Easy Annuals

Easy Annuals to Grow in Cincinnati Area

These easy annuals do especially well in the Cincinnati area. Choosing a plant that is suited for the climate is one of the keys to your flower garden’s success.

We are lucky to live in an area where so many flowers grow beautifully.

I created this list a while back to include our favorite flowers that also did well in the 2009 Field Trial Results at Ohio State University (OSU) for low maintenance annuals.

These plants shouldn’t need deadheading, insecticides, fungicides, mulch (unless noted) or additional fertilizer.

The field trials at OSU are done in a clay soil with a pH of 7.3. They add 2 inches of compost every 3 years.

Unless otherwise noted they were grown in full sun.

Fertilize them only once with Osmocote 14-14-14 and they should be set.

For weed control OSU uses Treflan 6 weeks post planting and 6 weeks after established.

(It should be noted that these trials are done an hour or so North of Cincinnati so it is slightly cooler there.  Cincinnati sits in a transition zone between hardiness levels in the US so sometimes just slightly further North or South can have much different outcomes.)

Alternanthera “Party Time” Spreads nicely in full sun and will take shade.

Alyssum “Snow Princess” This one will look great even in the heat of summer. Great for borders, baskets, and containers.

Angelonia “Angelface” Performed excellent in shade or sun.

Cleome “Senorita Rosalita” Stays full throughout the season.

Coleus “Henna” Did spectacular in sun and shade. You can bring them out a bit by placing them by pink or white.

Coleus “Kong Scarlet” (Word from the wise NOT “Kong Salmon” – it performed poorly.)

Coleus “Versa Burgundy to Green” Looks fantastic.

Coleus “Sedona”

Cyperus “King Tut”, “Baby Tut” These are super plants to get people’s attention. They will get bigger if wetter and cooler. King Tut will work in containers and in water gardens.

Dahlia “Dalina” The whole series does well. This easy annual can be a show stopper.

Elephant Ear “Heart of the Jungle” Great for shade.

Impatiens “SunPatiens”

Lantana “Landmark,” “Luscious,” “Tropical,” “Lucky,” Absolutely lucious.

Lobelia “Anabel,” “Laguna” Good for shade though they will not do too bad in sun either. Delicate. Great for containers or borders.

Marigold “Ameriseed” Watch for this one. It doesn’t need to be deadheaded the way marigolds usually do.

New Guinea Impatiens “Infinity,” Celebrate,” “Celebration” These are your impatiens for light filtered sun.

Nirembergia “Summer Splash Patio” Nice filler plant… Nice container plant… Nice border plant in shade. Where as “August Blue Skies” takes full sun.

Ornamental millet “Jade Princess” Chartreuse green all summer long after early pink and red seed pods.

Pennisetum setaceum “Little Red Riding Hood” Very well behaved.

Petunia Surfinia “Purple Picotee” These won’t take over, they stay nice and compact. Beware the red are not as vigorous.

Salvia “Victoria Blue” You just can’t go wrong with this one.

Verbena rigida “Santos,” “Garden Leader Rigida Rose” Great for an island type planting. Put it in a dry area and leave it alone. Red verbenas are not very strong.

Vinca “Sunstorm Apricot”, “Cooler”

Zinnia “Starlight Rose” Whites do poorly.

A trip to the garden store can be overwhelming these days. There are so many varieties of each flower.  I like to know what I am looking for, but at the same time I am open to new plants.  I don’t like to have my heart set on a certain plant because sometimes a certain series can be hard to find.

Take petunias, for example:

According to OSU trials you really want to get the Surfinia series of petunias… and the Supertunia series isn’t bad either.

OSU advised staying away from Wave, Easy wave, Tidal Wave, and Shock Wave… according to their results these still need some work – at least to be considered “easy” in this area.

However, in my personal flower beds Wave petunias in particular “Classic Purple” and “White” did very well and I haven’t had luck with Supertunias. I can’t personally vouch for the Surfinia series because I have not found them to buy at any of the retailers I usually shop at.

Vinca has a secret too. The secret is to plant them when it’s hot. Do not plant them in early May – they need late may or June. They don’t tolerate cold soil and will get root rot.

We would love to hear which annuals you have had success with to keep your garden looking colorful.

Featured photo by Alex Harvey .