13 best annuals for self-seeding
Growing annuals in the garden has at least two advantages over growing perennial flowers. Firstly, most popular annual plants bloom profusely throughout the growing season. Secondly, many year-olds sow freely and appear year after year in the garden with minimal participation from the grower. They do a great job of growing seedlings for us. Let's see which annuals are enough to plant only once, and then, following simple tricks, meet them in the garden every season.
Of course, in the case of self-seeding, the exact reproduction of all the qualities of the mother plants, such as color, height, the size of the inflorescences and the number of petals in them, is possible only if the plants are species or varietal. Today, many annuals sold on the market are marked “F1”, which indicates the hybrid origin of the variety. In this case, the splitting of characters will be observed in the descendants of such plants.
For example, a tall red hybrid snapdragon will produce offspring with white and pink colors of varying heights. Self-sowing of hybrid plants is always a lottery. No one can predict what unexpected seedlings will appear next year, but it is possible that you will really like the new variations.
1. Eshsholtsiya (California poppy)
A short, compact plant 25-30 centimeters in height, which forms branchy bushes covered with large flowers of rich colors (orange, yellow, hot pink, etc.). In cloudy weather, flowers are closed, but the plant does not lose its attractiveness due to openwork carved silver-colored foliage.
In appearance, Eshsholtius inflorescences resemble a miniature poppy with satin petals, but there are varieties with terry inflorescences, as well as corrugated petals, resembling chiffon skirts of fashionistas.
Eshsholtzia forms a large number of seed bolls, which are desirable to remove to extend the flowering period, however, if you plan to get self-sowing, some of the heads must be left. Eschscholzia is photophilous and drought-resistant, and it will grow well with minimal watering, without requiring special care.
Alyssum creates a beautiful low rug of 15-20 centimeters high, which is ideal for planting on the sides of paths, in the foreground of flower beds, as well as for flowerpots and hanging baskets.
Most varieties have a sweet, honey flavor. But some modern hybrids are odorless, which allows them to be planted by people suffering from intolerance to floral aromas.
Most varieties of alissum have white medium-sized inflorescences or the color of the lilac gamma petals, from dark purple to soft lavender. In terms of coloring, the new alissum hybrid is very interesting. Esther Bonnet PeachUnusual pink flowers with a peach tint.
To alissum looked spectacular, it is better to plant it with large curtains. The plant is characterized by very abundant flowering, however, alissum blooms in waves. And after the first wave fades, all the inflorescences must be cut off, then after a while the flowering will resume with renewed vigor.
To obtain self-seeding, only part of the faded flowers of the first wave is cut off. Also, if the second wave of flowering did not start too late (with the seedling method of cultivation), the inflorescences can be cut off completely, and after the second wave of flowering, leave all seed boxes to ripen on the plant.
In culture, there are two types of Iberis - annual and perennial. The latter has white flowers and low curtains, the main scope of this flower is alpine hills and retaining walls. But the annual Iberis is used very widely, and first of all it is a delicate flower bed, unpretentious and easy to care for.
Such Iberis can be recognized by umbellate inflorescences of lilac and pinkish color. In annual Iberis, flowering is more abundant than in white perennial species.
This plant develops best in cool weather. In this regard, the seeds should be sown in open ground as early as possible so that they can bloom and show their full potential before the summer heat.
Once planting this flower in the garden, you can not think about its further reproduction, because Iberis samosev is very plentiful, and in spring it will be possible to give seedlings to all neighbors.
At the same time, Iberis is hardly a “weed”; its low and not too branched bushes will not take up too much space in the garden, even if they have grown in an unnecessary place, they can be easily transplanted later.
Due to endurance, this delicate flower will independently decorate those corners of the garden where it is difficult to grow something.
Among the garden flowers, it is not easy to find one that would surpass the cornflower, having petals of a purer and deeper blue color than it has. And not without reason there is a shade of blue, called cornflower blue.
In the wild, a cornflower is most often seen on rye fields, but in gardens recently it has been rarely seen. To some gardeners, this plant seems rustic. Nevertheless, in the cornflower there is a special charm, and in modern varieties you can find inflorescences of very different colors (pink, white, purple), and some varieties even have maroon, almost black flowers.
In addition, low-growing compact varieties that do not exceed 25 centimeters have appeared on sale, as opposed to the common high varieties, reaching 60 centimeters.
Cornflowers are very easy to grow, they can be sown in the garden immediately into the ground and only once, and they will independently reproduce. Cornflowers bloom from June to September, but best of all they manifest themselves in the absence of strong heat (in early summer and early autumn).
