Annuals forum: Suggestions: annuals for Michigan

Views: 983, Replies: 19 » Jump to the end
Baltimore County, MD (Zone 7a)
A bit of this and a bit of that
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Herbs
Composter Container Gardener Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Dog Lover Plant and/or Seed Trader
Image
bitbit
Jan 15, 2014 8:25 PM CST
Hi folks!

I just won four annuals in the January Not-a-Raffle! Hurray! I'm totally thrilled, but also a bit lost... see, I haven't grown many non-edible annuals before, and I just moved to a completely different climate from where I've ever lived/gardened in the past. I was wondering if you could give me some ideas.

Here's the list of plants I can choose from: http://www.gardenharvestsupply.com/ProductCart/pc/Buy-Potted... (click on each category to see options within it).

And about my garden: I have about 3' x 15' in front of my apartment. It faces southwest, but is between buildings, so I think it will be partial shade, but with intense sun when the sun is on it. There's a downspout at one end (the shadiest part), which seems to drain pretty slowly, but the other end is less waterlogged. I have a few containers, but will probably have herbs in them, so something I can plant in the ground would be best.

I'll fill the bulk of the space with summer veggies, but want to put my annuals in there to make it prettier. Bonus if they are good companion plants, attract bees or butterflies, or are beneficial in some way. I'd also love if I get plants that have easily-collected seeds, so I could continue to enjoy them next year or trade with other gardeners.

I'm in south-central Michigan. I've only lived here for a bit over a month, so I can't say much about the summer climate. We'll have long days, but probably not terrible heat. I have no idea about the soil type, right now there's snow with mulch under it Shrug!

If you could choose anything off that site, what would your dream plant be? And what plants do you think can handle the abuse that my garden is likely to give them (variable light, wet feet, short season, etc.)?

Thanks! Thumbs up
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Georgia Garden Sages Organic Gardener Beekeeper Vegetable Grower
Seed Starter Cut Flowers Composter Keeper of Poultry Keeps Goats Avid Green Pages Reviewer
Image
abhege
Jan 15, 2014 8:50 PM CST
@jvdubb should be able to help you with that.
Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
Cottage Gardener Houseplants Spiders! Heucheras Frogs and Toads Dahlias
Hummingbirder Sedums Winter Sowing Peonies Region: Michigan Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
jvdubb
Jan 16, 2014 9:12 AM CST
bit bit the climate will be similar to Virginia. Summer will just start later and the risk of frost is later. We may perhaps be more humid here. Some summers here are blazing hot, sometimes not. You just never know.

I will look at the list. But your probably can't go wrong with any of them.
Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
Cottage Gardener Houseplants Spiders! Heucheras Frogs and Toads Dahlias
Hummingbirder Sedums Winter Sowing Peonies Region: Michigan Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
jvdubb
Jan 16, 2014 9:15 AM CST
Oh, actually, do NOT order Impatiens. Downy mildew is present in Michigan and wipes them out. I don't know if it will be present where you live. But why take a chance when you have so many choices.
Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
Cottage Gardener Houseplants Spiders! Heucheras Frogs and Toads Dahlias
Hummingbirder Sedums Winter Sowing Peonies Region: Michigan Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
jvdubb
Jan 16, 2014 10:03 AM CST
If you did either the Bougainvillea or Mandevilla vines you could trellis them up. The butterflies and hummers love them. Also, if you put them in a pot you could bring it in over winter.

Hummers and butterflies love Sage. The Black and Blue Sage is my new favorite. But the Summer Jewel Red is a real hummingbird magnite.

For the wetter area Torenia would be perfect. Low growing so you would put it in front.

Petunias are always a great choice. They have some awesome choices! I absolutely love the Crazytunia series. Around here almost everyone puts the petunias in planters. But many of the varieties really look nice in the ground.

In the past couple years I have become a huge fan of annuals that are mostly just folliage. The Strobilanthes and Alternanthera are fun. Love love love that Raspberry Rum Alternanthera.

And finally you can't go wrong with Dahlias, Gerbers, Verbena, or Zinnia in my book. Also, if you get Geranium you can bring those in and overwinter them. Several ways to do that.

