Growing annuals for quick color

This looks like a tough weed.

When you want lots of
color quickly, flowers to cut by the armful and bloom
all summer, you want annuals. For earliest possible
bloom, sow seeds indoors, then transplant-or buy started
plants in May. But you’ll still get plenty of flowers
if you wait till the danger of frost is past and sow
the seed of quick-growing varieties where you want the
plants to grow outdoors.

Annuals will grow anywhere,
in any kind of soil. You’ll get the biggest, brightest
flowers when your plants get direct sunlight for about
half the day. And don’t skimp on plant food and water
if you want the best results.

To convince yourself you’re
both rich and lucky, try growing your own flowers from

Annuals-zinnias, petunias,
asters, marigolds, and the like-are your best bet for
showy bloom you can enjoy within a matter of weeks.
just do this

  • Choose a spot that gets sun for at least five hours
    a day.
  • Fork or spade the soil a good 8 inches deep; then
    pulverize and smooth it.
  • Because seedlings in rows are easier to identify
    than seeds sown broadcast, mark off rows according
    to the sizes of the seeds. Make inch-deep furrows
    for zinnias and nasturtiums, only half that deep for
    larkspur and cosmos. For petunias, sweet alyssum,
    and poppies, roughen soil a little; then sow by covering
    seeds with just a dusting of fine dry soil.
  • Water the rows before planting. Shade with folded
    newspapers, burlap, or a veil of grass clippings.
    Remove burlap and paper when the first green seedlings
    start humping up into the light.
  • Space your seedlings. You can thin by transplanting.
    Move enough seedlings so that each has room to develop.
    This is 12 to 20 inches for zinnias and the larger
    marigolds, as little as 8 inches apart for sweet alyssum,
    phlox, and portulaca.
  • Keep soil about the roots when shifting your plants.
    Settle in place with a cup apiece of water in which
    you’ve dissolved a good plant food, at the rate of
    2 tablespoons to each gallon of water.


Uses: For cut flower or garden
Colors: Almost full range
Height: Dwarf, 1 foot, others 18 inches
Final spacing:18 inches
When to sow: Earliest spring. (Sow inside for
even earlier bloom)
Try these varieties: New Tetra varieties are
very large, often ruffled, and on extra compact spikes

Hint: If you water carefully to keep leaves dry,
rust isn’t likely to attack your plants.


Uses: Masses of
bloom. Cut flowers
Colors: Orange or lemon, sometimes penciled with
a deeper color
Height: Up to 2 feet
Final spacing: 12 to 15 inches
When to sow: As soon as soil can be prepared
in spring
Try these varieties: Yellow Colossal (huge, clear
yellow); Yellow shaggy (more informal); Orange Ball
(vivid color)
Hint: Keep the fading flowers picked to lengthen
flowering period.


Uses: Mass color
Colors: Orange, creamy white, carmine, pink
Height: Up to 2 feet
Final spacing: 8 inches
When to sow: Early spring. (Or in fall)
Try these varieties: Sunbeam (erect, double orange
flowers); Red Chief (single, deep red); Creamy Crinkles
(apricot double); Ramona (golden bronze inside, coppery
rose outside)
Hint: Unless moved with an unbroken ball of soil,
plants do not transplant easily.


Uses: Background for annual beds
and borders. Excellent cut flowers
Colors: Crimson, pink, white, yellow
Height: Usually 5 to 6, may reach 10 feet
Final spacing:: 18 inches
When to sow: Early spring
Try these varieties: Yellow Flare (golden);
Orange Flare (golden orange); Radiance (rose with crimson
center Sensation
Hint: Pinch out tips of shoots frequently to
keep plants branchy and full of bloom.


Uses: Edging. Cut flowers
Colors: Almost every hue, blotched or pure
Height: 6 inches to 1 foot; climbers 18 inches
or more
Final spacing: 12 to 18 inches
When to sow: Sow in August plants for early spring
blooms. For bloom this spring, buy plants
Try these varieties: Oregon Giants, Swiss Giants,
Canadian Giants
Hint: Don’t allow pansies to go to seed; pick
them every day.


Uses: Profusion of bloom and mass
color effects. Edginess window boxes
Colors: Rich purples, crimson, scarlet, all tones
of rose and Oink, white, almost real yellow
Height: 1 foot to 18 inches
Final spacing: 1 foot; farther to bring out
the charm of an individual plant
When to sow:– May or indoors in March
Try these varieties: Try the new all-doubles
and such singles as Flaming Velvet, (mahogany-red),
Cream Star (yellow); and Salmon Beauty (salmon-pink)
Hint:: Choose a sunny spot for maximum bloom.


Uses: Bedding or cut flowers
Colors: Scarlet, crimson, pole pink, deep yellow,
white, amber
Height: Up to 18 inches. Plants tend to fall
over and send out upright branches
Final spacing:: 12 inches
When to sow: Outdoors when danger from frost
is post, or indoors in March
Try this variety: Tetra (largest Flowers)
Hint: Cut off old flowers to prolong bloom.


Uses: Borders; Flowers
Colors: Brilliant rose, palest blush, pure white,
deep violet
Height: Verbatim trails over the ground, builds
itself up to a height of about a foot
Final spacing: 12 to 18 inches
When to sow: In February in the house, or as
early as you can take care of the plants. Seeds are
slow to germinate
Try these varieties: Grow the large-flowered
varieties. Moss verbatim is a good groundcover
Hint: Pinch plants when young so that shoots
do not all grow in some direction.


