Celosia Flamma Red from Sakata. Photo-courtesy of Vaughn Fletcher.

Notable annuals offer a bevy of blooms and interest By Heather Machovina

There are notable annuals that are winning over growers and consumers alike with a bevy of blooms. Here is a look at some inspirational options available.

Thymus ‘Ruby Glow’ 


This thyme has a ball-shaped growth habit with dark green foliage that provides structure in pots and landscapes. It flowers abundantly in summer with small ruby red flowers that give a strong fragrance. ‘Ruby Glow’ grows best if full sun to partial shade.

Thymus Ruby Glow

Pericallis ‘Senetti Red Halo’ 

Suntory Flowers 

Breeders for the Senetti series have been concentrating on a tidier, more compact growth habit, higher flower count and increased tolerance to fungal pathogens. Red Halo is a distinctive pericallis with red daisy blooms and a white ring around the red center. Works well in 4- to 12-inch pot sizes.

Pericallis Senetti Red Halo

Euphorbia ‘Starpleasure Frost’ 


This euphorbia has a mounded, compact habit — with a little more vigor and a brighter white flower than ‘Snow on the Mountain’. It’s well branched with a lot of flowers and works well in mixed containers. Great for 4-inch or 1-quart programs.


Coleus ‘Talavera Moondust’ 

Syngenta Flowers 

This vegetative series has six colors offering color stability with heat and sun tolerance. Moondust grabs your attention with yellow speckles on terracotta colored leaves. It’s late flowering, can be used in most applications and can be planted in sun or shade.


Lantana ‘Heartland Neon’ 

Dümmen Orange 

The Heartland lantana series came from the breeding work for the Havana series and offers more vigor. Neon has large, multi-colored umbels — emblematic of the series. It’s durable with excellent branching and matured to 18-24 inches in trials.


Bidens ‘Campfire Marshmallow’ 

Proven Winners 

This Marshmallow is vigorous and heat tolerant. The brilliant white flowers with golden centers require minimal deadheading and hold up to wet conditions. The heavy branching and low seed set produce a full and vibrant canopy.


Celosia ‘Flamma Red’ 

Sakata Seed America 

This seed series has brilliant flower plumes that give a color show all summer in all regions of the U.S. Flamma was uniform with great branching and excellent heat tolerance in multiple trial gardens. The plumes are tight and nonfading making it a good option for beds and containers.  


Zinnia ‘Belize Double Yellow’ 

American Takii 

An interspecific zinnia series, Double Yellow is an early bloomer and very floriferous. It’s heat tolerant and has a naturally compact and branching habit so use discretion before applying PGRs. Southern growers can produce Belize for year-round sales. 

Zinnia Belize Double Yellow

Petunia ‘Crazytunia Cosmic Violet’ 


Crazytunia is a mutation of Black Mamba, a popular color in the collection. Cosmic Violet offers large flowers with a striking center and stable color patterns. It has a uniform habit and performs well through the summer heat. 


Lobelia ‘Magadi Compact Blue Bay’ 

Selecta One 

Blue Bay brings a bicolor splash pattern of dark blue and white to the Magadi lobelia series. In multiple trials during summertime, Blue Bay maintained color and flowered abundantly until mid-September.


Begonia ‘Dragon Wing Red Bronze Leaf’ 

PanAmerican Seed 

Dragon Wing begonias have been around for years but the bronze leaf introductions are now expanding the series. Red Bronze Leaf is early flowering with colorful and prolific blooms above dark bronze foliage. A great pick for quart-size pots, mixed containers and baskets.


Setcreasea ‘Zebrina Bourdeaux’ 


Setcreasea is grown for its intense foliage colors and low maintenance. Zebrina is drought tolerant and thrives in heat and humidity. It’s suitable for the landscape, containers, hanging baskets and as an annual ground cover. 


Angelonia ‘Alonia Big Cherry’ 


Big Cherry is durable with great heat and drought tolerance. It has glossy, green foliage with a strong upright habit and longer inflorescences. In 2023 trials, this angelonia was a standout with lots of vibrant flowers and a dense habit. Works well for spring bench-run programs.