The Q&A Archives: Pest Resistant Annual Flowers

Question: My petunias were attacked by tobacco caterpillars, and my Madagascar periwinkles succumbed to some type of fungus. In the winter months, violas and pansies do great, until the sun and heat burn the plants. Do you have any suggestions for annuals for year-round color?

Answer: Following are some suggestions for seasonal color for your sunny annual garden. Before planting, however, be sure to amend your soil with organic matter such as compost. Organic matter helps loosen the soil to allow for better root penetration, while also helping the soil retain moisture. As an added bonus, it will provide nutrients as it decomposes. Once the bed is prepared, consider planting chrysanthemums for autumn color; ornamental kale and pansies for winter color; lobelia and impatiens for spring color; and zinnias, border dahlias, geraniums, and potentilla for summer color.

Caterpillars can be controlled by hand-picking them off the plants as soon as you spot them, or treating with the biological control Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis). Be sure to clean up any debris in the garden at the end of the season to remove any insect eggs.

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