Gardening Tips: Growing Annuals in Ghana

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An annual plant is described as one that completes its growth cycle in a single growing season and a number of them can be found in Ghana.

Last week we briefly discussed annuals and perennials. We mentioned that with beginner gardeners it’s much easier starting out with annuals versus perennials. This week, we break down annual flowers, what they’re all about and how to grow them.

An annual plant is described as one that completes its growth cycle in a single growing season, which is more short term as compared to perennials. This growth cycle involves the plant growing from seed to flowers, setting its seeds and then dying off.

Deciding which annuals to grow depends on various characteristics such as: your preferred colors, textures, but the main characteristic to consider is its ability to withstand various temperatures. 

Generally some plants may act as annuals or perennials based on climate and geographic growing circumstances. Note however that when growing seeds in general, it is best to plant them a depth of two or three times their diameter.

Some annuals self-sow under the right conditions and produce their own flowers the next year, an example of such annual is the forget-me-not.  But most annuals require direct sowing of their seeds and in knowing when to sow annual seeds, annuals can be classified into three main categories: Hardy annuals, Half-Hardy annuals and Tender annuals.

Hardy annuals are those annuals that can generally tolerate harsher conditions such as cold soil and cool air without being damaged.

Half-hardy annuals can also tolerate cool soils and air but are immediately damaged by frost.

Tender annuals on the other hand need warm soil, temperature and air to grow well, they cannot withstand cold weather or cool air and are perfect for our Ghanaian weather; some of these include marigolds, zinnias, begonias sunflowers, and morning glories.

After these annuals are planted and start blooming, it is important to care for them.  Below are some basic maintenance techniques.

Deadheading

This involves tweaking off the old flowers as they fade so the new ones can continue to blossom, this helps to guarantee an all-season bloom.

Fertilizing

It is important to fertilize annuals at planting time with the appropriate slow-release, organic fertilizer. Annuals do not like to be over-fertilized as that can damage their growth.

Watering

One of the key elements for plant survival is water; we’ve all known this from elementary school. Annuals are no different, they have shallow root systems hence require regular water supply. It is advisable to water annual flowers right at the soil level and not over the flowers to prevent staining or install a drip irrigation system or use a soaker hose.

Annual flowers are amazing versatile plants that only last a growth season, so care for them right and enjoy them blossom.

 

References:

www.gardeners.com

www.urbanext.illinois.edu

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