What do you need?

Use the search below to search the site or find your local unit office.

Return to Skip Menu

Main Content

Annuals: Culture and Maintenance


426-200 (HORT-85P)

Authors as Published

Diane Relf, Extension Specialist, Environmental Horticulture, Virginia Tech; Elizabeth Ball , Program Support Technician, Virginia Tech

Reviewed by Leslie Peck, Graduate Assistant, Horticulture, Virginia Tech; Holly L. Scoggins, Associate Professor, Horticulture, Virginia Tech

    Cover, Annuals: Culture and Maintenance

This publication is available in PDF format only.

Annual flowers live only for one growing season, during which they grow, flower, and produce seed, thereby completing their life cycle. Annuals must be set out or seeded every year since they don’t persist. Some varieties will self-sow, or naturally reseed themselves. This may be undesirable in many flowers because the parents of this seed are unknown and hybrid characteristics will be lost. Plants will scatter everywhere instead of growing in their designated spot. Examples are alyssum, petunias, and impatiens. Some perennials, which are plants that live from year to year, are classed with annuals because they are not winter-hardy and must be set out every year; begonias and snapdragons are examples. Annuals have many positive features. They are versatile, sturdy, and relatively cheap. Plant breeders have produced many new and improved varieties. Annuals are easy to grow, produce instant color, and, most important, they bloom for most of the growing season. Many annuals are able to thrive without the need of grooming due to their “self-cleaning” ability.


Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.


Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Interim Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.


January 14, 2015