I don't think there is a whole lot there to collect seeds from. Zinnias would be one. And Petunias possibly. But most all of the commercial annuals now are hybrids. Many are sterile.
Name: Danita
GA (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member Forum moderator Hummingbirder Salvias Butterflies Birds
Plant Identifier Vegetable Grower Container Gardener Seed Starter Cat Lover Region: Georgia
Image
Danita
Jan 16, 2014 11:03 AM CST
Lucky you, bitbit! Hurray!

Well, I'm in the south so I can't comment on Michigan weather but here are some of my thoughts...

The Colocasias would probably do well near your downspout but they do get larger so space might be an issue. One thing nice about the Colocasias is that after the first frost, you can dig up the roots and easily store them over winter to plant out again next year.

Salvias are good for the pollinators: bee, butterflies, and hummingbirds. 'Black and Blue' might get too big for your small garden but is really pretty and bees and hummingbirds love it. It is a perennial that spreads like mint here, but it would get killed in winter in Michigan so the spreading wouldn't be an issue. Like the Colocasias, after the first frost, you can dig up the roots of 'Black and Blue' and store them over winter to plant out again next year. S. farnicea 'Evolution' would grow in the sunnier areas and is attractive to bees. Salvias coccinea 'Lady in Red' and 'Forest Fire' are attractive to bees and hummingbirds, with 'Lady in Red' being a hummingbird gardeners traditional favorite. They will grow in sun to partial shade, and produce seeds easily. However, the price on those is a little steep considering that they are so easy to grow from seed or can sometimes be purchased in 6-packs for a couple of bucks.

Begonias take shade to part sun, but won't take standing water. They also make nice hanging basket/container plants. The 'Dragon Wing' Begonias are very versatile, pretty and easy to grow taking sun to shade. They are easy to overwinter as houseplants.

I like Abutilons a lot and they should grow in your conditions (not the soggy spot,) but I haven't grown those specific cultivars before and am not sure how floriferous they would be for you. Can also be overwintered as houseplants.

The Coleus should do well but make sure you choose the sun-tolerant ones for the sunny areas. Bees like the flowers when they bloom, but most gardeners don't and pinch them off. (The flowers look like Basil flowers.) The Plectranthus would be similar. Easy to root in water.

'Silver Falls' Dichondra should like your garden and is a really pretty annual ground-cover and looks gorgeous spilling out of containers and hanging baskets. You can collect seeds from it, if you know what to look for. The flowers are so insignificant that it's easy to miss the seed-pods unless you are watching for them.

Those Euphorbias should do well since they are tough and take a variety of conditions. They are very floriferous but I've not noticed any pollinators on mine and they haven't set seed. They are supposed to be easy to root in water if you want more.

Fuchsias might work for you but they hate the weather here, so someone else will have to give you advice on those.

Geraniums should work in the sunnier areas. Hummingbirds will use some of the single-flowered varieties. Like Jennifer said, easy to overwinter as a houseplant.

I've not grown those Lophospermum vines, but that's probably something I'd pick to try. Sounds like it might work for your conditions and pollinators. Also since it can be trellised against the wall, it would take up less space.

'Persian Shield' Strobilanthus does well here in a variety of conditions and is very pretty. Rarely flowers though. It is more purple in the shade and more silvery in the sun.

Torenias are nice low-growing annuals for shady areas.

I agree with Jennifer not to bother with the double Impatiens walleriana due to the downy mildew problem. However, the Sunpatiens would do well for you, I bet, and are resistant to the mildew. I didn't notice pollinator activity on mine though and they don't set seed. Another one for rooting in a cup of water.

I've not actually grown Heliotrope but that might be fun to grow in a pot near your door so you could take a whiff whenever you pass by. They do smell lovely.

Goodness, I do go on, don't I... *Blush*

So, has anything in particular on the website caught your eye? Big Grin

Name: Mike
Hazel Crest, IL (Zone 5b)
There's a place of quiet rest !
Image
Hazelcrestmikeb
Jan 16, 2014 11:58 AM CST
Jennifer, thanks for the mention of Raspberry Rum Alternanthera. Looked that one up. I love the foliage on a few of them. I am going to try and add some this season. Strobilantes is one of my favs.
Thumb of 2014-01-16/Hazelcrestmikeb/52e1f1

Bitbit, you have soooo many options. You can't go wrong.