Read more about cornflower in our material Cultivation of annual cornflowers.
Purslane is the ideal annual groundcover for dry, sunny places, where it appears in all its cheerful splendor with minimal care. Its multi-colored flowers look like bright butterflies, crouching to rest in a clearing.
Unfortunately, in cloudy weather and towards evening, the inflorescences close the petals and become like folded umbrellas. But the attractiveness of plants does not disappear from this, purslane is a succulent plant with juicy thick leaves, due to which the people sometimes call it “oily grass”.
Such an emerald carpet, woven from thickened leaves, looks very original and in the absence of flowers. At the first sowing, it is better to use the seedling method of cultivation, and to sow the seeds indoors. Subsequently, the clearing of multicolor purslane will resume without your direct participation.
Nevertheless, it is important to keep in mind that purslane is very thermophilic and can rise very late (in some years - even only at the beginning of June). However, thanks to the rapid development, plants have time to bloom by mid-summer and delight with flowers until autumn.
For details on the cultivation of these flowers, see the article Growing purslane of large-flowered seeds from seeds.
6. Calendula (marigolds)
An annual plant with golden and bright orange flowers and lime-green sticky foliage. The cheerful calendula is very unpretentious and has a long continuous flowering until late autumn.
Young seedlings, as well as adult plants, can withstand even light frost. Calendula is credited with the ability to protect vegetable plants from pests and diseases, so this flower is popular for planting in the garden next to vegetables.
But the medicinal properties of the plant are scientifically confirmed, and dried heads can be found on sale in any pharmacy. But many prefer to harvest raw materials on their own, collecting inflorescences on their own flower beds.
Calendula is also an edible flower and its bright petals can be used to decorate salads and desserts. Modern varieties of calendula have very large, densely populated flowers resembling chrysanthemum inflorescences. The color of inflorescences, as in natural forms, is most often yellow and orange. But at the same time, you can find very original shades of these colors, for example, calendula "Sunny sunset" cream-apricot flowers, and the variety "Lemon Jam" - fawn yellow.
For more information about what is calendula, read the article Calendula - decorative, medicinal and spicy.
7. Delphinium annual
This annual flower is the cultural form of the field delphinium, also known as the larkspur. This species is a good replacement for a perennial delphinium. In varietal wildlife, large double flowers, very similar to inflorescences of a perennial delphinium, only having more pointed tips of the petals.
Coloring can be very different: violet, pink, white, lilac, etc. In addition, the annual delphinium has very beautiful carved, deeply dissected foliage, similar to dill leaves. Depending on the variety, this flower can form low compact bushes 25 cm high or produce tall, strong stems more than one meter tall.
Spectacular liveliness candles are good on flowerbeds and mixborders, and tall varieties can be planted as an annual hedge. In addition, the annual delphinium is used for bouquets, as it stands in a vase for a long time. This cold-resistant plant can be sown before winter, then the seedlings will bloom from June to August. When sowing in early spring, flowering will begin later - from July to September.
8. Cosmea (Cosmos)
One of the most unpretentious flyers that can be found in almost every front garden, since the care of the plant is minimal, and bright inflorescences-daisies are always pleasing to the eye.
The variety of available cosmos colors is increasing every year. On sale you can find gentle pastel shades or bright cheerful colors. Terry varieties are often found, whose flowers, depending on the variety, may look like asters or scabioses. Sulfur yellow cosmea is also interesting, which is distinguished by very unusual colors for cosmeas: bright yellow and orange.
Large inflorescences of cosmea are attractive not only for humans, cute “daisies” are loved by bees and a wonderful “airfield” for butterflies. Many growers can be scared off by the high growth of this annual, but today you can find compact hybrid varieties. Cosmea is an abundantly flowering plant that will bloom all summer. The first sowing can be carried out directly in the ground in May.
This flower is a popular garden perennial, known even to budding flower growers. However, rudbeckia also has annual forms that are very similar in appearance, but do not form a wintering rhizome.
Often annual varieties bloom more abundantly than their perennial relatives, their flowers are larger, and the color palette is richer. For example, among the annual rudbeck you can even find red-brown flowers, for example, a variety Cherry Brandy.
Due to the fact that this flower gives a good self-seeding, you do not have to worry about reproducing it in the next season. Once a year, the annual rudbeckia sown once a year will independently appear in your garden, and in this regard, it is in no way inferior to the perennial one, being the same unpretentious sunny flower.
