March 16 2012 12:17 AM
Want to go with something new and also low maintenance? The wave petunia, which has purple flowers, with its slow-growing and spreading habit, is one great example, Gibson says.

Looking for a longer lasting pop of color? Try these low-maintenance beauties: the serena angelonia, a hot and dry-loving annual with seasonlong color, or the voltage yellow osteospermum, a super-bright yellow daisy flower. Both the wave and the voltage yellow can be used in ground plantings, containers and baskets. Another one to try is a long-season bloomer, like this one with the cute name—the buddleia flutterby tutti fruitti—also known as the butterfly bush.

“The buddleia flutterby tutti fruitti also fits the always-present need for year-round color,” Gibson says. “For hot and dry locations, mix color contrasters like alternanthera purple knight with the hot yellow of zinnia star gold. These varieties do well with a minimum of watering.”

If you want flowering in the summer, here is a list of the most popular and most commonly planted spring annuals: alyssum, bachelor buttons, begonias, impatiens, marigolds, periwinkle, petunias, salvia, verbena and zinnia.

Begonias and impatiens are among the most popular bedding plants grown.

Begonia colors range from white to pink to vivid red. Impatiens come in all colors, except blue. Salvia is also a garden staple, and in addition to the familiar red, comes in other colors, including cream, pink and violet purple.

In some parts of the country, there are certain species that should be planted in the fall. Popular flowers that are planted in the fall and blossom in the spring include calendula, flowering kale, larkspur, nasturtium, pansies, carnations, California poppies, Iceland poppies, snapdragons, and sweet peas.

Sweet peas are a vine plant—an annual climber—which is also nicely fragrant. Larkspur is great for masses of color. Pansies are a hardy plant that comes in a wide variety of colors.

“Here in Texas, the biggest springtime flowers are the annuals,” says Andrea Delong-Amaya, director of horticulture at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. “The showiest might be the sunflower or the standing cypress, which has a tall spike-y plant cluster of intense and very saturated orange flowers.”

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