Best Annuals for Parker County

These plants are highly recommended for our drought conditions and highly resistant to most insects and diseases.

Annual: Plant that completes its entire life cycle within one year, and then dies.

Warm Season Annual: Plants that germinate in the spring or early summer and come to maturity in the fall, producing blooms and seeds before the first freeze.

Cool Season Annuals: Plants that germinate in the fall, go dormant during winter, and grow to maturity the following spring, producing blooms and seeds before dying in the summer.

Low Water Requirement: Plants that can survive on rainfall alone, once established. These are our hardiest plants, and watering them too much may actually harm the plant. In general, these plants can survive on rainfall alone; and during drought with no more than one inch of rain every 30 days. When rainfall is absent for an extended period of time, or when it is absent during the hottest days of summer, these plants will benefit from supplemental water.

Drought Tolerant: These plants will perform best with one inch of water once a week (including rain). Once established, these plants are able to survive drought conditions when watering is temporarily restricted.

Johnny Jump Up

Johnny Jump Up
Sometime will be sold as Viola
Viola cornuta (Violaceae)

A compact annual or short-lived perennial pictured here in a container. This variety has been used extensively in floral gardens. Johnny Jump Up will easily reseed in garden beds and appear each spring.  The vibrant blooms are deep purple and yellow, creating a solid carpet of color for weeks. Prefers partial shade to full sun in rich, well-drained soil. Can be purchased as beding plants or seed. Use is in small beds to acreage.

Average planting success with this species: 70%
Height: 7-10 inches
Germination: 14-21 days
Optimum soil temperature for germination: 65-75F
Sowing depth: 1/16"
Blooming period: March-August
Average seeds per pound: 408,000
Seeding rate: 4 lbs. per acre
Suggested use: Around the base of trees, flower beds, containers, borders.
Miscellaneous: Keeping the faded blossoms picked will prolong the blooming period.

Johnny Jump Up Violas

Grows in partial to full shade. Blooms in spring in shades of purple, rose, yellow, and white. Spreads aggressively and re-seeds. Deadheading will increase the bloom time. Drought tolerant.


Larkspur Consolida Orientalis

Grows in full sun to partial shade. Mature size varies up to 6'x1'. Blooms spring in shades of blue, pink, and white. Will re-seed. Deer resistant. Drought tolerant.

Beautiful reseeding winter annual with face of a bunny in every flower. White bunny in center with purple or pink petals. Exceedingly easy to grow; comes back each year on its own.

Hardiness: Zone 7

Exposure: Full sun

Size: Height — 3 feet tall; width — 1 foot wide

Bloom time: Spring

Care: Exceedingly easy to grow; comes back each year on its own; plant seed and transplants in the fall

 Everything you ever would want to know about Larkspur.

Larkspur (Delphinium grandiflorum)

By Dr. William C. Welch, Landscape Horticulturist
Department of Horticultural Sciences, Texas A&M University.

Larkspurs have naturalized in nearly all areas of Texas and are known for their tall spikes of blue or purple flowers. Pink, white, and double forms are also available, but the seed seems to revert to the dark blue or purple single form after a few years.

Larkspurs are fall-seeded annuals that prefer to be left in place after germination. They are spectacular and easily grown. A sunny location and well-drained soil of moderate fertility are the major requirements. Thinning the seedlings in mid winter to about 8 to 10 inches apart will usually result in an impressive display of individual plants that can reach 3 to 4 feet tall. Like poppies and other fall-planted annuals, larkspurs usually need little supplemental irrigation, since they complete their life cycle during our naturally cool, moist seasons.

pinkbunny larkspurWhether seed is collected or allowed to fall and naturally germinate in the garden, it is important to remember that modern hybrid varieties often do not come true from open pollinated seed. Seed saved from many of these modern types may have little resemblance to the original flower. Large and double flowers may return as smaller single types, and bright colors may tend to be more muted.

