My favorite inexpensive annuals for planters

April 24, 2017

This is by far my least thrifty time of the year. The temps go up and I can't wait to get started adding flowers to the flower beds and pots. I still haven't found a way to save on buying annuals. I do have a few tricks I use that I'll go over here but overall adding flowers every spring is always an investment! 

Thankfully they stay through October so I get my money out of them! :) I don't add a TON of annual flowers -- I try to plant flowering perennials like hydrangeas and roses to add color to our landscaping. That way you're spending the money once and the color comes back year after year. 

But I'm a total sucker for the petunia. I add them all over the place in the spring: 
Hanging flower baskets on pergola

I added up that I planted about 85 petunias yesterday! Wow. You do save if you buy them in bulk, so the flats of any plant will save you some money. 

As you can see I planted the hanging baskets around our pergola. Baskets with flowers flowing out of them were my dream when we had this space in mind years ago. :) I love petunias -- they fill in so beautifully and end up spilling out of them. There are "wave" petunias that do this even more than the regular versions. But both fill in a pot or the flower beds nicely. 

I've used red and purple four our flowers for years now. I always go back to this combo, with some white thrown in at times. It is so bright and looks great with our house and deck: 
Pergola with hanging baskets and lights

We have a tiny little porch out front but I always try to make the best of it each season! We had our front steps extended years ago and having the wider steps is the BEST! Now I can put my plants on there and not worry about them getting in the way: 
Overflowing petunia flower pots

I picked a new welcome mat a few weeks ago to replace our worn out one and it's one of those little things that makes the entry so welcoming. :) 

I splurged on the planters here -- although I think to get them this full I actually would have spent more on numerous smaller plants. I like these to be big and full so I just used a hanging basket and plopped them inside the basket. I didn't even replant them...easy peasy. :) If you don't want a lot of color, ferns are a great option that really fill in the pots nicely and they aren't that expensive. 

On our other baskets around the pergola I didn't need them to be quite as full (because it will fill in later) so I find it cheaper to plant them myself instead of using hanging displays that are already planted. I will keep soil from season to season too -- when the annuals are done for the year I'll keep the "good" soil that's left and then use it the next year. It saves a lot on soil and as long as I fertilize they always do wonderfully. 

We had the beds mulched last week (not a job we do because we just need SO much of it) and it makes everything look and feel (but not smell 😆) so fresh! I added some color to the front beds with some more of the purple and red petunias:
Tricks to save on flowers every spring

I added groups of them in a few spots along the front and they will fill in over the next couple of weeks nicely. I love the green, red and purple against the dark mulch. Yesterday I planted nearly 100 petunias, five hanging planters and six pots! The nice thing is I'm pretty much done for the next five months or so.

You can see how I added that little detail on the garage a few years ago here. I still love it!!:
how to decorate a small porch

My husband mowed, edged and got to the weeds while I planted. My finishing touch was to put the flag back up. Want to instantly make your home exterior feel more homey? 

Add a flag!: 
small porch decorating

Now I want to change out the DIY spring wreath with some red and purple flowers instead of the white and yellow. Thankfully it's super easy to change them out -- be sure to check out that post to see how to do it! 

I love this time of year! Fall is my absolute favorite season but spring is catching up! The weather has been so wonderful and everything feels so fresh and new. :)

Do you plant a lot of annuals every year? What are your favorites? I love petunias because I feel like you get more bang for your buck. They grow and fill in so well and end up much bigger than when you planted them. 

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  1. The plants and flowers really make a difference! How I wish I didn't live in the city now!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  2. I'm a huge fan of begonias. They just flower and flower all season long.

  3. I think Lantana in GA, we just moved to TN, but the previous home homeowner had some planted. In Ga Lantana did great with little water, and even came back every year though it is an annual.

  4. Love them all I am afraid. You are correct, petunias fill out so nicely. I am actually surprised that you were planting this early. I live in Michigan and I am afraid to plant before Memorial Day. I vividly remember planting one Mother's Day only to have to cover them shortly thereafter because of a frost that came through.

  5. Any special tricks for keeping the rabbits from eating your petunias? One year they cleaned mine out so I've been hesitant to plant them in the ground since.

    1. Marigolds! The scent keeps critters away. I have even outlined my veggie garden in them.

  6. I love the spring planting post Your home looks so pretty and inviting It's so nice to walk past houses where the owners obviously love and care for them. Our favourites are red geraniums, lavender (lots) and night scented stock (don't know if you call it this in the US? The scent of an evening is amazing and reminds me of my childhood as my father used to plant it. We have a very shady border which is planted up with several varieties of hostas which return bigger each year and look stunning even without flowers. Have a great day from the UK.

