Annuals for hot, dry spots

  • Article by: NANCY ROSE , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 27, 2009 - 10:04 AM

Amaranth is a heat-tolerant, old-fashioned favorite.

Photo: Nancy Rose, Special To Star Tribune

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I have a strip close to the street where I'd like to plant annual flowers. The soil is not too bad but there's a lot of reflected heat. Can you recommend some annuals that will do OK in fairly hot, dry conditions?

There are a number of annual flowers that will grow well in your hot, dry site. Here are a few:

Low-growing annuals


Dahlberg daisy (Thymophylla tenuifolia): Small, bright yellow, daisylike flowers grow on low mounds of ferny foliage.

Rose moss (Portulaca grandiflora): Silky, double flowers in brilliant tropical colors and lighter pastels appear on sprawling mats of reddish stems with tiny succulent leaves. Flowers open only when the sun shines.

Hybrid portulaca (Portulaca oleracea cultivars): Look for colorfully flowered selections in the Fairytale Series or Yubi Series of this low, spreading, succulent plant.

Verbena (Verbena × hybrida): Clusters of small flowers in intense, pure shades of purple, pink, red, often with a small white eye, grow on sprawling stems clad with dark green or gray-green foliage.

Sanvitalia or Creeping zinnia (Sanvitalia procumbens): Produces masses of small daisylike flowers in bright yellow, gold, or orange with brown eyes on creeping stems. Tolerates abject neglect.

Gazania (Gazania rigens): A mounded plant with beautiful large flowers in bright, often two-toned shades of gold, bronze, pink, orange and white over a rosette of gray-green leaves.

Mid-height annuals

(1-2 FEET)

Zinnia (Zinnia hybrids): Try the Profusion or Star series for mounded plants loaded with white, bright pink or orange single flowers and foliage that is resistant to powdery mildew.

Dusty miller (Senecio cineraria): Grow this plant for its striking silvery foliage, a perfect companion to bright colored flowers.

Vinca or Madagascar periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus): This tropical-looking annual sports large, rounded flowers in white and shades of pink and purple, nicely set off by glossy, deep green leaves.

California poppy (Eschscholtzia californica): A spreading, low- to mid-height wildflower with cup-shaped flowers in bright orange, gold, cream or pink that rise above finely cut gray-green foliage.

Calliopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria): Another showy wildflower with bright yellow or bi-color gold and mahogany flowers on slender, upright stems. Height varies with cultivars.

Tall annuals

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