7 great annuals for sunny spots
Plenty of annuals bask in the glory of full sun, with common geraniums, marigolds and New Guinea impatiens among the most popular in the region. But there are so many other, less common choices available. If you're looking to break with tradition and branch out into new territory, try planting one of my favorite sun lovers this year. -- Jessica Damiano
Lantana, like this Proven Winners Luscious Lantana Berry Blend variety, are suitable for beds, borders, containers and even as ground cover. Lantana produces an abundance of solid or multi-toned, deer-resistant, fragrant flowers all season long.
Angelonia varieties include those with white, pink or purple flowers. Plant in the garden or in containers, and snip flower stalks for indoor vases.
Moss rose (Portulaca) is perfect for hot, dry spots, this succulent tolerates drought and poor soil like a champ. Available in many primary and pastel shades. Deer resistant, very low-maintenance; suitable for containers, beds, borders and as ground cover. May reseed.
Zinnia include single, daisy-like types like this 'Zahara Fire' from Proven Winners, as well as semi-double- and double-flowered varieties. Available in myriad colors, including various shades of orange, pink, yellow, purple and white. Suitable for containers and/or beds, depending on variety.
Ageratum is an old-fashioned favorite available with lavender, white, rose or nearly-blue (a rarity) flowers. Suitable for containers, beds and borders, with height among varieties ranging from 6 inches to 3 feet tall.
Calibrachoa: Resembling mini-petunias, these adorable cascading annuals are covered with hundreds of flowers all season long. Sprawling habit makes the heat-tolerant plants best suited for containers or the front of a border, where it will gracefully spill over onto a walkway. No deadheading necessary. Look for "superbells" varieties, available in Red, Plum, Yellow, Lavender, Yellow Chiffon, Blackberry Punch or my favorite, Terra Cotta (pictured). Fertilize regularly for best performance.
Snapdragon: With little flowers that appear to roar like lions -- or dragons -- when their sides are pinched, these aptly named old-fashioned upright beauties are available in many different colors and even a few bi-color varieties, among them: mauve and white, pink and white, purple and white, orange and creamy yellow.