Some of the Best Summer Annuals for Outdoor Planters

Pink Cosmos Blooming in a Field | Sirichai Chinprayoon

Sowing annuals in borders is an easy and cheap way of filling space during the summer months. These plants can either be sown as seeds earlier in the season or bought and planted as young plants. Either way they will keep on flowering right until the end of the season. The same thing can be done to fill outdoor planters which can then be used to brighten up patio areas or bare corners of the garden. There are many summer annuals on the market, so here are a few of my favourites; some unusual plants as well as those that will provide the best value for money.

Cosmos | jpreat

I just love cosmos. This traditional cottage garden annual is very hardy and will carry on flowering well into the autumn as long as you keep dead heading. A mix of seed will give you pink and mauve, through to white flowers, but there are some unusual varieties that make just as much impact. Try cosmos ‘Candy Stripe’, white flowers with a light pink stripe. The lovely subtle purples and pinks of night scented stock will fill a garden with fragrance on a warm evening. Sow them in outdoor planters and place on a patio to appreciate their scent. The white, pink and purple flowers of annual stocks also make a lovely display with the added attraction of scent. For a delicate swathe of lacy white try Orlaya grandiflora, pure white flowers formed in big, flat-topped clusters. Plant in outdoor planters alongside nicotiana or artemisia.

Candy Stripe Cosmos | D. Haan

There are some lovely annual climbers that do very well in outdoor planters. I am never without ipomoea or morning glory. There are a number of stunning varieties but for me its always the stunning bright blue of ipomoea purpurea ‘Star of Yelta’. Black eyed Susan or clock vine is another cheerful climber to brighten up any patio with its orange flowers that have a black centre. Mina lobata is an exotic looking climber with flowers that start off a stunning bright red and fade to orange, yellow and then white.

Sky blue morning glory | Maljalen

Of course a mix of annual bedding plants will always make a pretty display for outdoor planters. Choose a colour scheme and mix petunias with geraniums, violas, ageratum, nicotiana, verbena, fuschia, begonia and busy lizzy – the list is endless. For the best displays make sure your colours compliment each other and that you have a mix of different plant heights, as well as something that will trail over the side of the container and soften the edges.

Ipomoea lobata (Mina lobata or Spanish Flag) is a quick-growing annual climber, with cascades of flowers, starting flame-red at the tip and fading to cream. | Sebastiano Secondi

Source: Jo Poultney

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