The Top 25 Annuals, Selected by ATP Members

Posted by @dave on
Ever wonder what the most popular annuals appear to be? We have run a report of the most photographed and discussed annuals in our database!

#1: Borage (Borago officinalis)

@Mindy03 says, "Valuable source of nectar and pollen for honey bees. Honey produced from this nectar is light amber in color."

@Ispahan added, "One of my favorite plants to grow for bees and other pollinators. I love the fuzzy foliage and intense blue of the flowers. I hope this plant reseeds for years to come."
#2: Purple Hyacinth Bean (Lablab purpureus)

@plantladylin says, "Purple Hyacinth Bean is a fast growing annual vine with bright purple bean- like seedpods, and pretty pink flowers that attract Butterflies and Hummingbirds. The dried beans contain high concentrations of cyanogenic glucosides and are only edible after prolonged boiling."

@SongofJoy added, "HBV begins to bloom mid-summer and produces many seed pods by late Fall. Seeds are numerous and easy to dry and save.

Soak seeds overnight before planting to speed up germination."
#3: Moonflower (Ipomoea alba)

@gingin says, "I love this plant! Not only is it pretty, but it smells wonderful. It is fun to sit and watch it open up. Had one that was almost open and when I went to sniff it "exploded" in my face...way cool."

@Jenn added, "I love planting these together with morning glory. I plant them both in large rectangular planters, and let them climb up two trellises that I have mounted to the brick facing of the house. They look so beautiful! I find that though they're not terribly xeric, they can take a lot of heat, and are prolific growers. Both moonflowers and morning glory are annuals in my part of the world (North Texas), but they often reseed themselves, and sprout back up in the spring. They actually reseed a little too well. I'm often pulling stray shoots out from parts of the garden where they're not meant to be! A little extra weeding is well worth having these beauties in your garden."
#4: California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica)

@Newyorkrita says, "While an annual, California poppies reseed each year here in my garden so I have never had to replant them since I started seeds one spring and planted. My plants mostly bloom in a golden yellow color with some deeper and lighter gold blooms thrown in. I also have some off white ones. If there is enough rain they will start blooming in the spring and bloom non stop into the fall. If it is drier, they stop in mid summer and start blooming again come fall."
#5: Common Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus)

@Newyorkrita says, "Cosmos often get powery mildew in my garden so I spray them with the same systemic fungicide that I use on my roses."

@gardengus added, "I find cosmos self-sows nicely in my garden and if I wait till the plants are about a foot tall to pull and transplant, they grow about 1/3 shorter than the non-transplants.
This can be a good thing when you want the look but not the height.
They put on their best show in the fall. For earlier blooms, start indoors in pots then set out."
#6: Sunflowers

@plantladylin says, "Helianthus annuus is an annual that is native to the Americas. It grows 6 to 12 feet in height and has hairy oval or heart shaped leaves and hairy stems. This common sunflower requires full sun and is drought tolerant. I haven't grown sunflowers from seed in a long while but the past few years there are always a few sprouting up in the yard, compliments of the backyard birds! I don't know anyone who doesn't like the sunflower ... if those big, beautiful heads of flowers don't make you smile I don't know what will."
#7: Love-in-a-Mist (Nigella damascena)

@threegardeners says, "One of my favourite self-seeding annuals. They re-seed themselves and have come back faithfully for the last 10 years. I also take the seed pods in the Fall and scatter the seeds in other places where I want them to grow."

@mom2goldens added, "This flower requires very little attention; it does reseed easily, but it's easy to remove extra seedlings as needed. In addition to the delicate flowers, this flower forms beautiful seed heads, which can be cut and dried for use in your floral arrangements."
#8: Nasturtiums

@LindaTX8 says, "If I want Nasturtiums, I have to get them going early, often I start them in pots to get an earlier start! With the extreme heat and intense sunlight (often all-day long) of my area, Nasturtiums have difficulty continuing once the HOT part of the years starts. They usually tend to go away in summer. But I do love these plants, so I keep trying. Love those cute leaves and flowers! I just love to look at them! I do occasionally eat the flowers, but it's hard, because usually I just want to keep the flowers around to look at!"
#9: Giant Larkspur (Consolida ajacis)

@dave says, "We love this plant! The blue flowers are stunning and a welcome sight in the early spring. It's easy as pie to grow, loves our Texas weather, and reseeds reliably."
#10: Hummingbird Sage (Salvia coccinea 'Lady in Red')

@Marilyn says, "This is my Mom's favorite, as well as, mine! She always wants a container of 'Lady in Red' for Mother's Day from me every year. She and I love it and the many hummingbirds that visit it love it too!

