This blog is about growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area

September 29, 2014

Planting annual flowers in the Phoenix, Arizona area - Vinca

A few seasons ago I decided to go ahead and plant annual flowers. Before that, I resisted planting anything that would only live for a short while, but, well, annuals are worth the trouble. But, as you would imagine, I've made mistakes along the way. So, here are some things that I've learned.

• Avoid the temptation to come home with too many. Yeah, they're only $2.19 a six-pack, so I've filled up my shopping cart and brought a whole bunch home at one time. Mistake. If you've got twenty-four, or thirty-six, little plants to get in the ground, you just aren't going to be very careful about it. Unless you're doing it the way it's done in front of shopping centers, where they prepare a huge bed and them jam them all in next to each other in quantity, chances are that you will either try planting them too quickly, or fail to get them into the ground in a timely manner. I limit myself to two six-packs. I've done back to Home Depot about three times this season, and will go back again. Each plant is a living thing that deserves your care, regardless of its price tag.

• Avoid the temptation to buy them in a larger size than a six-pack. Planted properly, annuals, like the Vinca in the photo, will grow fast. There is no need to pay for larger plants. Plant them properly, care for them, and they will take care of the growing, fast. If you feel like spending more money, buy some potting soil, and some fertilizer. Buying them small and giving them what they need will give you the pleasure of seeing them bloom and grow. Buying them big and neglecting them will only give you the opportunity of seeing them slowly die, sometimes not so slowly.

• Water them. As much as you want. I don't care that it just rained. Go fill your watering can, add some Miracle-Gro, and water them again. Annuals love water. If you're the kind of person who tends to overwater plants (killing them with kindness), have no worries about annuals. They love attention.

• Trim them. Don't be afraid to give them a haircut. Annuals that are neglected can get ratty. Believe me, they'll grow back!

So there you go. Now go get those annuals and sprinkle them around the garden. You can plant them in the Phoenix, Arizona area all through winter, and they will bloom through late spring.
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