containers
Salvia guaranitica 'Black & Blue'
Technically this is not an annual but since it is not hardy in the north and the nurseries charge the same amount at the annuals I'm including it here. This particular flower is always the star or "thriller." It
You can see it in the middle of the planter at the top of this post. I always plant it first in the middle. Or, if I have a container that is placed next to the house I will sometimes plant it in the back.
I used to turn up my nose at petunias in the past. The old ones would get very leggy and needed constant dead-heading. Now they have so many fabulous ones, particularly "the wave" which grows like mad and doesn't need much of any maintenance.
Calibrachoa aka Million Bells
Another spectacular filler and trailing plant is the calibrachoa or million bells. They are like mini petunias and come in so many different beautiful colors. From black to white and many colors in between. Some are solid and some are variegated.
I will often take 3 of one color and fill a basket like this one.
Lobelia erinus aka Lobelia
This pretty blue compact plant is always filled with flowers. It's a great filler but I often use it as a spiller over the edge of pots. You can find it in shades of blue, purple, rose, and white in the nursery.
Ipomoea aka Sweet Potato Vine
Another great annual for containers that trail really well and will grow in shade is the sweet potato vine. I often plant these on my front porch that gets some sun but also a good amount of shade. Don't be surprised if you find real sweet potatoes in the container at the end of the season. I'm not sure if they are edible but I suspect that they would not taste great.
Finally, I almost always by trailing verbena. Here it is in white and a white & pink combo.
Again in a pretty dark red and violet. Verbena comes is an upright habit too but I tend to like the trailing version. It's another pretty annual that comes in a wide range of colors.
Other Good Annual Flowers for Pots
- Sweet alyssum - good for sides and filler
- Bacopa - will grow in part-shade
- Impatiens - also good for shady spots. Double impatiens look like small roses
- Lantana - comes in warm shades of yellow and orange. Looks similar to verbena
- Helichrysum White Licorice - a pretty silver trailing plant
- Browallia 'Blue Bells' - a really pretty shade of blue
- Geraniums - a good standby, come in upright and trailing varieties
Planting flowers in containers is absolutely one of my most favorite things to do in the spring. Often I start around Mother's Day even though there is still a warning of frost in my area. I do have to watch the weather, but if it get cold at night I just cover the planters with a garbage bag or old sheet and that does the trick.