Rotating Annuals provides color rotation which is a great way to spruce up bare spots and problem areas. Annuals can also accentuate a simple pot or window box and have a tendency to create a nice back drop. In most of Virginia one can change annuals three to four times a year. In our area we have many different options to choose from depending on what time of year it is.
The first color rotation of the year would be the spring. During this part of the year one would want to plant annuals such as Zinnia, Snapdragons and Bulbs (planted in the fall). These options are not very drought tolerant or heat resistant. It is best to plant the Zinnia, Snapdragons and Petunias in May. If bulbs are what you desire, it would be best to plant these in the fall to enjoy the blooms in the spring. The second rotation of flowers can be done in July. This rotation period would be more adept to drought tolerant and heat resistant annuals such as: Begonias, Lantana, Sweet Potato Vine, Coleus and Salvia. Many varieties are cultivated in nearly any color to give just the look one is going for. The final planting of annuals would need to be a cold hardy annual, ones which can take frost, snow and below freezing temperatures. Annuals such as: pansies, cabbage, kale, and cyclemen are the best options for this time of year. Bulbs need to be planted now to ensure bloom period is between April, May and June. Remember anything that gets planted in the winter should always wear a fresh coat of mulch for insulation.
What next? Now that your annuals have been planted there are many factors which determine how they grow and thrive. Moisture, fertilizer, and amount of sunlight hours determine how vigorous your annuals will be. It is important annuals receive water every day. If you are to water every day, try and remember how long they have been receiving water. Annuals only need about 7-10 minutes water daily. Fertilization should be applied every 14 days to ensure vigor throughout the plants. It is also important to stay current on weeds. Fertilization will cause weeds to overtake a garden bed.