Annuals that reseed and return year after year can be as valuable as perennials to the garden. There is something special about these plants that like your garden so well that they choose to come back each year for another visit. In addition to convenience and economy, reseeding annuals such as larkspurs often add charm and special character, since they frequently come up in places where we may not have planted them, adding informality and spontaneity to the garden. Since larkspurs respond well to cultivation and fertilization, it may be necessary to work the soil and add organic material and fertilizer after the seed has fallen. This cultivation process may destroy some of the seeds by planting them too deeply, but there is usually a sufficient number remaining to provide plenty of plants for the next season.

A frequent problem with reseeding annuals is over-germination and, therefore, crowding, to the point that plants cannot grow and produce properly. This requires careful observation in the garden to check on young seedlings so that when they reach a size large enough, they may be transplanted or thinned. Most young seedlings may be successfully transplanted when they put on their second set of leaves. Some annuals, such as poppies and larkspurs, are somewhat difficult to transplant and do best when thinned and allowed to mature where they germinated.

Young seedlings of flowering annuals may show little resemblance to the mature plants and be very difficult to distinguish from weeds. This requires practice and patience until the young seedlings of desired annuals become familiar. It also implies that most preemergent herbicides and heavy mulches cannot be used in areas where reseeding annuals are desired. The mulches and herbicides are just as effective in controlling the desirable annuals as they are the weeds.

After larkspurs have completed their flowering season in late spring, they may be replaced with hot-season annuals, such as globe amaranth (bachelor buttons), periwinkles, celosias, or purslanes.

Mexican Sunflower

Mexican Sunflower Tithonia rotundiflora

Grows in full sun. Mature size 5'x2'. Blooms in late summer to early fall in shades of orange. Resistant to deer and most insects. Drought tolerant.

Moss Rose / Portulaca

Moss Rose Portulaca oleracea

Warm season annual. Grows in full sun. Mature size is 8"x18". Blooms in summer in shades of pink, purple, red, salmon, yellow, and white. Low water requirement.

Portulaca Flower: Tips For Portulaca Care

By Stan V. Griep
American Rose Society Certified Consulting Rosarian [1] – Rocky Mountain District

A truly beautiful low growing ground cover type plant is called the portulaca (Portulaca grandiflora), or sometimes known as the sun rose or moss rose. Portulaca plants are native to Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. Portulaca flowers are easy to grow and enjoy. Let’s look at what is needed for portulaca care.

How to Grow Portulaca Plants

PortulacaYubiPinkPortulaca flowers tolerate many kinds of soil but prefer sandy, well-drained soil and love the full sunlight. These plants are excellent for high heat and drought tolerance, and will seed and spread themselves very well. Some control methods may be needed to keep portulaca plants from becoming invasive to areas where they are not wanted. From personal experience in my garden areas, I can tell you that these wonderful plants do spread easily and very well. I planted some seeds in the gravel mulch at the end of one of my rose beds and the following summer had portulaca plants coming up in several other areas where I had not planted any such seeds.

You do not need to water often for proper portulaca care. The cylindrical foliage of the portulaca flower retains moisture very well, thus, regular watering is not needed. When they are watered, just a light watering will do, as their root zone is very shallow.

When planting the portulaca seeds, it is not necessary to cover the seed at all and, if covered, only very lightly as they need the sun to sprout and grow. The seeds planted in the gravel mulch in my rose bed were scattered by hand over the gravel and the gravel lightly rocked back and forth with my hand to help the seed reach the soil below.

Portulaca flowers are truly beautiful in various garden and landscape settings and have been used to beautify old structures and stone walkways, as they grow well in the old cracks in the structures where winds have deposited just enough soil to support them. Portulaca flowers are beautiful growing around the stones of a garden path with their mix of beautiful colors of pink, red, yellow, orange, deep lavender, cream and white.portulacamossrose

These wonderful plants will help attract butterflies to your gardens [2] as well as acting as eye-catchers for your gardens or landscapes. They may be planted in containers as well such as whiskey barrel planters and hanging baskets. The portulaca plants will grow out and over the edges of the containers, making a grand display of their cylindrical somewhat moss like foliage and truly strikingly vibrant colored blooms.

One word of caution though, the area around and underneath where the hanging baskets or other containers are located can easily be populated by more portulaca plants the next summer from the seeds spread by the plants the previous year. This, too, has been the case in my personal experience with this very hardy plant. While portulaca is an annual, they do indeed come back every year without any further help from me.

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