Author Jean Morrison
Growing annuals and biennials
Annuals are plants that flower the first year they are planted whereas biennials only produce greenery the first year they are grown and flowers appear the year after. Many annuals are already in flower when you buy them.
You can change the look of your garden from year to year when using annuals. However, buying annuals on a yearly basis can prove expensive.
When choosing plants or seedlings opt for those with healthy green leaves. If the leaves are yellowing or a bronze colour don't buy them even if they are reduced in price. Choose plants with buds on them rather than blooms.
Buy sturdy plants - not gangly specimens.
Check under the leaves for any bugs before you purchase them.
Before planting, take a look at the roots of your plant/seedlings. How matted are they? If they are very matted then you will need to loosen them manually by gently teasing them apart. If necessary you may even need to cut off a lot of the root ball. The plant may have out-grown its pot in the nursery and the roots may have wound themselves around each other in desperation looking for space and nourishment.
If some of your plants are a little gangly then you can snip them back a little to encourage them to sprout out from the sides. Although this seems harsh you will almost certainly obtain more blooms by doing this.
When planting out it is preferable to stagger the rows of plants so that the second row of plants sits behind the first row but in the gaps behind the plants.
Don't guess how far to space your plants. Use a measured stick.