How to Select Annual Flowers for Containers

Snapdragons will add dramatic height to your annual container.
Snapdragons will add dramatic height to your annual container. (Image: NA/ Images)

Spring- and summer-blooming annuals provide long-lasting color in your landscape, and work well in containers. Planting one type of annual in a container can brighten your surroundings, but combining plants with different colors and textures makes a more interesting display for your patio, deck or entry. Follow a few design tips to create an annual container garden you can enjoy all season.

Select annuals for one container, or a grouping of containers, that have the same requirements for light and water. Make sure they are suitable for the location where you will put the container. Take into account how much sun, shade and wind the site receives, as well as any reflected heat from surrounding stone, concrete or brick.

Design your annual container so it has taller flowers for height and drama, shorter flowers to fill in below, and trailing plants to attractively cascade down the sides of the pot. Include plants with colorful or textured foliage.

Choose tall flowering annuals like asters, geraniums and snapdragons, and taller varieties of zinnias and marigolds. Shorter annuals to consider for the bulk of your container include begonia, impatiens, lobelia, pansy, petunia and shorter versions of marigolds, zinnias and snapdragons. Dusty Miller, with its frosty foliage, is a good choice for adding texture in the center of the planting. Add trailing plants like "Wave" petunias, sweet potato vine and ivy.

Take a sniff test of your proposed container combination before planting, to make the combined fragrance of your selected plants is not overwhelming or unappealing.

Tips & Warnings

  • Succulents can also be used for planters.

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