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To Weed Less, Plant Annual Flowers

To Weed Less, Plant Annual Flowers

By Home Garden Seed Association

Homeowners want a garden full of color. They want a landscape they can be proud of, but they don’t want to devote all of their free time to keeping it weed-free and beautiful.

In pursuit of the proverbial “no-maintenance garden,” many people look to perennial flowers, which do not need to be planted every year (but do require dividing regularly), often neglecting an easy solution— one that offers an entire summer’s worth of color and stifles weeds in the process.

It’s true: Seed-grown annual flowers can reduce the time you spend maintaining your garden, while filling it with glorious color!

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Filling in the Gaps

A garden takes time to reach its mature and beautiful potential. In the meantime there are choices to be made:

  1. Do you plant shrubs and perennials too close together, and then go back and trim or remove excess growth later?
  2. Do you fill in empty spaces with a thick layer of mulch, leaving your garden looking like a lot of mulch and too few plants? Or...
  3. Do you plant colorful annuals in the empty spaces, where they will stifle weeds and add color and interest?

Well, when you put it that way...

Annual flowers are the perfect companion to shrubs and perennials in the home landscape. Once planted, they are colorful, carefree, and they never need dividing. And a border of annual flower will prevent weeds, just as mulch will. But it will do it with beauty and style!

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Five Great Choices To Grow from Seed Sown Directly into the Garden:

  1. Zinnias come in a variety of colors and heights, and perform well throughout the summer.
  2. There is no flower tougher than a marigold, which blooms from late spring right up until the first frost. All marigolds are easily started from seed.
  3. Scatter cosmos seeds in late spring. By mid-summer, the blooms will be erupting from all parts of your garden. Colors range from delicate pink to flaming red, and there are short and tall types, to suit any landscape plan.
  4. Sunflowers make a strong statement in any garden. Ranging from petite 18-inch dwarfs to 12-foot tall giants, they attract pollinators in summer, birds in fall.
  5. Nasturtiums are carefree, and grow best when the seeds are sown directly in the garden. Some varieties grow in clumps, others ramble. And they’re edible!

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Additional Benefits

Aside from the obvious— beauty and weed suppression— there are added benefits to having annual flowers in your beds and borders.

Pollinator services: Bees, butterflies, and other pollinators gather nectar from annual flowers.

Fragrance: Nicotiana, moonflowers, four o' clocks, sweet alyssum, and sweet peas are five fragrant flowers that are easily grown from seed.

Cut flowers: Zinnias, cosmos, sunflowers, salvias, and many other annual flowers will grace your table, as well as your garden.

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