Annuals are plants that germinate from seed, grow and flower in a single season before setting new seeds and finally dying off. Some of the most popular garden flowers are annuals that are either sown directly from seed or by planting out established seedlings sold as young plants in cavity trays.

The majority of cultivated annuals are very seasonal; some only grow in the cool winter months, whilst others require the heat of summer to perform.  A select few can be grown all year round, often depending on climatic conditions that prevail.

Most annuals grow best in full sun, whilst some cope with relative shade. Always ensure that you select the correct annuals for your specific gardening requirements. Plant them in the wrong place at the wrong time of year and the results will be disappointing.

In Kwazulu-Nata,l the planting seasons differ significantly according to climatic conditions that vary from warm sub-tropical to cool temperate. Please be aware of these circumstances.


  • Prepare the soil by digging over deeply with garden fork.
  • Add superphosphate root stimulating fertiliser and compost at recommended rates.
  • Dig into soil and mix thoroughly.
  • Rake soil to correct level.
  • Gently remove seedlings from tray or punnet.
  • Carefully untangle some of the matted roots.
  • Dig a small hole with a trowel and place the seedling in it.
  • Fill in around the root ball and firm soil down gently.
  • Make sure the plant is buried at the same level as it was growing in the seedling tray.
  • Once planting is complete water well to settle in.


  • After planting, a layer of mulch around the seedlings keeps the roots cool and repels weeds.
  • Regular fertilising with a water-soluble plant food at 2 weekly intervals ensures healthy plants.  A 3:1:6 formula is best for flowering annuals.
  • Pinch out the growth tips of tall, lanky plants to encourage basal branching (only applies to certain plants).
  • Dead head spent flowers by removing the flower stalk and developing seed capsule.
  • Prune back any plants that get straggly or untidy.
  • At the end of each season pull out plants that are coming to an end and replant with fresh seasonal seedlings.


  • Aphids gather on the soft new growth tips and suck the sap out of the plant.  Control with a general insecticide.
  • Caterpillars, beetles and grasshoppers chew the leaves.  Treat with a systemic insecticide (only suitable for use on non-edible plants).
  • Red spider mites are a problem on some plants in summer.  Use a suitable miticide.
  • Fungal diseases like mildew and rust on the leaves.  Spray with a broad-spectrum fungicide.
  • Cutworms chew seedlings off at ground level.  Apply cutworm bait immediately after planting or drench newly planted seedlings with a general insecticide.
  • Snails and slugs are nocturnal pests that eat the lush young leaves.  Apply snail bait at regular intervals.


  • Ideal for mass bedding (lots of annuals all planted in one flower bed).
  • Good for adding colour to rock gardens and mixed flower borders.
  • Important components in mixed hanging baskets.
  • Eye catching in pots and containers, both large and small.


Always make sure that the seedlings are seasonally correct

  1. Only plant out fresh, healthy, vigorous plants
  2. Prepare the planting soil thoroughly and feed regularly
  3. Check often for pests and diseases
  4. Dead head spent flowers


  • Tools for preparing the soil and planting.
  • Compost to dig into the soil.
  • Fertiliser to promote root growth (superphosphate or bone meal).
  • Pots and containers where necessary.
  • Potting mix when required.
  • Watering can or hosepipe.
  • Snail bait.
  • Cutworm bait.
DISCLAIMER:  The information presented on this website is intended solely as a general guide. We neither endorse specific plant varieties over others nor claim expertise in stock performance. All information is believed to be accurate, based on private inquiries and experiences, and is provided in good faith. Blackwood’s, including its employees, disclaims any responsibility for harm, loss, cost, or damage arising from the use or reliance upon any information on this website, especially if any part of the information proves to be inaccurate or incomplete. Please note that the displayed photos are not representative of current stock but are used for illustrative purposes only.