Annuals are plants that live for a single growing season. If you’re brand new to gardening, you’ll love annuals. If you’re an old-hand at gardening, you already love these dependable plants. It doesn’t matter if your garden is the size of a high school football field or a couple of pots in your front step -- nothing provides instant color like annuals. Annuals are easy to get along with, and with a few minutes of regular care, they will reward your attention with color from spring until frosts nips the plants in the fall.
It’s certainly possible to plant annual seeds indoors ahead of time and for some people, nurturing the little seeds and seedlings is part of the fun. Unfortunately, I don’t have the space, time, or patience -- I prefer to buy annuals as small bedding plants.
One word of advice when it comes to buying bedding plants – don’t buy cheap plants! It just isn’t worth it because almost always, you get what you pay for. Inexpensive plants sitting on the sidewalk in front of your local drugstore usually aren’t the best quality and all the care and nurturing you give them won’t make them much better. As a result, you end up with spindly, forlorn, unhealthy, disappointing plants. Spend a little more and get good quality plants.
Watch for sales and look for deals. Often, flats are available at great prices, but the problem is that flats usually hold a large number of a single type of flower in a single color. If you love masses of pink petunias or purple pansies, you’re in luck! If not, consider mixing and matching flats with your friends.