  7. Your home looks so pretty and ready for summer. I'm always surprised how much further ahead in the season you are in Indiana versus us in Wisconsin. I wouldn't think of planting until at least Mother's Day due to late frost, although this weekend was beautiful. I like to use a combination of petunias, geraniums and daisies. We have a tradition of going to the Amish greenhouses the Saturday before Mother's Day to pick up our plants!

  8. Please, please teach me what you do with your petunias in the heat of summer. I have tried over and over because I love petunias. But it seems they just get scraggly and leggy.....
    Thanks, your home is lovely!

    1. Pinch them back (literally use your fingers to pinch off old blooms but you can go down the stem quite a but further). They will grow thicker & bushier, I promise.

  9. Your home looks lovely! I also plant annuals. I have containers on our deck and front porch that I do a variety of annuals, ferns and for a trailing plant... Creeping Jenny. Lantana in the sun does well for our hot humid summers down South in Tennessee and Impatiens for shade. I also have a Wave Petunia basket on my shepherds hook. I also love Boston Ferns. It does add up but I do a little each week so it doesn't hurt so bad in the pocket book. Next week is the window boxes!

  10. I don't plant annuals because I have an explosion of colors of perennials plus the roses every year and here in Central California everything is blooming now. Love the wreath on the front door!

  11. I adore Petunias and use them every year, also. But I mix in other flowers as well. I add more perennials every year, this year should be a good year for some of them that will be in their third season. I start with Pansies in the spring to add color, then around Memorial Day I add the more tender annuals like Petunias. Your house looks great, as always!!

  12. I'm with Mary Margaret - I've never had luck with petunias looking good all summer. Now begonias and impatians, on the other hand - just get bigger and better all summer, and I find their color is much more visible on the plant. I WANT to plant right now, but being three hours north of Indy I've learned we're just far enough north to need to wait. Mother's Day is my "safe" date to start, though sometimes I cheat a little. :) I'm with you, though, I always spend a lot of money on annuals but man, they really make me happy!

  13. What do you mean when you say you keep the "Good soil" ?

  14. Oy I hear you on the mulch. It takes 40 cubic yards to do out front and back yards. Triple shred smells terrible. To save money and time (since we do the mulch ourselves) I buy 10 cubic yards at a time from the local mulch place since that is the minimum needed for free delivery. I also buy mini nuggets instead of triple shred. It lasts much longer and I only have to mulch every three years. The years I don't mulch I just rake it over and it looks new again. Love your petunias! Our home has full sun so I have the hardest time with flowers. Even with petunias our lack of water in the south makes them high maintenance.

  15. Wow, your place looks great. It's amazing what a fresh load of mulch does and how it helps keep moisture in your beds. I debated about going all out on bark mulch this year but went back to long leaf pine needles, bought 100 bales this year, have put down 12 bales, ha! We have had 5+ inches of rain here in NC the last few days but will be back out there. Concerning flowers I pretty much stick to perennials but will plant some Zinnias via seeds this year. Can't wait!

  16. Wow, your place looks great. It's amazing what a fresh load of mulch does and how it helps keep moisture in your beds. I debated about going all out on bark mulch this year but went back to long leaf pine needles, bought 100 bales this year, have put down 12 bales, ha! We have had 5+ inches of rain here in NC the last few days but will be back out there. Concerning flowers I pretty much stick to perennials but will plant some Zinnias via seeds this year. Can't wait!

  17. Hi, I have a question about your hanging baskets. Do you line them with anything? I just bought some and there were some reviews where people lined the inside with plastic and put a hole in the bottom to help keep some of the moisture in. I plan on adding ferns to mine. I had 2 last year, brought them in the house over the winter and will divide them soon so that I have 4 this year.

  18. I like petunia's too they're so pretty and hydragena's. But I love having tuplips & roses inside or heck even outside. Your outdoor space looks awesome :D #curbgoals

  19. Your home looks lovely! I'm absolutely terrified of bees so I avoid adding flowers to my home. I prefer lots of leafy plants. Lately I've been really into cacti because I don't need to water them as much!

  20. We live on three acres, and working outside is one of my favorite things to do. I counted 23 flower beds (!!!) In our yard. We have lived here 15 years now so I no longer need any perennials, so I splurge on a few annuals, too, for just a couple locations. My fave is the geraniums at Habig's...they used to be from cuttings instead of seeds (I think they still are) and grow into the mpst beautiful pot fillers. I brought one into the house last fall and kept it alive just so I could start my own cuttings this spring. The deep pink ones look glam against purple petunias. Try some!


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