For many gardeners, annuals are a go-to solution for many garden needs. Annual flowers are a quick way to fill empty spots in flowerbeds, and early-blooming spring annuals make great additions to container gardens. A mix of annual plants can offer a colorful solution for windowbox plantings. However, for any garden, there are dozens of annuals that might work for particular sun/shade situations, soil conditions, and color/plant preferences. The Plant Encyclopedia is a sortable plant database that helps you narrow down the best annuals for your growing conditions, as well as the annual flowers that offer the color and growing habit you prefer. In addition, detailed information on how to plant and grow annuals as well as color, foliage and texture combos will help you create your most beautiful flower groupings yet. View a list of annuals by common name or scientific name below.
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Honeywort, with its leathery grey/green foliage and intriguing blue to purple bracts, is a fast-growing annual native to the Mediterranean region. This drought-tolerant plant flourishes both in the ground and in containers, which show off the semi-cascading shoots. Honeywort is also called blue shrimp plant because of the color and shape of the blooms and bracts.
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An old-fashioned, hardy annual that has seen a resurgence in popularity, the heliotrope often is found by scent rather than by sight. Colorful clusters of small purple or blue blooms top off darker green foliage. Gardeners can’t seem to agree on its sweet scent; some think it  smells like vanilla, others claim it smells like baby powder, grapes, or cherry pie.
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Spider Flower

Spider flower plants create striking focal points at the back of a garden due to their ability to grow 3 to 5 feet tall. Nor do they need to be staked to stay upright. In fact, one small plant can grow to create a small shrublike specimen covered in flowers. (Unfortunately, many gardeners overlook spider flower in garden centers because of its weedy appearance when young.) This plant’s spidery-looking flowers add tropical flair to mixed borders. Hummingbirds and pollinators such as butterflies and moths love spider flower for its copious amounts of nectar. Studies show this plant also attracts beneficial insects that feed on pests.
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A refreshing change from common vines, solanum is a shrubby climber with an almost- perpetual flush of petite blossoms. Solanum is grown as an annual in cold regions and hardy in Zones 9 to 11 where it is semi-evergreen. Solanum is also called potato vine (not to be confused with sweet potato vine). Solanum blossoms vary from white to lavender to deep purple. Its small, medium-green foliage makes a good backdrop for its flowers.
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Moonflower is one of the most romantic plants you can grow in a garden. The large, trumpet-shape flowers unfurl in the evening and stay open until the sun rises. Several varieties of moonflower also give off a lemon fragrance when its flowers are open.
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Mexican Sunflower

If you are looking for a fast-growing plant that will attract beneficial insects to your garden, choose a Mexican sunflower. With the ability to skyrocket upward of 6 feet tall in a single growing season, Mexican sunflower is easy to grow and blooms nonstop the entire growing season.
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More Annual


This colorful annual is grown as much for its leaves as its flowers. The soft green leaves closely resemble water lily pads, which adds a whimsical effect to the garden. 
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Moss rose

If you need to cover hot and sunny ground or you’re tired of watering your hanging baskets every day all summer, look no further than moss rose! Whether you call it moss rose, portulaca, or purslane, this plant is tough as nails and can stand up to almost anything. And with a trailing habit and nonstop bloom power, it looks great in so many settings.
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Coleus, sun-loving with edged leaf

Sun-loving coleus with contrasting-edge leaf margins are easy-to-grow annual foliage plants. The distinctive patterns formed by the leaf margins make these plants stand out in the garden. You can plant them in container gardens or landscape beds where plants will combine with flowering annuals and perennials to brighten the display.