I agree with Danita on the Colocasias. This would draw the eye in to the rest of the garden. Don't forget to share some pics of the end result.
robinseeds.com
Baltimore County, MD (Zone 7a)
A bit of this and a bit of that
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Herbs
Composter Container Gardener Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Dog Lover Plant and/or Seed Trader
Image
bitbit
Jan 16, 2014 8:01 PM CST
Thanks for all the suggestions, everyone! I wasn't expecting so many thorough responses while I was away from the computer today Green Grin! It looks like I have more than enough info to choose four plants. I worked late tonight, so I probably won't have the time to browse and make a decision until the weekend, but I'll let you know what I pick out Thumbs up

@jvdubb What do you think is a good delivery date to request for these guys? Or if it depends on the plants, you can think about it after I decide what to order.

And I don't think it can be more humid than where I moved from... I was on the coast, surrounded by swamps. Every day in summer was near 100% humidity until the afternoon thunderstorm (you could almost set your watch by it... the 4:00 downpour). It could be hotter up here without the marine influence, we were only around 90 most days in Norfolk, rarely over 100. I haven't spent a summer here, though, so it's hard to know.

@Hazelcrestmikeb I hope my garden ends up being pic-worthy! I'll definitely share some shots in any case.
Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
Cottage Gardener Houseplants Spiders! Heucheras Frogs and Toads Dahlias
Hummingbirder Sedums Winter Sowing Peonies Region: Michigan Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
jvdubb
Jan 16, 2014 8:34 PM CST
The rule used to be May 31 for last risk of frost. I don't think it is still that late. You will most likely be safe end April beginning of May. Just watch the forcast for frost. Since your garden won't be too huge, so you can cover the really tender stuff over night if they call for frost
Baltimore County, MD (Zone 7a)
A bit of this and a bit of that
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Herbs
Composter Container Gardener Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Dog Lover Plant and/or Seed Trader
Image
bitbit
Jan 16, 2014 8:38 PM CST
It seems like they want me to give a delivery date when I choose the plants, even though it will be months in advance. Makes it hard to watch the forecast, but you're right, I can always cover the plants or bring them in (for containers) if there's a late frost. Thanks!
Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
Cottage Gardener Houseplants Spiders! Heucheras Frogs and Toads Dahlias
Hummingbirder Sedums Winter Sowing Peonies Region: Michigan Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
jvdubb
Jan 16, 2014 8:51 PM CST
Sorry, I was not clear. Order them for very end of April. Then just baby them until end of May
Baltimore County, MD (Zone 7a)
A bit of this and a bit of that
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Herbs
Composter Container Gardener Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Dog Lover Plant and/or Seed Trader
Image
bitbit
Jan 17, 2014 5:51 AM CST
That sounds like a plan! Thanks again!
Baltimore County, MD (Zone 7a)
A bit of this and a bit of that
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Herbs
Composter Container Gardener Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Dog Lover Plant and/or Seed Trader
Image
bitbit
Jan 19, 2014 9:59 AM CST
OK, I think I've made a decision. I've got them sitting in my shopping cart now.

For the shady/wet end of the garden (near the door):
Fragrant Delight Heliotrope
Indigo Moon Torenia

For the sunny/drier end of the garden (near the sidewalk):
Summer Jewel Red Sage
Magellan Mix Zinnia

I'm least settled on the last one. I wanted something with lots of cheerful color. I like the look of Zahara Raspberry Lemonade Mix Zinnia and Festival Mix Gerbera both a bit more, but they are both listed as needing full sun, and I'm just not sure I'll have that. The Magellan Mix says it can handle full sun to partial shade.

Thanks again for all the suggestions! I'll post pictures for you in oh... six months or so Hurray!
Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
Cottage Gardener Houseplants Spiders! Heucheras Frogs and Toads Dahlias
Hummingbirder Sedums Winter Sowing Peonies Region: Michigan Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
jvdubb
Jan 19, 2014 12:12 PM CST
Good choices bitbit!
Name: Danita
GA (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member Forum moderator Hummingbirder Salvias Butterflies Birds
Plant Identifier Vegetable Grower Container Gardener Seed Starter Cat Lover Region: Georgia
Image
Danita
Jan 19, 2014 1:22 PM CST
At least here, Gerber Daisies tend to be more shade tolerant than Zinnias. Also, Zinnias are the easiest plant to grow from seed since they start blooming about 6 weeks from sowing and can be sown directly where you want them to grow. You could pick up a pack of short Zinnia seed for a dollar or two at a local store and have a bunch of plants. They may not be the exact same seed strains but still.

