For people in the Northern US, annuals are tender perennials, only living for one growing season. Annuals flower throughout the season, whereas perennials sometimes provide color only at certain times during the season. One of the biggest benefits of growing annuals is that they give the gardener more options for color and scent, which will aid in attracting hummingbirds, butterflies, and/or bees.
Depending on the species and cultivar, annuals can be planted into the ground or into containers . I plant a lot of annuals in containers, giving me more flowers and color around the yard. I mainly plant annuals to attract hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees or just for the color. Sometimes the flowers of a plant will attract all three. Annuals that are planted in the ground will often become larger and flower sooner than those grown in a container.
Annuals can be plants that are mainly grown for the foliage, such as Coleus, which puts out color all over, even in the shade.
Lately, I've been leaving my annuals in their containers and not disturbing them until sometime the following spring, because some of them survive the winter and will put out new growth.
Here are some annuals to consider growing:
Porterweed (Stachytarpheta) attracts hummingbirds & butterflies.
Lantana attracts hummingbirds & butterflies.
Rose Leaf Sage (Salvia involucrata 'Hidalgo') attracts hummingbirds and bees.
Hybrid Rose Leaf Sage (Salvia 'Mulberry Jam') is a good salvia if you don't have the space for the larger Rose Leaf Sages.