Year in Review: Annual Color

Every year, I review the annual color performance to help decide what plants to plant next year at all my commercial and residential locations. This year was a tough one for annuals; we had winter that stayed around until nearly May, torrential rains of over 25 inches in May, another 20 inches of rain in June, drought and heat for July, 25 more inches of rain in August, and drought again for September and October. A wild and woolly year for 2019. So how did the annuals fare?

I was not able to plant any in-ground spring annuals in March, due to long-lasting cold. However, I did get the containers at the Barn, Bed & breakfast in Valley Falls, KS done, just a week or two later than normal. They like to leave their plants in longer than other maintenance customers, so the spring annuals have more time to grow.

Most of the summer annuals were planted in mid-May. Here are some of the results.

I was able to attend the Midwest Flower Festival at the Overland Park Arboretum in July. While the show was not overly impressive, my eye did catch a few annuals that I will be using next season. Gomphrena ‘Truffala Pink’ is an outstanding plant for hot, sunny, dry or wet locations. You will be seeing it in 2020. Tassel flower ‘Irish Poet’ is a old-fashioned favorite that really impressed me for its color and the fact that bees love it. And I discovered the white black-eyed Susan vine in a rare seeds catalog over winter 2018-19, and grew it in my own garden first to see how it did. Very nice color.

The above mix of impatiens did very well for the Apostolic Christian Retirement Home in Sabetha, KS. Despite and outbreak of Impatiens Downy Mildew 3 years ago, I have put impatiens back in every year since with no problems. 

The celosia ‘New Look Red’ is a favorite of mine to use, and it pairs well with coleus and vinca as above. 

Here in Jeryl’s garden, her and Doug plant the walkway each year with a mix of all the annuals that are grown at Grimm’s Gardens. This is mid-summer color in the garden, everything (on drip) is doing very well. 

Another spot in Jeryl’s garden is along the lawn by the house. She paired begonias, salvia, and coleus together in a near full-sun location for excellent colors. The Supertunia Vista Silverberry on the left is doing very well. 

Last year I started using caladiums in shade contains and really upped that usage this year. They have performed very well in the shade in a variety of locations. 

At McDonald’s in Hiawatha, KS we plant 2 large beds to annuals, 3-4 times per year. The bed on the left has ‘Rockin’ Fuchsia’ Salvia and white vinca, because Hiawatha’s high school colors are red and white. The bed on the right has tropical milkweed, New Look Red celosia, and dorotheanthus. 

Here is more use of caladiums in a shade location. Paired with fuchsia colored vinca and a scented geranium, this container really popped. 

Coleus always does well for me, I especially love the variety ‘Fishnet Stockings’. Paired with ‘Redhead’ coleus, it makes a statement in this part sun location in Seneca, KS. 

I did not plant it, but the helenium ‘Dakota Gold’ reseeds easily and planted itself into this bed and stole the show from the salvias I planted. (I planted the helenium in 2018).


I hope you enjoyed your purchases of annual color from Grimm’s Gardens as much as I did.


Happy planting!


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