These annuals are sure to pass the "sniff test."
Plant tropical angels' trumpet, and you'll soon be singing its praises. These striking flowers come in a variety of forms and attract plenty of attention. They unfurl captivating, showy, bell-shaped blooms that are 6 to 12 inches long, and flower prolifically from spring to autumn. One word of caution, however. Angels' trumpets belongs to the nightshade family and is highly toxic. Keep the plant away from young children and pets, and gardeners should wear gloves to prevent contact with the plant's sap.
Common Names: Angels' trumpets, moonflower, datura.
Botanical Name: Brugmansia.
Hardiness: Annual in most areas.
Bloom Time: Late spring to autumn, varies by species.
Size: Typically 3 to 12 feet high and 3 to 8 feet wide.
Flowers: Trumpet-shaped flowers in white, yellow, apricot, pink, and red.
Light Needs: Full sun.
Growing Advice: Sow seed in spring, or root cuttings in summer.
Prize Picks: Betty Marshall is a favorite white. Charles Grimaldi has gorgeous golden flowers.
This cheerful garden annual thrives on neglect. Once nasturtiums are established, they perform best when left alone, and provide vibrant color from spring through frost.
Since they flourish in poor soil, overwatering or adding fertilizer can actually diminish their beauty. They are so resilient they can withstand severe pruning—some gardeners cut back the large veined leaves for a better view of the sweet-scented blooms.
There are many varieties to choose from, with some growing in compact mounds, and others climbing to 10 feet with the support of a trellis or fence.
Common Name: Nasturtium, Indian cress.
Botanical Name: Tropaeolum majus.
Hardiness: Annual in all zones.
Bloom Time: Early summer until frost.
Size: Climbing varieties reach 10 feet, dwarf varieties form mounds that are up to 15 inches tall; 12 to 24 inches wide.
Flower: Bright yellow, red, cream, apricot, and salmon.
Light needs: Full sun.
Growing Advice: Sow directly in most garden after last frost. Plant 3/4-inch deep and 8 to 12 inches apart. Thin plants as they become crowded.
Prize Picks: The Alaska series has variegated leaves with creamy speckles. Whirlybird's flowers appear above its leaves and provide a brilliant display.
This enchanting vine is grown as an annual. Related to the morning glory, moonflower vine has big, trumpet-shaped bright white flowers and deep green leaves. The attractive white flowers will emerge at dusk and last until dawn. No wonder it's called the moonflower!
Common Names: Moonflower vine, Belle de nuit.
Botanical Name: Ipomoea alba.
Bloom Time: Midsummer.
Size: Up to 15 feet high.
Light Needs: Full sun.
Growing Advice: Grows slowly in cooler weather, so be patient.
Prize Picks: Try Giant White, with its big 6-inch blooms and rich scent.
This fragrant flower is easy to grow and provides a season's worth of cut flowers. In fact, sweet peas perform best if you harvest bouquets often. Like the garden peas, sweet peas prefer the cooler weather of spring and early summer, gradually declining under hot August skies.
Common Names: Sweet pea.
Botanical Name: Lathyrus odoratus.
Bloom Time: Varies by region; spring and summer through early autumn.
Size to 12 feet high.
Flower color: Variety of colors including pink, purple, salmon, blue, red and white.
Light Needs: Full sun to partial shade.
Growing Advice: Plant presoaked seeds 1 inch deep and 6 inches apart in garden, or start seeds indoors and transplant outside after about 6 weeks.
Prize Picks: Royal Mix and Old Spice Mix are fragrant and heat tolerant. Also recommended: Captain of the Blues, which is prized for its lavender to purple flowers.
Each stem of a sweet William will make a complete bouquet! This beauty if a native to Europe, but has adapted to regions all over the United States. Enjoy sweet William blooms in pink, white, red, purple, and sometimes even bicolors.
Common Names: Sweet William.
Botanical Name: Dianthus barbatus.
Hardiness: Perennial, but performs as an annual.
Bloom Time: Late spring to early summer.
Size: 4 to 28 inches high, up to 12 inches wide.
Flowers: Purple, red, pink, white, and sometimes bicolored.
Light Needs: Full sun.
Growing Advice: Plant in rich, well-draining soil and be careful not to overwater.
Prize Picks: You'll love the sweet fragrance of cut flowers from the Electron Mix, which blooms in clusters of red, pink, and white. Magic Cherry has headily scented blooms of magenta and cherry.