Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day

Annuals That Self-Sow!

20150424The very best annuals are those that self-sow…  At least that’s my opinion as a laidback gardener. You sow them the first year, directly in the ground where you want them to grow, in either early spring or mid-automn, then they come back year after year from seeds that fall to the ground around the mother plant. Compared to the more common bedding annuals you have to start indoors and transplant into the garden year after year, it’s much less work! And much less expense too!

Obviously, for annuals to be able to self-sow, you need to do two things.

First, don’t deadhead them. After all, if you suppress their fading flowers, where will next year’s seeds come from?

Secondly, leave at least a few spaces free of mulch. Mulch is a great product and I use it abundantly, but it does prevent seeds from germinating.

Here are a few of the annuals that self-sow faithfully for me:

Amaranthus (Amaranthus caudatus)
Annual Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum carinatum and C. coronarium)
Bachelor’s button (Centaurea cyanus)
Balsamine (Impatiens balsamina)
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
Blue Tansy (Phacelia tanacetifolia)
Blue Woodruff (Asperula orientalis)
California Popply (Eschscholzia californica)
Chinese Forget-me-Not (Cynoglossum amabile)
Clarkia (Clarkia unguiculata)
Cleome (Cleome hasslerana)
Coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria)
Corncockle (Agrostemma githago)
Cosmidium (Cosmidium burridgeanum)
Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus and C. sulphureus)
Flowering Tobacco (Nicotiana sylvestris)
Gilia (Gilia capitata and G. tricolor)
Godetia (Clarkia amoena)
Larkspur (Consolida ambigua, C. regalis, formerly Delphinium)
Lavatera (Lavatera trimestris)
Love-in-a-Mist (Nigella spp.)
Morning Glory (Ipomoea tricolor and I. nil)
Opium Poppy (Papaver somniferum)
Painted Sage (Salvia viridis)
Pansy (Viola x wittrockiana)
Perilla (Perilla frutescens)
Poached Egg Plant (Limanthes douglasii)
Policeman’s Helmet (Impatiens glandulifera)
Portulaca (Portulaca grandiflora)
Pot Marigold (Calendula officinalis)
Scarlet Flax (Linum grandiflorum)
Shirley Poppy (Papaver rhoeas)
Sunflower (Helianthus annuus)
Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima)
Sweet Scabious (Scabiosa atropurpurea)
Sweetpea (Lathyrus odoratus)
Tall Verbena (Verbena bonariensis)
Thorowax (Bupleurum rotundifolium)
White Lace Flower (Orlaya grandiflora)

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

1 comment on “Annuals That Self-Sow!

  1. Pingback: Self-Seeding Vegetables: The Easy Way Out – Laidback Gardener

Leave a Reply

Sign up for the Laidback Gardener blog and receive articles in your inbox every morning!

%d bloggers like this: