summer flowers planting

Tip of the Week: Beautiful, water-efficient annuals

In Colorado, we love our landscapes and are spending more time outdoors where we can enjoy them. While we had some rain early this week, we are reminded that drought is a fact of life in our state. We should look for plants that are easy to grow, can handle summer heat, and don’t need a lot of water.

Annuals for patios and porches

Porches and patios don’t seem complete without a container or two of annual flowers. Choosing the right plants and creating a water-wise container is important and can be relatively easy if you follow some simple guidelines:

Bigger is better

Group plants in a few large containers rather than many small ones. The bigger the container, the bigger the soil volume; that means you won’t need to water as often.

Save water and protect your deck

Place a large saucer under the container. It will not only protect wood decks from water damage but will collect water that runs through the container to be absorbed by the plant later.

Mulch for moisture retention

Slow down evaporation by adding mulch to containers just as you would in bed areas. Mulch helps the soil retain moisture longer, meaning you need to water less often.

Top suggestions for low-water annuals include:

Lantana (pictured),

Portulaca (moss rose),

Low-water varieties of verbena like prairie verbena (Verbena bipinnatifida), and

The reliable seasonal flower, Petunia.

All offer instant impact in a wide variety of colors. Annuals need a week or two with a little more water to get established, and thereafter, only about ½ to ¾ inch of water per week based on the weather.

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