Easy To Grow Half-Hardy Annuals

By Thomas Fryd

Here are 5 Half-Hardy annuals which are easily grown and an be started or sown outdoors during May.

Antirrhinum (Snapdragon)

Universal favorites for bedding display or for cutting. Gorgeous flowers are freely produced for several months. Be sure that you pinch out the growing point when the plants are about 3 inches high. This will encourage a bushy habit. Sow seed late in the summer in cold frames if you want blossoms when no one else has them. Winter them over in the frames and set into the garden as soon as the soil can be worked. Grow creeping varieties for the rockery, dwarf varieties (1 ft.) for bedding and tall varieties (3 ft.) for display. Set the tall ones in borders. Group them in clumps.


Asters commence to bloom about the middle of August. Grow them in beds and in borders and there let them flourish until the first frost. They are easily raised from seed. They can be started under glass or they can be sown in the open about the middle of May. Read about them online or in seed catalogs and thank the plant breeders for the many types now available. Be sure that you try a few Dwarf Asters and those with full crested blossoms. Asters prefer a rich soil. They must not be grown crowded. Dwarf sorts should be spaced at least 10 inches each way. Tall varieties (2 ft.) space 18" inches apart.


If early blossoms are required start the seed late in January under glass. Grow on in cold frames and set into the garden towards the end of March. Pansies do well in cool weather and like a little shade. Pick blossoms often. Do not let them run to seed. The more you pick the longer they will bloom.

Start seed also in a cold frame in August. Winter over in frames and set into the garden early in spring. Old plants should be cut back to within 1-1/2 inches of the crown. Do this at the end of the season. The plants will produce new growth from the crowns and flower another year.


It actually is preferable to start Petunias under glass. Grow them for display in borders, in beds, in window boxes and in pots. For color throughout the summer in large rockeries, they are wonderfully well adapted. If you love butterfly bush plant you can actually induce the bushy habit. Just don't forget to pinch out the growing point when the plants as in butterfly bushes.


Being native of Mexico Zinnias thrive on heat, Give them a rich deep soil and water as needed. Varieties are many and all are interesting and easy to grow. You can have compact dwarf double Zinnias with quilled and twisted petals, Zinnias with giant double flattened blossoms or with double deeply developed blossoms. Some kinds are two toned whilst others are tipped with color contrast. They all have a place in the garden from the giants down to the tiny double baby sorts. If you want to grow extra big blossoms feed the plants judiciously and remove all the blossoms but a few. Don't forget that you can sow the seed in the open during late May or you can start seed under glass for earlier flowers. - 29857

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