container gardens
Petunias and Other Fine Annuals

   In wet seasons, petunias may become infested with aphids, which can be checked readily with malathion or nicotine sulphate. Wet weather or too much water may cause stem or root rot, especially in spring. Always avoid overwatering your plants.

More Easy Annuals for Containers

   Free-flowering and readily grown from seed or from small, inexpensive seedlings, annuals return the most for your time, effort, and costs. And you can easily try out different kinds each year to fill your containers with fresh material.

   Many annuals can be grown in containers, but keep in mind the matter of scale. Tall cosmos and African marigolds are out of place in window boxes, but not in large planters. Though most annuals are easy, some require special temperatures. Verbenas, dimorphothecas, nierem-bergias, portulacas, and California poppies like heat, while nemesias, stocks, pansies, and calceolarias do better when grown cool. In pot gardening, you can grow the cool-climate annuals for spring and early summer. In the warmest parts of the country, annuals can be treated as winter plants. Here are a few annuals well suited to containers.

   Ageratum. Low annual, with fluffy lavender flowers, excellent for edging planters in sun or light shade. Avoid nitrogen; it encourages too much leaf growth.

   Lobelia. Dwarf plant for edging, a favorite in window boxes. Small blue, lavender, or white flowers all season. Give sun or part shade and cut back after first flowering for more bloom. Plants trail just enough for planting in hanging baskets with taller flowers in the center. Cambridge Blue is a delightful sky-blue variety.

   Marigolds. Tall African types and dwarf French hybrids in new and improved strains are excellent for window boxes and large planters. Give full sun and a lean soil for plentiful bloom. Yellow and orange dwarfs look well with blue ageratum, lobelias, or browallia.

   Snapdragons. Hardy annuals, with dark green shiny leaves and spikes of red, maroon, yellow, orange, pink, rose, and white flowers. Pinch young plants to encourage branching, though this will delay flowering somewhat. They do well in part shade.

   Stock. A fragrant annual with spikes of lavender, purple, pink, rose, and white flowers. Provide an alkaline, not too rich soil, to promote bloom. Arrange pots around living areas where the sweet scent can be enjoyed in the evenings.

   Sweet Alyssum. An ideal edging plant for planters in white, lavender, purple, and pink. Plants bloom six weeks from seed. If tops are sheared after the first bloom, more flowers will appear. Royal carpet is a good purple, Little Gem, a white.

   There are many other suitable annuals for pots, boxes, and planters-balsam, blue lace flower, blue salvia (a perennial where hardy), browallia, clarkia, cleome, di-morphotheca, feverfew, lantana (so treated), larkspur, linum or flax, love-in-a-mist, Madagascar periwinkle (Vinca rosed), nicotiana or flowering tobacco, nierem-bergia, patient Lucy, phlox, salpiglossis, scabiosa, schizan-thus, statice, venedium, verbena, and viscaria.