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Hardy Annuals

pokhimpokhim Posts: 210

Hi there,

I want to direct sow some hardy annuals around the garden in the little nooks and crannies and among the perennials. 

I had a look at thompson and morgan and there are hundreds!! Are there any firm favorites that you could recommend?

Also, as I understand it. They need to be sown in light compost, as the seedlings will struggle in the heavy composted manure mulch. Will it be okay to just sow them on top of the mulch and then run a sprinkle of compost over the top and press them down slightly...?


  • daisy doodaisy doo Posts: 90

    Hi there,

    Lots of easy ones to try that look nice with perennials include calendula, cornflower, poppies and nigella. 

    Im not sure about scattering them on mulch but you could try. They often crop up in strange places anyway. If you can try growing some in trays also. Hha are also worth growing, cosmos are lovely in between perennials and flower dor ages you can direct sow in april/may but if you can sow them in a tray now You,ll have lovely strong plants. Annual rudbeckias are lovely too.

    could you not remove bits of mulch to expose areas of bare soil where you would like the annuals to grow?

  • pokhimpokhim Posts: 210

    ok, yep. can just remove bits of mulch where i want them to grow.

    I think i might do a bunch of trays though. I could get 30/40 plants going which would be nice

  • TopbirdTopbird Posts: 7,710

    I don't sow many annuals but regular fillers are Cosmos, Nigella (lovely rich Dark inky blue one available now), Cornflowers, Escholtzia (Californian Poppies) (esp the ivory and deep red shades) and Calendular Indian Prince ( a very rich deep orange with a darker centre)

    The nigella, poppies and cornflowers can be scattered where they are to grow. Maybe you could sow them into compost on top of the mulch.

    Calendula and cosmos are done in modular seed trays - I sow the cosmos a bit later (April) & keep pinching them back until end of May. This produces later flowering and well branched plants (start flowering in August and last till the frosts)

    The cosmos can be large plants (often about a metre high and across) - depends on the variety. I have found them very useful for spaces next to baby shrubs. The shrubs will eventually be large plants so I don't want too much permanent planting around them - but I do want something to occupy that space each season.

    Sarah Raven does some very good colours / themes in annuals. She will also sell seedlings in a few weeksimage

    Last edited: 08 March 2017 13:36:41

    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • Mark56Mark56 Posts: 1,653

    As mentioned cornflowers & poppies, plus snapdragons & poached eggs. The annual salvias are good also but they are only half hardy. All these are beneficial to pollinators. I've sown mine on the lowest nutrient and most free draining soil I have as they dislike the clay, mine are scattered on a wall. They often grow in cracks and crevices. 

    Last edited: 08 March 2017 14:19:36

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