annuals for front-of-the-house, full sun, dryish bed?

two_munkeys(z6 ON)May 28, 2006

Had some largish boulders put in last fall and want to plant some annuals (preferably low-growing ones) in front of them.

The area is full sun, and sort of neglected (dry). I'd like something more unique than the standard petunias, marigolds, geraniums, portulaca, etc.

Ideas appreciated!


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lkaa(z7 NOVA)

You could try cuphea. There are a few varieties but I am partial to the mexican heather variety. It gets about 10 inches tall and has small purple flowers that cover the plant. Another variety is the batface, which is more of a trailing plant. There is also Melempodium which has small yellow daisy flowers, super easty to start from seed and fast growing. Also Niembergia which is a low grower with bluish flowers. Pentas would do great as well. And gomphrena which has round purple papery flowers. Many herbs would work great for that area too.

Hope that helps.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2006 at 9:55AM
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Cynoglossum amabile (Chinese about 14")
Gomphrena 'Gnome' (a dwarf type about 8")
Statice 'Petite Bouquet Mix' (grows to about 12")
Sweet Alyssum (will bloom all season with light trimming of faded blooms..also increase mound width)

I can think of lots of perennials (Sedums, H&C, herbs etc.) but am blanking on annuals since I grow mostly mid to tall growing ones.


    Bookmark   May 28, 2006 at 10:50AM
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lindac(Iowa Z 5/4)

Why annuals?
Linda C

    Bookmark   May 28, 2006 at 12:22PM
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I was wondering the same thing, LindaC! I might consider a perennial planting of good ol' Sedum and tuck a few annuals in between. Sounds like a dandy site for German Iris, too. And spring bulbs... bulbs tend to like a protracted dry period.

But, I digress... and I have NO business answering here, since I live in the land of partial shade and "full sun" is but a flight of fancy for me!

    Bookmark   May 28, 2006 at 12:29PM
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I was wondering "why annuals" too. Although, this IS the annuals forum.

I can think of many many perennials for a spot near a large boulder that are happy in the sun and the dry (many kinds of sedums, threadleaf coreopsis, may night salvia, nepata, russian sage, daylillies, garden thyme, lavender, mahonia, hypericum, aubrietas, yarrow...on and on). But annuals, aren't they always thirsty? Maybe cosmos and annual poppies (california poppies).


    Bookmark   May 28, 2006 at 2:10PM
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mtcrafter(z4/5, MT)

Moss roses (portulaca) are great for hot sunny places. I've also had good luck with gazanias. I agree with getting a few perennials that like it hot and dry. I've got Missouri Primroses which love the heat and dry. They only get around 10 - 12" high here but sprawl 2' across or so with huge 4" yellow silk like flowers. There are a number of smaller, tidier perennials that would love the heat and sun. Don't forget the species zinnias which are low growing.

Ann in Montana

    Bookmark   May 28, 2006 at 4:31PM
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franeli(z4 NH)

I have Madagasgar Vinca/Periwinkle: Catharanthus Roseus (sp?)
These are in a very hot, dry place.
Mine are 'Pacifica' white, but they also come in a rose color, a blue/pruple, and a white with a rose center(at least at the greenhouse near me).
Keep them watered until established, then they are pretty tough.
They can take full sun to part sun to dappled shade.
I'm Z4, so that might make a difference for your garden.
I also have annual Dianthus 'Ideal Pearl' very tough plant for dry conditions.
Flower is white with a very deep rose colored center...smell nice, too.
Zinnias for you? I grow the bedding variety, 'Dreamland' from Park', rose + ivory.
Mine take it sort of dry once established.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2006 at 7:16AM
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two_munkeys(z6 ON)

Thanks for all the ideas!

Why annuals? Well, in certain spots, I like FLOWER POWER. There's nothing like a sprawling bed of impatiens or geraniums blooming their little hearts out all summer long, IMO. I love perennials too, but in certain areas, my eye just demands summer-long, colourful flowers.

lkaa - hard to find any of the southern varieties up here except the gomphrena which I tried and just didn't do much for me.

I love dianthus, and always buy them (including some of the perennial varieties), but they just don't perform season-long, unless I'm doing something wrong. They burst out in bloom, then stop blooming, then sporadic blooms every now and again, even if I shear them back after blooming like some recommend.

Don't have a lot of experience with zinnias, but the few I've tried wilt in the summer sun.

I decided to go with the vinca and alyssum. I tried vinca several years back at a different house and wasn't impressed, but then they were in pots and I did neglect them too much (travelled a lot that summer). My only concern is that they might get too tall, tag says 8-10", but I don't plan to baby them too much so I'm hoping 8" or shorter. The ones I tried years ago barely hit 6". (My annuals rarely reach their full potential - about mid-July I get tired of fussing over them!)

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2006 at 9:19AM
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The best annual for hot, dry location is vinca. The hotter it gets the better they like it. Each plant will produce several flowers and they come in several bright colors.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2006 at 8:57AM
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I am trying 'cherry'- something-or-other nasturtiums for the first time this year. Read here that they are good for poor, neglected soil and they seem to be proving true to that statement, as the ones that I winter-sowed are taking off nicely.

I, too, have that dry thing going on in the front of the house- good soil, but dry- and I'm looking forward to the results.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2006 at 10:47AM
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I wish I had the right conditions for vinca. I'll bet they'll be pretty with the alyssum; will you post a photo once they get going?

    Bookmark   May 30, 2006 at 11:53AM
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Jen26(USDA zone 6/MO)

Lantana likes the hot and dry. It can be quite spectacular once it gets going.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2006 at 3:12PM
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janetr(Ottawa USDA 4a)

How about dimorphoteca, African daisies? I planted these in my first flower bed, but haven't had the right conditions for them for years. They look like Osteospermum, but much easier to grow.

Janet's Garden

    Bookmark   June 5, 2006 at 8:50PM
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Hi here is one that takes full sun that i use in some of my contaners verbena it trail and it flowers all summer i grew it last year and I'am growing more this year I love it. Also wave petunia is another one. I have not tryed it i bought some for this summer i will send you more picture at the end of the summer Anna

    Bookmark   June 8, 2006 at 10:30PM
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