Home Sweet Home Magazine - May 2021

2. Sunflowers The golden child of easy-to-grow flowers, sunflowers produce large sunny blooms atop sturdy, long stems. Most sunflower varieties are annuals, which are ideal for both ease of planting and an even bigger reward at harvest time — sunflower seeds! Plant seeds mid- to late May and, enjoy giant daisy-like flowers in yellow, orange or bronze that bloom for several weeks in midsummer. Some sunflowers can grow up to 14 feet tall, with some as short as one foot. Sunflowers need plenty of full sunlight and will do best in loose, well-draining soil with plenty of organic matter due to their long taproots.

USDA Hardiness: Zones 2 to 11

3. Marigolds A favorite of the low-fuss flower bunch, marigolds are one of the easiest annuals to grow from seed. Boasting colorful carnation-like blooms ranging from creamy white to golden-orange to maroon, marigolds bring an unmistakable cheer to garden plots and patio pots from spring to fall. Depending on variety, marigolds can grow from 8 to 36 inches tall and will thrive in sunlight and hot temperatures; just keep them away frommoisture or shade. Numerous marigold varieties abound, so you can decide which will work best for your garden. Tall, elegant African marigolds look great in flower beds, while shorter, bushier French marigolds do well in patio pots.

USDA Hardiness: Zones 2 to 11

4. Zinnias Another easy-to-grow annual, zinnias add joy to any garden with their vivid heads that bloom in almost every color except for blue. Zinnia flowers range from having a single row of petals to having numerous petal rows and are often similar to daisies, dahlias, pom poms and spiders in appearance. A diverse bunch, zinnias are available in different shapes and sizes such as “beehive,” “button” and “cactus.” Like marigolds, zinnias do well planted from seed right in the garden bed, and can grow 2 to 3 feet tall and 6 to 12 inches wide in diameter. Plant easygoing zinnias in full sun, and give them plenty of air circulation to prevent disease. Though zinnias are adaptable to moist soils, they do best in well-drained soil with organic matter.

USDA Hardiness: Zones 3 to 10


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