Uses:: Climbers, bedding plants
or edging plants, depending on variety. All provide
lots of color over long period
Colors: Gold, pale yellow, brilliant. scarlet
Height: Climbers, 12 feet, Gleams climb less
rampantly; Tom Thumbs, 12 inches
Final spacing: 18 inches for Gleams, 12 inches
for climbers and Tom Thumb varieties
When to sow: When soil warms in spring
Try these varieties: The Gleam varieties are
favorites, but Golden Globe is one dwarf not to miss
Hint: Nasturtiums grow well in fairly poor soil.
Rich soils produce too abundant foliage which hides
the flowers and cuts down bloom.


Uses: To cover trellises and to
hide unsightliness
Colors: All except yellow
Height:. 12 feet
Final spacing: 2 feet is close enough
When to sow: Wait for worm weather. Or sow in
small pots indoors, transplant later. To hasten sprouting,
soak seeds overnight in hot water or scratch seed coat
Try these varieties: Heavenly Blue (clear blue);
Pearly Gates (white); Scarlet O’Hara (red); Cornell
(White, edged with carnelian red)
Hint:– Pull up older types that s elf-sow. They
are weedy compared with new varieties.


Uses: Provides perfume for evening
Colors: White, crimson, pink
Height: 3 Feet and up
Final spacing: 18 inches
When to sow: In April or when soil begins to
Try these varieties: Nicotiana aff inisis white
and extra fragrant at night, but colored varieties are
perhaps more beautiful
Hints: Plant in clumps toward back of border. Use as
backgrounds for lower annuals such as larkspurs and


Uses: Mass color. Excellent cut
flowers when cut in the bud stage
Colors: Scarlet crimson, lavender, pink, white.
No blue, no yellow in annual poppies
Height: Shirley 18 inches
Final spacing: 8 inches
When to sow: Poppies are hardy annuals, may even
be sown on snow. Sow in succession to extend blooming
period. Don’t transplant well
Try this variety: American Legion (orange scarlet)
Hint: When sowing poppy seed, mix the fine seed
with sand to insure good distribution.


Uses: Garden color. Unexcelled
for cutting
Colors: Blue, red, pink, white. Doubles are
Height: 2 to 21/2 Feet
Final spacing: 6 to 12 inches
When to sow: Fall or early spring
Try these varieties: Jubilee (dwarf); Blue Boy
(21/2 feet, favorite cornflower blue); Pinkie (21/2
feet, true pink); Snowman (21/2 feet, pure white)
Hint: Try cornflowers planted with calliopsis.
The contrast of the blue with the gold is striking,
Flowers of self-sown plants are usually inferior.


Uses: Slender spikes add vertical
lines to your planting
Colors: Violet, purple, shell pink, white
Height: 2 feet and up
Final spacing: 8 inches, farther for ground-branching
When to sow: Early in spring as possible. Don’t
Try these varieties: Dark Blue Wonder (velvety
blue); Salmon Wonder (salmon-rose). Both branch from
near the soil and bloom only a little later than some
less desirable kinds
Hint: Try sowing some this fall to get earliest
bloom in 1951. Larkspur grows best in cool weather.


Uses: Popular edging plant
Colors: White, purple
Height: 6 to 10 inches, sometimes trailing
Final spacing: 8 inches; 1 Foot or more for
Violet Queen
When to sow:. As soon as soil can be worked
in spring
Try these varieties:. Little Gem (very dwarf),
Carpet of Snow (spreads wider), Violet Queen (practically
the only edging plant of this color)
Hint: Clip back plants on one side when they
become unsightly, then shear other side several weeks


Uses:. Excellent cut flowers, lasting
indoors as long as any annual. Hot-weather borders
Colors: Rose, yellow, crimson, scarlet
Height: 3 feet (dwarf varieties 18 inches)
Final spacing: 18 inches in borders, can be closer
for cut flowers
When to sow: As soon as soil is warm; (can be
sown, indoors in April)
Try these varieties: New Luther Burbank zinnias
have pastel tones. Grow fantasy types where giants and
dahlia-flowered blooms would look too heavy
Hint: Cut freely to encourage continuous bloom.


Uses:Splendid for bedding and edging
Colors: White or pole violet
Height: 2 to 8 inches
Final spacing: 2 inches apart each way
When to sow: A perennial usually treated as
an annual; sow indoors for summer blooming
Try these varieties: Coerulea Purple Robe (deep-violet
flowers, compact growth); Nierembergia rivularis, whitecup,
(Flowers cream-white, sometimes rose- or blue tinged)
Hints: Prefers sandy soil and sun. Combines
well with dwarf marigolds.


Uses: Flashy color in borders.
Dwarf varieties ideal for edging
Colors: Orange, lemon, chestnut-red, often with
dark centers
Height: Tall kinds may reach 4 feet. Dwarf varieties
6 inches to 18 inches
Final spacing: 1 foot for dwarfs; 2 feet for
tall kinds
Try these varieties: Red Hood (new dworf, redder
than most); Flash (18 inches high, in red and bronze
tones), Yellow Pygmy (a good edger); Mammoth Mum (30
inches high, yellow blooms 3 inches across); Sunset
Giants (3 to 4 feet, blooms big enough to brag about)

Hints:. Marigolds withstand heat; use them for
sunny places.

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