An annual flower is a plant that completes its life cycle in one year. For areas where summer is very brief, annuals offer the best in colorful flower displays. Annuals are also quite often used in cut flower arrangements. If you are familiar enough with annuals, and live in a warm climate, you can plan your garden such that something is always in bloom, no matter the month.
Annuals that have extensive endurance, and will grace your garden with beauty long after others have died include impatiens, cockscomb, and calliopsis. Impatiens (balsam) enjoy full sun, or shade. They come in a vast array of colors, and don’t grow much higher than eight inches or so. Cockscomb (celosia) like full sun. They grow very tall, and have blooms of red, pink and yellow. Calliopsis (coreopsis tinctoria) grows as high as three feet. They sport a brilliant yellow flower with a maroon center.
Annuals that can endure heat and drought include snow-on-the-mountain, four-o’clocks, and zinnias. Snow-on-the-mountain (euphorbia marginata) resembles a small tree, growing to heights of three to four feet. The leaves are pink, white and green with no flowers. Four-o’clocks (mirabilis jalapa) have pink, yellow and white flowers. They grow to 24 inches in height. Four-o’clocks self-propagate vigorously, and are virtually maintenance free in warm climates. Zinnias (zinnia elegans) are a tried-and-true annual that never fail to stun with its beauty, and amaze with its lack of need of maintenance. This hearty flower boasts colors of red, pink, yellow, orange and more. once planted, zinnias flourish with nearly no attention at all.