The hummingbirds will love you for the Salvia! Smiling Also, it's easy to root cuttings of Salvias so you can propagate more from your plant and have some ready to bloom in the late summer and fall if you want.

The Heliotrope and Torenia are really pretty too. I love blue!

Looking forward to the photos! Hurray!
Baltimore County, MD (Zone 7a)
A bit of this and a bit of that
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Herbs
Composter Container Gardener Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Dog Lover Plant and/or Seed Trader
Image
bitbit
Jan 19, 2014 5:18 PM CST
Thanks for the tip, Danita. Maybe I will go with the Gerbera instead.

I really like blue as well (see my photo if you need proof Whistling ). I was tempted to go for the blue sage as well, but decided a smaller one would be better suited to my space. I've really enjoyed the bird watching here in Michigan, so I'm excited to see if I can draw in some hummingbirds.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Jan 22, 2014 6:42 PM CST
If the downspout makes one end of the bed too wet, consider a project for one-of-these-years.

Add a right-angle bend to the end of the downspout, and run another "downspout" horizontally the length of the bed. Give it only a very shallow drop, like 1-2" per 10 feet.

Maybe make it from short sections you can separate later if you need to clean it out.

Drill small holes along the side, near the current end of the downspout.
Drill larger holes on the bottom, at the far end of the bed
Drill intermediate-size holes near the bottom of the side, in the middle of the run.

Hope that water comes out more uniformly and waters the whole bed evenly.

Alternatively, where the bed is water-logged, make it a raised bed and cut a slit trench along the side of the bed, draining down to some lower spot. Run the downspout into the slit trench and hope most water runs away instead of drowning roots.
Baltimore County, MD (Zone 7a)
A bit of this and a bit of that
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Herbs
Composter Container Gardener Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Dog Lover Plant and/or Seed Trader
Image
bitbit
Jan 23, 2014 1:10 PM CST
I don't think I'm allowed to alter the downspout, as I'm in an apartment complex. I was planning on adding material to make that end of the garden not so low to make it drain better, but any soil amending will have to wait until spring thaw. (If I was in a house, I would totally make a watering hose out of the downspout, though. That's a great idea, and reminds me of the crazy engineering we did to fit rain barrels on the house in Virginia.)
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Jan 23, 2014 1:37 PM CST
>> I'm in an apartment complex.

I understand! They would probably also object to a trough or plastic film to redirect the run-off.

>> reminds me of the crazy engineering we did to fit rain barrels on the house in Virginia.

We're both members of the Garden Corps of Engineers!


Thumb of 2014-01-23/RickCorey/f1655f Thumb of 2014-01-23/RickCorey/3c46f0 Thumb of 2014-01-23/RickCorey/2b40c2


Thumb of 2014-01-23/RickCorey/ac194a Thumb of 2014-01-23/RickCorey/74a5d2 Thumb of 2014-01-23/RickCorey/6a8018

Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Container Gardener Vegetable Grower Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Image
Joannabanana
Feb 16, 2014 1:21 PM CST
bitbit,
Those are great choices. The heliotrope will need a fair amount of direct sun to get a nice display of flowers. The flower clusters hang on for a long time, but do deadhead it to promote new blooms. Also, with the heliotrope, avoid getting the foliage wet. They do best with evenly moist soil.

Here's some I started from seed last year. I had 3 plants of heliotrope Dwarf Benary's Marine and other annuals in a wooden barrel.

Thumb of 2014-02-16/Joannabanana/bf9152

Thumb of 2014-02-16/Joannabanana/d3d06e

You may want to consider the geraniums. I love both zonal and ivy geraniums. Calliope (specialty geranium) is my fave. I plant it in ground, in planters and also in baskets. I think they would do well in the conditions explained. I have never had luck with torenia.

Thumb of 2014-02-16/Joannabanana/30c1e2

[Last edited by Joannabanana - Feb 16, 2014 1:44 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #556715 (20)

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Annuals forum
You must first create a username and login before you can reply to this thread.

Today's site banner is by nativeplantlover and is called "Bumble Veronica Pink"