It self sows, has many blooming flowers, is a beautiful color of red, and is easy to maintain.

I plant many pots of it into containers and the ones in the ground self sow from the previous year and I'll get more plants! Sometimes, it self sows from one container into another container and the next year, I'll get a new free plant!"
#11: Blanket Flower (Gaillardia pulchella)

@plantladylin says, "Gaillardia is a North American native found from Virginia to Florida and westward to Colorado and New Mexico. The plant forms 12"-24" tall clumps with soft hairy divided leaves. The flowers can be single, double, or semidouble and appear on long stems held above the foliage. Blanket Flower is considered an annual but will readily reseed. It likes hot, sunny areas, is salt tolerant and blooms throughout the summer. Deadheading will prolong flowering."
#12: Flanders Field Poppy (Papaver rhoeas)

@LarryR says, "This poppy pairs nicely with Orlaya grandiflora."

@bennysplace added, "From childhood to today, I always wear my little plastic poppy on Memorial Day. Since becoming a gardener, I make it a point to always grow this poppy. They are magical and a sheer delight as they sway in the breeze. As many have already said, this is a must have in every garden."
#13: Cypress Vine (Ipomoea quamoclit)

@Newyorkrita says, "Some seed packets for this plant contain the mix colors while others contain the red flowers only. While I prefer the red flowers, the hummingbirds are very attracted to this vine and don't care about the flower color. A short, annual vine with lovely lacy folliage that is never overpowering."
#14: Morning Glory (Ipomoea tricolor 'Heavenly Blue')

@Zencat says, "While the leaves are okay, I could never see the flowers. They hid inside the foliage."
#15: Pot Marigold (Calendula officinalis)

@dave says, "Considered by most to be an annual, this is really a very short lived herbaceous tender perennial. It is easily grown in nearly any environment and loves full sun locations. It's a valuable food source for many butterflies.

Best of all, pot marigolds are edible! The florets are wonderful in salads and as a side to brighten up any dish."
#16: Love Lies Bleeding (Amaranthus caudatus)

@GordonHawk says, "My MY.. bleeding for sure.. that's a wonderful form of the amaranthus"

@BookerC1 added, "Very dramatic specimen plant! It grows 3-5 feet tall and produces long, drooping, tassel-like flowers that will sometimes extend from the very top of the plant to the ground. Easy to grow from seed if you sow it in place, and drought tolerant. This one will be a conversation-starter, so plant it somewhere conspicuous!"
#17: Tall Morning Glory (Ipomoea purpurea 'Grandpa Ott's')

@Ron_Convolvulaceae says, "Grandpa Ott's should have a fuchsia star and a lot of fuchsia in the throat area.

The flowers with a dark purple star are closer to the Star of Yelta type.

There is tremendous confusion worldwide regarding the darker purple-blue colored Ipomoea purpureas."
#18: Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum)

@gardengus says, "This herb has its best flavor fresh, but it has a tendency to bolt (set seed) quickly .
You can tell when it is going to bolt. The new leaves are very fine.

Cut the plant and refrigerate, putting the stems in water and loosely covering the top (greens) with a plastic bag.
I have been able to keep it fresh about 4 weeks this way.

