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Heat Loving Replacement Annuals for Containers

Many container plants look terrific during spring and early summer.  But then July and August roll in, with heat that zaps the vitality of spring annuals, such as pansies, sweet pea and annual baby’s breath.

Gardeners can revive their container arrangements in warmer months by pruning back overgrown plants and removing dried out, weather-damaged annuals.  Replace those sad plants with heat-loving annuals.

Which annuals can take the heat?  Here’s a list:

  • Angelonia.  Available in blue, purple, pink, white and bicolors, this snapdragon-like favorite doesn’t require deadheading or pinching.
  • Plume celosia.  This heat lover comes in pink, red, yellow, and orange, and prefers consistent moisture and an extra shot of fertilizer.
  • Geranium.  Both the zonal and ivy leaf varieties perform magnificently.  They come mostly in shades of red, pink, lavender and white.  Pinch off spent blooms to encourage flowering.
  • Lantana.  Available in upright and trailing forms, this multi-colored, drought-tolerant plant survives in part shade as well as full sun.
  • Marigold.  This stalwart comes in shades of yellow, orange and red, as well as in bicolors.  Deadhead faded flowers promptly to encourage bloom.
  • Spreading petunia.  Unlike many of their upright cousins, spreading petunias offer outstanding heat and drought tolerance, as well as low maintenance.  Look for Wave hybrids, as well as petunias in the Avalanche, Ramblin’ and Trilogy series.
  • Denver daisy rudbeckia.  This cheery Plant Select® annual features masses of 4-to-6-inch golden blooms with chocolate centers against attractive deep green foliage.  This plant prefers moderate to dry moisture.
  • Zinnia and creeping zinnia.  Zinnias come in every color except blue and brown.  They also offer an amazing variety of flower forms, including single, semi-double, double, ruffled, dahlia, cactus and small pompoms.  Many varieties produce excellent cut flowers.

Be sure to water plants well after transplanting.  Also, fertilize them periodically to encourage continued bloom.

For more information about strong-performing annuals, review the “Best Of” annual awards at http://www.flowertrials.colostate.edu/.


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Updated Friday, April 11, 2014