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Annuals Provide Color and Versatility for Landscapes

Of all the plant choices available for today's landscapes, annuals stand out for their unequaled affordability, versatility and performance. The Minnesota Nursery & Landscape Association (MNLA) recommends incorporating these bedding plants into your gardens and landscapes to provide a dazzling array of sizes, forms and colors.

Many annuals are Minnesota Grown by local garden centers and greenhouses. Most modern annual hybrids bloom continuously from spring until frost in the fall, completing their entire life cycle in a single season. In northern regions like Minnesota , tender perennials can have the same growing season as annuals. Plants such as geraniums, begonias and New Guinea impatiens are perennials in their native climates, but cannot survive winter outdoors in our challenging climate.

Annuals planted in flowerbeds do best in well-tilled garden soils that drain well, but retain enough moisture for the plant. Soils that are too sandy or composed of heavy clay are best amended with organic matter, such as compost, peat moss, or well-rotted manure.

Since annuals produce more blooms than most plants, they require more frequent fertilizing. Annuals in beds should be fertilized every two to four weeks, and annuals in containers should be fertilized every one to two weeks. Timed-release fertilizer granules (or pellets) tilled into the soil also work well.

The University of Minnesota has conducted annual flower trials in St. Paul , Morris, and Grand Rapids. Results are available online at GardenMinnesota.com by selecting ‘Plant of the Month.

Editor's Note: Photos of annuals from the University of Minnesota trial gardens are also available online at GardenMinnesota.com under the ‘Plant of the Month' heading.

To find a garden center or landscape professional in your area, visit Minnesota's on-line gardening resource, GardenMinnesota.com.

The Minnesota Nursery & Landscape Association is the state's largest green industry trade association with more than 1,500 member businesses including garden centers; landscape contractors and designers; tree and flower growers; irrigation contractors; and lawn, tree, and garden services.

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