It can also be cleaned and frozen whole. Chop before thawing and add to your recipe."
#19: Asiatic Dayflower (Commelina communis)

@plantladylin says, "The Asiatic Dayflower is native to most of East Asia and the Northern parts of Southeast Asia but has been introduced to other areas of the world. It is considered a noxious weed in many areas and has become common in disturbed sites, lawns, and other areas of moist soil. The plant can be erect or spreading and has smooth, hairless stems. The flowers are borne from summer through fall on 1" to 2" stalks; blooms have two large bright blue upper petals and one lower pale white petal."
#20: Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta 'Cherry Brandy')

@kqcrna says, "Although some sources might call this plant a perennial, it didn't perform well for me as such. Wintersown, mine bloomed well and displayed beautiful color in their first summer. They thrived. A few did survive that first winter in my yard but never thrived after that. In their second year their blossom color was muted and the plants seemed weak. They were barely visible in my garden.

Cherry Brandy Rudbeckias make pretty, healthy annuals, but in the future I won't attempt to use them as perennials."
#21: Crimson Clover (Trifolium incarnatum)

@Newyorkrita says, "Short lived in my garden. It grows, it flowers, and then it shrivels up and dies. Pretty enough to be grown as a garden flower. I love the shape and color of the flower."

@Horseshoe added, "Crimson clover, a fantastic "green manure" and much more.

Crimson clover is a great fall/winter cover crop, protecting the soil from erosion, offering nitrogen to the soil, buffering the soil temperature extremes, helping to keep soil biota more active and, when turned under, adding to the tilth of your soil.

In addition to the above, when crimson clover flowers it brings in the bees and other beneficial bugs which contribute to pollination and helps create a balance of diversity in the "bug kingdom," a much -needed environment.

Crimson clover seed is easily broadcast by hand or by a "whirly bird" type seed sower. Broadcast 30 to 60 days before your first frost/hard freeze for best results. Till or rake seed shallowly for best ground contact. Once established it will easily winter over in many zones."
#22: Lion's Ear (Leonotis nepetifolia)

@flaflwrgrl says, "Let seed heads dry on plants. Birds like the seeds or you can bag the seed heads for collection. CAUTION! The seed heads are spiny & can prick you -- be careful! Wear gloves when handling.
Drought tolerant -- suitable for Xeriscaping."

@gardengus added, "The leaves on this annual are cordate (heart-shaped) with soft serrated edges up to 4'' wide, except the top leaves, which are lanceolate (lance-shaped), also with serrated edges.

Originally from tropical Africa and southern India

I first grew this from seed (winter sown) and it has reseeded very sparsely on its own, one or two plants a year."
#23: Cardinal Climber (Ipomoea sloteri)

@Ron_Convolvulaceae says, "This is one of the true inter-specific hybrids that exist within the genus of Ipomoea.

The hybrid of Ipomoea x multifida was created by Mr.Sloter early in the 1900's by successfully crossing Ipomoea quamoclit with Ipomoea coccinea and while the 1st series of offspring was very unhealthy and unstable genetically, further filial generations eventually produced a healthy and stable auto-tetraploid that was renamed commemoratively Ipomoea sloteri after the last name of the hybridizer.

The term Ipomoea multifida or Ipomoea x multifida may be commonly encountered, but this most accurately refers to the early unstable plants that were first produced by the initial hybrid and there is nothing to indicate that any of the initial unstable plant material still exists in any form. Therefore, Ipomoea multifida does not exist except in the tetraploid progeny of Ipomoea sloteri."
#24: Lemon Bee Balm (Monarda citriodora)

@SongofJoy says, "Lemon Bee Balm can be made into soap and contains natural ingredients to soothe burns and stings."

@imabirdnut added, "This plant is a native wildflower here in North Texas & is a great nectar plant for many insects!"
#25: Henbit (Lamium amplexicaule)

@Sharon says, "Edible Uses:
Young leaves of henbit are considered to be edible raw or cooked. They have been used as additions to salads or as a potherb.

Medicinal Uses:
The plant is antirheumatic, excitant, fever-reducing, laxative, stimulant, and has agents that induce sweating.

It is widely naturalized in eastern North America and elsewhere, where it is often considered to be an invasive weed. However, its edibility and readiness to grow in many climes often mean it is permitted to grow when other 'weeds' are not."

Comments and discussion:
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
What? No petunias? by woofie Jan 20, 2015 2:29 PM 20
fun! by crittergarden Jan 19, 2014 9:08 AM 7

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