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Top 10 Stunning Summer Annuals

November 02, 2022


Colourful flowers surrounding a warm-weather picnic is what summer is all about! There’s nothing quite like a summer garden full of vibrant blooms. Commonly planted in spring, annuals tend to grow quickly and flower all season long before eventually perishing as the air cools for autumn. If you missed spring but would still like to enjoy annuals, purchase some already-blooming plants from your local nursery to enjoy the last of their beauty. Australia’s harsh summer conditions result in bold, bright flowers that can withstand the heat. Whether you’re just starting out with gardening or are looking for new inspiration to add to an existing garden, here’s a list of 10 statement summer annuals that will thrive in the scorching Aussie summer sun.



1. Portulaca

This stunning plant’s succulent leaves help it thrive in roasting hot conditions. Drought-tough, Portulaca is ideal for dry, coastal garden locations. It proudly displays its dazzling flowers throughout the warm months. Ranging from pale yellow through bright orange to deep red hues, you’re in for a treat. It’s often planted in pots to trail over the edge or as ground cover and garden filler. And when it comes to the environment, you’ll be doing your bit as honeybees love this plant’s bright yet delicate blooms.




2. Calibrachoa

Pronounced kal-ee-brack-o-a), these beauties flower profusely and resemble its relative, the petunia. With a 9-month flowering period, this plant is ideal for high-impact but low-maintenance garden colour. A true superstar for the Aussie summer garden! Available in a range of colours from yellows and reds to mauves and purples, it will offer a punch of colour when planted among greenery. Sitting at 20cm high and spreading to 40cm, they’re often used to spill over the sides of planters and hanging baskets.



3. Sunflower

This plant epitomises summer – bold, bright, yellow, and sun-loving. A sunflower is a sensational choice for brightening up your garden or balcony. And all it asks for in return is plenty of organic matter in the soil and regular watering. A lot like sunbathers on the beach, a sunflower will rotate its head to follow the sun throughout the day. This ensures maximum exposure for this fast grower, so make sure there’s nothing in its way. Once in full bloom, its brightness will be contagious and bring a smile to any face!



4. Petunia 

A prized annual in many Australian summer gardens, a petunia plant will adore basking in balmy heat provided its watered. Well-draining, moist soil and regular deadheading will keep your petunia in tip-top shape. Once established, this stunning flower requires little maintenance, which is great if you spend your summers adventuring and have limited time for gardening. Plant it in a sunny spot and make an effort to avoid the easily damaged flowers when watering, focusing instead on hydrating the plant.



5. Zinnia   

This plant loves soaking in full sunshine all summer long. Its sensitive to cold drafts and sudden weather changes so is best suited to consistently warm climates. A unique, textured flower that comes in a stunning array of bright colours, Zinnia will provide dramatic visual appeal to your garden – and indoor vases. It responds well to frequent deadheading and liquid fertilisers and will reward you with a full summer of blooming.



6. Nasturtium 

A sun-lover, the nasturtium plant is a fast grower. A beautifully fragrant annual, it boasts distinct umbrella-shaped leaves and vibrant, dainty flowers – both of which are usually edible. But before you plant it in your vegetable garden, think twice, as the plant will spread like a weed. However, its sprawling habitat makes it ideal for groundcover, hanging baskets, and covering unsightly fences or exterior walls. Ranging from yellow through orange to a rich tangerine, nasturtium flowers give any garden a boost of colour. To prolong the flowering, pick your nasturtium flowers and leaves regularly and enjoy!


7. Impatiens (Busy Lizzies) 

For the cooler parts of Australia, we recommend Busy Lizzies. This plant is known to spread its seeds across a wide area – firing out seed pods explosively! A busy bloomer, this flower will not rest throughout summer with a colour wheel ranging from stark white through blushing pink to deep magenta. Caring for such a relentlessly flowering plant could not be easier. Simply combine moderate sunshine with a couple of waters per week. For a low-growing carpet bursting with colour, plant some Busy Lizzies known to self-sow and watch them go!



8. Agapanthus

A superb edging plant, agapanthus works brilliantly planted along a driveway or in a pool garden. This plant boasts lavender or white-hued flowers and is beloved by Aussie gardeners for its low-maintenance temperament. If it receives regular watering, the plant’s light green leaves will remain luscious in the harshest of climates. Agapanthus adds softness to harsh edging in the garden and looks gorgeous planted as a filler among shrubs. Simply make time to remove older or damaged leaves to keep your plant looking its best.



9. New South Wales Christmas bush (Ceratopetalum gummiferum)

A delightfully festive plant, this is a must for every Aussie garden. The NSW Christmas bush is adored for its dainty flowers that bloom in spring and turn a bright scarlet red just in time for the festive season. The contrast of these flowers against its deep olive leaves is stunning. Plant your tree in a sun-drenched spot to achieve the brightest petals. The flowering stems are lovely when cut and arranged in a vase and will maintain their integrity for up to three weeks!



10. Cosmos

If you love a splash of ‘pretty’ in a summer garden, this plant is for you. Dainty, colourful, and classic in shape, Cosmos is a popular summer annual choice. A sunny site with good drainage is a must to keep the blooms looking their best. A profuse flowerer, your plant will require persistent deadheading to maintain a healthy plant and keep the flowers coming. A companion plant for dill, Cosmos suits a vegetable garden setting as it attracts bees and other pollinators.

Armed with this knowledge of summer annuals ideally suited to an Aussie garden, your future hot seasons are sure to be vibrant! Whether they’re planted in the garden, potted on a balcony, or cut for vase arrangements, these mood-boosters can be enjoyed at every stage of summer.

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