Tired of planting the same old marigolds, petunias, and begonias? Try some different annuals in your garden this year. Many provide pollen and nectar for pollinating insects and attract hummingbirds. Here are a few of my favorites that I always incorporate into my landscape. They will perform well in South Carolina’s hot, humid summers, and with proper care, these annuals will continually bloom until frost.
Angelonias (Angelonia angustifolia): Commonly called summer snapdragons, angelonias are great additions to containers or annual beds. They come in a wide variety of colors ranging from pink, rose lilac, lavender, purple, blue, white, and bicolor. Once established, they are heat and drought tolerant. Angelonias are also deer resistant, making them an excellent choice to use in a landscape where Bambi frequently dines. Sizes range in taller cultivars that may reach heights of 3 feet to ones that are 10 to 12 inches tall and have a trailing growth habit.
For more information on angelonia, see HGIC 1187, Angelonias – Summer Snapdragons.
Cleome (Cleome hassleriana; synonym C. pungens, C. spinosa): Want to attract hummingbirds, butterflies, bees, and other pollinating insects to your garden? Then cleome is an excellent annual choice. Another common name is spider flower due to its pink, rose, purple, white, or bicolor spider-like flowers followed by spidery seed pods. Older cultivars that produce viable seed may be directly sown in the landscape. Newer hybrids are sterile; therefore, plants must be purchased for installation.
For more information on cleome, see HGIC 1196, Cleome or Spider Flower
Melampodium (Melampodium divaricatum; synonym M. paludosum): Melampodium or butter daisy ranks high on my list of summer annuals to plant in my own home landscape. It’s one of the easiest annuals to grow and prefers well-drained soil and full sun. The yellow flowers are self-cleaning and require no deadheading, thus eliminating that back breaking garden chore. Butterflies, bees, and other pollinating insects are attracted to the flowers; and best of all, melampodium is deer resistant.
For more information on melampodium, see HGIC 1195, Melampodium or Butter Daisy.
Fan flower (Scaevola aemula): My favorite fan flower color is blue, but cultivars with purple, pink, or white flowers are also available. The dainty fan-shaped flowers give this tough annual its common name. Growing best in full sun to part shade, be careful not to keep the plants too wet as root rot may become a problem. This is an excellent choice for hanging baskets, window boxes, and containers.
For more information on fan flower, see HGIC 1197, Scaevola or Fan Flower.