The annual form of coreopsis has small colorful flowers, which are distinguished by a very bright two-tone color. Chamomile inflorescences of coreopsis, most often, have an expressive maroon center, and the tips of the petals are painted in white, yellow and pink. Such a combination looks very fun and playful, and such plants will always attract the eye.
The inflorescences of the annual coreopsis are much smaller than those of the most common perennial varieties of coreopsis lanceolate, however this form blooms much longer and more plentifully. In order for the plant to give self-seeding, from the second half of summer it is necessary to stop cutting off faded inflorescences.
In winter, birds can eat heads with seeds of coreopsis, but nevertheless, most of the seeds will be preserved and will germinate next spring.
Read more about growing annual and perennial coreopsis in our article Koreopsis - a flower of the sun.
A relative of garden nigella - Eastern nigella is used as a popular spice and valuable medicinal raw material in the countries of the East, where it is known as "black cumin". In the flower beds, another species of this plant is grown - damask nigella.
This flower is distinguished by very beautiful terry star-shaped flowers of pale blue color with an original center in the form of hooks. In a mixture of colors, in addition to blue, pink, purple, purple and two-tone flowers are also often found, which stand out against the background of delicate, delicate cirrus foliage.
The only drawback of the nigella is the short flowering period, and in order to have a flowering carpet of nigella all summer, you have to sow the seeds at intervals of about one month.
Nigella is unpretentious in its care, this plant is cold-resistant, tolerates heat and slight drought. Original seed boxes can be used as an interesting addition to winter dry bouquets.
12. Euphorbia edged
To many, this annual flower is popularly known as the "bride." And indeed, what else to compare these lush snow-white bushes, if not with a girl in a wedding dress.
From afar, it may seem that the plant has very large flowers, consisting of many white-green petals. However, this is not quite true. Like most milkweeds, the inflorescences of the “bride” themselves are very small and nondescript, and the leaves bordering them are of decorative value. With milkweed fringed, they are attractive with a wide bright white border.
For this type of milkweed, winter sowing or sowing of seeds in the ground is practiced in early May, then flowering begins in July and lasts until frost. The “bride” is unpretentious and hardy; in the garden it is better for her to choose sunny places without stagnation of water.
13. Morning glory
Self-sowing plants exist among decorative annual vines. In particular, it reproduces itself very easily. morning glory tricolor, commonly known as "bindweed" or "gramophone".
There are a large number of varieties of this species of morning glory of various colors, however, they are not reproduced on their own as readily as the original form, which has recognizable dark purple funnel-shaped flowers.
Of course, to someone this “folk” bindweed may seem banal, but busy flower growers often have the benefit of having an independent vine, which will annually curl, for example, a veranda. Indeed, a “bindweed” in a short time forms very long, well leafy stems with large leaf blades and perfectly decorates any vertical surface.
Unlike other types of morning glory, morning glory can be sown directly in the ground, as its development is very fast.
For other types of morning glory, see the article Unusual types of morning glory, or Chic relatives of the "bindweed".
How to ensure the emergence of self-seeding annuals
For annuals giving self-seeding, it is preferable to initially set aside a personal "clearing", where they will grow in a small group, independently reproducing from seeds from year to year.
When choosing a place for sowing such annuals, it is important to choose one where there is no spring standing of water.Also, most of these colors require that the space is well lit by the sun during the day.
Of course, often insects or wind contribute to the transfer of seeds, and next season the plant may appear in an unexpected place, but you can always transplant it into the company of brothers.
Due to the tendency to migrate, in the classic flower beds an independent “sprinkler” of such annuals is not always appropriate, but for natural type mixborders self-sowing annuals are a real gift, because it helps to change the appearance of the flower garden without the participation of a grower and to create new combinations with neighboring perennials every year.
When growing annual flowers that give self-seeding, it is very important to give the flowers enough time for the seeds to fully ripen and sow. Therefore, if you removed faded heads all summer to prolong flowering, you must stop this procedure no later than mid-August. The seeds must ripen, and this usually means that the seed heads are completely dry.
In the autumn after flowering, the tops of annuals are necessarily left in the place where they grew. Last year's stems are harvested only in the spring, as soon as the snow melts. Even if it rains periodically in the spring, it is better to regularly water the place where the plant curtain was located.
This is due to the fact that the seeds lying on the surface of the soil dry out very quickly, and it is connected with this that the flowers do not give the expected self-sowing. If you regularly maintain humidity on such a "distributing" bed, then the shoots will not keep you waiting, forming a new clearing for flowering in the coming season.