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Annual Flowering Plants in Mississippi

No other group of flowering plants provides as much color as quickly and economically as annuals. Annual plants sprout from seed, flower, set seed, and die within one season. Many flowers, vegetables, and herbs are planted every year as annuals. Other plants may live longer in their native lands, but do not survive the heat or cold of the mid-south and are best treated as annuals.

Most annuals are planted in spring and are killed by frost in the fall. However, some, including pansies, ornamental cabbage, and dill are tolerant of our winters and are best planted in the fall for color throughout the winter. These are usually killed by the heat of early summer.

Columbines, such as this Aquilegia Swan blue and white, can thrive in Mississippi landscapes when treated as an annual.Some annuals, such as gomphrena, cosmos, and coreopsis reseed themselves, yielding several years of pleasure with minimal care. Annuals come in a variety of colors, heights, and textures, and their uses are almost unlimited. Unbeatable in masses of solid or mixed colors, annuals are also very effective in small groups or used to soften lines and accent borders.

Many annuals, especially compact varieties, are well suited for containers. Large annuals may be used as specimen or accent plants along the back of a flower or shrub border. Some annuals are vines that may be grown on fences, arbors, porch rails, or trellises.

Annuals are inexpensive, especially when grown from seed. However, they do require soil preparation, fertilization, irrigation, weeding, and pest control. Most are native to semiarid regions of the world and require full sunshine to survive.

Species such as impatiens are native to dark woodland floors and flourish in shady sites, such as covered patios, narrow courtyards, or heavily wooded sites.

Annual gardens are easily established in the smallest and most restrictive of spaces as well as the harsh conditions of a large suburban garden. Their relatively shallow root systems require only a modest amount of soil. Gardeners with sizable yards quickly learn the trick of planting one or two easy-to-grow beds of massed annuals to decorate patios, walks, or pools. Apartment dwellers can achieve a splash of color with a few well-placed pots, wash tubs, or planter boxes of annuals.

Annuals that need full sun, such as periwinkle and marigold, grow and flower best when they receive at least 4 to 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. Woodland species perform best under partial to heavy shade.

Prevent root diseases and other problems associated with waterlogged soil by avoiding areas where water stands after a heavy rain. Also avoid areas near large trees and shrubs that may have many greedy, thirsty feeder roots.

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News

Long, red radishes rise above the soil beneath leafy green tops.
Filed Under: Flower Gardens April 23, 2018

When I have visitors to my garden, I like to tell plant stories. It seems that almost everything I grow has a story associated with it. The stories behind the plants make them more interesting.

One of my favorite stories is about my White Profusion butterfly bush that I originally propagated in class in 1989. Another story is about my variegated Duet beautyberry, a mutation I found in 2000. I also grow a lot of heirloom vegetables, and the stories surrounding many of these varieties are interesting.

Spikes covered with small purple flowers extend from a green bush.
Filed Under: Flower Gardens April 16, 2018

One of my true favorites for the early summer season is coming soon to our Mississippi landscapes. Starting mid-May through June, this plant will have some of the few, almost true-blue flowers in the plant world. So what is this plant?

The common name is chaste tree or vitex, and it was named a Mississippi Medallion winner in 2002. The bloom period begins around Memorial Day on the Gulf Coast and soon afterwards in north Mississippi. The main flowering period lasts up to six weeks.

Several deep blue flowers line the upright stem of a plant.
Filed Under: Flower Gardens April 9, 2018

I'm becoming a fan of salvias for their performance in the landscape.

This group of plants has such a wide variety of selections available from annuals to perennials that I'm sure you can find the perfect plant for your garden. Today, I want to tell you about the salvias I'm growing in my own home landscape.

Rockin' Playin' the Blues salvia is a selection I grew as a trial last year, and it didn't disappoint. The plant produced beautiful blue flowers all summer long.

A white and pink honeysuckle flower floats in the foreground with green foliage in the back.
Filed Under: Flower Gardens April 2, 2018

There’s no doubt that spring is here when the Southern indica azaleas start to put on their show.

These showy -- some may even say gaudy -- flowering shrubs seem to just take over our southern landscapes before fading back into an evergreen supporting role for the rest of the year.

But this column is not about the beautiful Southern indica azaleas, which, by the way, are from Asia. This column is about a couple of azaleas native to Mississippi and other southeastern states -- the deciduous azaleas.

Clusters of bright red flowers are seen on a background of green leaves.
Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Landscape Design and Management March 26, 2018

I took a look at my landscape this weekend trying to decide how many plants, if any, I’m going to have to renovate or replace after our hard winter. I have to say I was really impressed at the regrowth so far this spring.

Success Stories

A piece of hardware cloth encircles a small, layered pile of organic waste.
Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens, Vegetable Gardens

Compost is a great soil conditioner. It helps the soil hold water and improves clay and sandy soils. Starting your own pile is easy and can help keep organic waste out of landfills. (Photo by Gary Bachman)

Miniature green bok choi plants grow in small window box containers.
Flower Gardens, Herb Gardens, Vegetable Gardens

Intimidated by gardening? Yes?
Our advice: start small. You don’t have to commit to a half-acre garden. Try planting a few of your favorite vegetables in containers.
(Photo by Gary Bachman)

A brown swallowtail butterfly with white spots drinks nectar from a flowering pink and yellow lantana plant.
Beekeeping, Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens, Landscape Architecture

Sometimes bad news can feel overwhelming, as if one person can do little to make a difference. Growing plants that support honeybees and butterflies doesn’t solve a major world problem, but it can give these important pollinators a boost while also offering loads of beautiful color to your yard or garden. Now is the time to plan! (Photo credit: Kat Lawrence)

Green leaves cover branches that end in pink crape myrtle blossoms.
Flower Gardens, Landscape Architecture, Trees

Southern landscapes are filled with crape myrtles of all sizes and colors because they are easy to grow and provide beauty for several months. However, they do need a little TLC this time of year. (Photo by Gary Bachman)

Snow covers a split-rail fence and trees near Mount Locust on the Natchez Trace in Jefferson County, Mississippi on Dec. 8, 2017.
Flower Gardens

The wintery weather last week caught us off guard! Several of our Ag Communications team members were on the road . . . including our photographer Kevin Hudson. On his way home he captured this beautiful scene.

We wish all of you a wonderful holiday season. Our offices will be closed from Dec. 21 to January 2, 2018.

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