Planting annuals: A four-stage plan

Antonio & Delsy Lawn Care of Nashville helps your gardens grow


You’ve got the plants and the yard space. Now what?

Sometimes, our eyes are bigger than our ability (or desire) to do the actual gardening work. You know how it is: You pass a neighbor’s glorious peonies on your evening walk. Your green-thumb neighbor comes up with enviable bunches of lavender every year. And you can’t stop clicking on those Better Homes & Gardens slideshows! (It’s basically crack for gardeners.)

But all those gardening fantasies don’t always become reality. Even if you’re skipping the hardcore perennials and shrubs, the annuals can seem like a chore. Some of us have actually been known to pick up a flat of annuals at the nursery and then let them sit on the porch until they’ve withered into twisted brown husks. If you have a top-notch Nashville lawn care company at your service, of course, you can always delegate. If you really want to do it yourself, though, it’s not that hard if you divide it up into steps.

1. Figure it out before you buy

The first thing you need to do is figure out where you’re putting all your gorgeous new plants — before you buy all those gorgeous new plants. If you want pots of petunias on the front porch, will you get enough sun? Will fussy lobelia survive in a window box on a wall with western exposure?

If you haven’t paid attention before, you might want to do a sun study: Simply take note of how much sun each area of your yard gets. You can walk out every hour, take a picture with your phone and note the time of day. That way, you’ll know if you’re getting six hours of brutal afternoon sun (no lobelia there!) or maybe several hours of dappled sunlight (impatiens might be happy here).

If you already have pots and containers, rid them of last year’s dirt and, at the very least, wipe them down.  Conscientious gardeners will advise rinsing them out to reduce the chance of parasites and pests that can damage plants.

Make a list BEFORE you go to the nursery. Unless you just want to spend a week’s salary on plants you don’t have room for.

And make sure you’ve got enough potting soil, containers and any fertilizers, like Miracle-Gro, that you might want to use.

Once you get to the garden center, you’ll typically find markers tucked inside the plastic pots that indicate whether a plant grows best in sun or shade. If you still have questions, grab an employee. They’re usually pretty knowledgeable.

Some of our favorite places to buy:

Bates Nursery

Gardens of Babylon

Moore and Moore Garden Center

2. Plan your shade garden

Hostas, azaleas and Japanese painted fern are great perennial options, while your annual plan can include impatiens, wax or tuberous begonias, fuchsia, euphorbia and bush violet. Ivy and Virginia creeper also do well in shade, but they can be invasive.

3. Find plants that love sun

Sunny gardens can explode with color all summer long, as long as you keep them well watered. Plants that will thrive in your sun garden include snapdragons, zinnias, Persian shield, verbena and petunias. For perennials, roses are always a favorite, and knock-out roses are practically fool-proof.

4. Don't just plant them and forget them

Got everything in the ground? Great. You're still not done. Arguably, this is where the real work beings. The three most important tips for a successful garden are water, water, water. A few inches of your favorite mulch will help the soil retain moisture and will also help keep weeds at bay. Take note of plants that need deadheading — cutting back spent blooms encourages new growth all season. Verbena in particular responds well, as do petunias.

Let us help your garden grow

We not only provide mowing services, Antonio & Delsy Lawn Care can also take care of your maintenance and landscaping needs. We’ll weed the beds, expand gardens and install borders, add mulch and help transplant. We pride ourselves on competitive pricing and our professional and friendly crew. We’ve been taking care of lawns in Nashville and Middle Tennessee for 15 years. Just call us at 615-977-7671 or email us at for a free estimate. We look forward to hearing from you. Happy gardening!