Planning and prepping for annual garden beds is best for success. If you don’t plan and prep, you might find yourself at Rainbow Gardens having a hard time resisting our huge selection of colorful annuals, and that can get you in trouble if you don’t have things mapped out at home. Take a look at a few things to take care of BEFORE you hit the nurseries.

Begonias are a great annual choice for areas that are a little shadier.

Lobelia is a beautiful, blue annual that loves our cooler early spring and fall temperatures.

Tips For Planning Annual Beds

  • Observe the conditions you currently have in your landscape. If you have an idea of where you’d like to incorporate an annual bed, take note of where and when and how long the sun shines directly in that area. You’ll have to take some time to scout the area at different times of the day to get an accurate reading of your light conditions.
  • Measure the area so you’ll know how many annual plants you’ll need to fill in the bed. Each plant has individual growth habits, so you’ll need to make adjustments when purchasing, but a general 8” spread for each plant can be used an estimate to give you an idea of how many plants you’ll need.
  • Choose a color scheme so you have an idea of what you are looking for when you come visit Rainbow Gardens. When spring and fall annuals come in to our nursery, the abundance of color can be very persuasive so it’s good to have a color scheme picked out so you can stick to your game plan.

Portulaca is an annual that loves the heat and sunshine!

A fragrant annual that can be planted both spring and fall is petunia. 

Tips For Prepping Annual Beds

  • Ideally it is best to prep your beds 3-4 weeks before planting
  • Remove weeds (with an herbicide that does not leave residue in soil or manually)
  • Turn the soil (use a shovel, pitchfork, or tiller) by pulling up and turning over the dirt to a depth of at least 8”
  • Amend and raise the soil with the addition of 4”-6” of organic matter (compost, sphagnum peat moss, soil conditioner etc.) mixed well into the top of the garden bed. Annual beds do best with nutrient rich soil. Raising the beds prevents your annuals from “drowning” in times of extended heavy rains. (If you have a current bed you just need to rework, add 2”-3” of organic matter to mix into the top of the soil.)
  • Add a slow release fertilizer with a ratio of 1:1:1, or 1:2:1 to the bed and mix in well, usually at the rate of 1-2 pounds per 100 sq. ft.
  • Rake your annual bed smooth
  • Water your garden bed thoroughly a day or two before planting your annuals.

Now bring your ideas, measurements, and wallet, and get to Rainbow Gardens to enjoy our beautiful displays of our annual garden offerings.

~The Happy Gardener