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When selecting annuals, you may find that descriptions such as hardy, half-hardy, and tender are used to describe the hardiness of annuals. These descriptions refer to an annual flower's temperature tolerance. Hardiness may vary within genera.
Care of annuals can be found in the following resources:
Excerpt from: Kroening, Mary. University of Missouri
One of the most popular trends is the use of tropical or tropical-looking plants. Tropical plants are very heat tolerant, which makes them a perfect choice for areas with hot summers. Tropical plants typically have large or boldly shaped foliage and flowers, and often colored or variegated foliage. These traits ideally suit tropicals for use as focal points when planted with masses of colorful trailing annuals, such as lantana, ornamental sweet potato, fan flower, million bells, verbena, or even petunias. Interesting tropical plants to try include angel's trumpet, banana, caladium, cannas, castor bean, elephant ear, dragon-wing begonia, mandevilla, bougainvillea, hibiscus, fuschia, and dracaena.
Canna, caladium, castor bean, and elephant ear have a tremendous size variation, and the foliage is very decorative. Elephant ear and caladium grow well in both sunny and shady locations, and their colorful foliage make them fantastic focal plants for containers. Elephant ear can even be grown in water containers because it prefers constantly moist soil conditions. There are many new varieties of fuschia available that make a wonderful accent plant in the hanging basket. Fushcia prefer shade, thus making them ideally suited for hanging under the deck or overhang. Dragon-wing begonia are more sun tolerant than most begonias and are well suited to come indoors for the winter, as are hibiscus, mandevilla, and bougainvillea. There is a new hibiscus available that offers maroon-colored leaves, which makes a very colorful addition to your collection of summer annuals. Elephant ear and canna bulbs can be dug up in the fall and stored as bulbs for re-use the next growing season.
Using tropical plants in the landscape can be a rewarding experience. Knowing how to use, grow, overwinter, and design with tropical plants can help you get the most out of your experience.
For more information, see: