With all the warm spring weather, it’s tempting to pick up some flats of those brightly colored flowers at the nursery and plant them into your flower bed. Annual flowers are true to their name, meaning they survive just one season and do not come back year after year as perennials do. I like perennials, for this very reason, that you don’t have to be continually planting new stuff every year. However, annuals do have their place in the home gardens of Oklahoma, so here are some recommendations for those.
You’ll pay more for purchasing annual flowers in packs that are growing rather than trying to establish from seed. It’s much easier and faster though, so I usually go this route. There are some popular flowers such as Pansies that can be planted in fall or early spring, and they are really nice. With the summer heat though, they’ll be gone by June. So at this point in the spring, I’d recommend going with more of a summer annual that grows and produces flowers up until the first frost of fall. Proven and new varieties of Marigolds, Periwinkle, Petunia, Snapdragon, and Begonias are hard to beat. Lantana and Melampodium will thrive in our Oklahoma heat. And consider Ornamental Sweet Potato for an easy, fast-growing vine that fills in gardens with green foliage, just no flowers.
We are still two weeks away from the frost date, so I’d wait until after April 15th and allow the soil to warm up a little more before planting annuals. And don’t forget that some old varieties such as Zinnia and Marigold can easily be established from seed, which is much cheaper than planting small plants rooted in cell packs. For more information, CLICK HERE for an OSU Factsheet on Ornamental Flowers.