Annual Plants

12 Annual Plants We Guarantee You Will Love

Each Spring we look forward to planting our front porch pots with low maintenance annual plants that will provide bright pops of color and enhance our curb appeal, as well as our waterfront appeal. Over the years, we have learned which types of popular annual flowers will stand up to our busy lifestyle, as well as the fact that we commute back and forth between our full time home and our lake home for several days at a time.

Truth be told, we only have it in us to get the pots watered once or twice a week. We figured we were not the only ones that like to have pretty flower pots but struggle to get the watering down regularly. Just in case that is true, we are sharing our top twelve proven low maintenance annual plants. If we can keep these alive with just a little love, we know you can too!

What is the difference between annuals and perennials?

Before we get deep into what plants to buy, it is important to know the different between annuals and perennials. Do annuals come back every year? No, annuals are plants or flowers need to planted each year. They are not typically hearty enough to survive the colder temps in the winter months. Perennials are plants or flowers that come back on their own every year.


Low Maintenance Annual Plants - Thrillers

Thrillers are the plants that have height and that you want to put in the center of your pot.

  • Coleus - there are several varieties of this tropical leafy foliage plant that quickly sprouts up to its full summer height of about 3' tall. It has not always loved fun sun, but the newer introduced varieties are tolerant of the heat and sun. You can find them in purples, greens, pinks, maroon and some that are variegated).
  • Dracaena - these are spikes that have green stiff blades and can sometimes be found with touches of red/purple on the edges of the blades.
  • Canna Lillies - these are bulbs that come in a variety of colors and thrive in hot humid weather (perfect for Missouri). They are a tropical type flower with banana like leaves. Plant one in the center of your pot and leave room for it to sprout, or you can purchase them already in bloom. These can get up to 6' tall, unless you get the dwarf variety that gets 2'-3' tall. Here is a link to a great example from Kaw Valley Greenhouses.
  • Elephant Ears - just as the name implies, these have a bold tropical leaf that is reminiscent of an elephant ear. This is also a bulb that you will pant blunt side down in your pot and allow space for it to sprout. Check out this beautiful pot from Alethea Workman in her Small Garden Ideas pin on Pinterest. It contains three of our low maintenance annual plants all in one pot.

canna lilies as a thrilling floral focal point, by The Anchored Styleelephant ear plants as a thrilling floral focal point, by The Anchored Style

Low Maintenance Annual Plants - Fillers

Fillers are the plants that have medium height in your pot. They don't get taller than your thriller, but they stand above your fillers (see next section).

  • Geraniums - this sun loving plant also comes in a variety of colors. These plants will even tell you if you are watering too often, as the leaves will turn yellow. Once a week should be enough unless you are in the dog days of summer. Cutting off the dead blooms will allow the plant to concentrate all it's energy on growing healthy new blooms.
  • Petunias - basically the same as geraniums ... water well once a week and deadhead the spent flowers to keep it blooming continuously.
  • Calibrachoa - resemble petunias in shape, however, they are a bit smaller flower. The bonus with Calibrachoa, they don't need deadheaded, however, they do like an every other week feeding of 20-10-20 fertilizer so they will bloom all summer long.

Petunias and Calibrachoa as filler flowers in an annual container

Low Maintenance Annual Plants - Spillers

Spillers are the viney plants that spill over the edge of your pots. These can be blooming or non-blooming vines.

  • Trailing Mezoo - this is Kim's absolute favorite annual plant. They have a variegated green and white leaf and they bloom with a fuchsia colored little tropical looking flower. It is actually a type of succulent and can tolerate 6+ hours of sun a day, but it also does well in a shaded area. When it needs water, the leaves will start to look a bit wilted.
  • Purslane/Portulaca - this is the Anchor Dot's favorite annual plant. It is much like Mezoo in that it has rubbery succulent type leaves and it blooms in a variety of colors. It thrives when the weather heats up adds tons of colors with its blooms.
  • Sweet Potato Vine - we love this heat loving vine that provides a cascade of heart-shaped lime green leaves. The do well in sun or shade, and you can also now find them in a purple color.
  • Variegated Vinca Vine - this vine does well in sun or part shade, has green and creamy white leaves, and it can produce little lavender or blue flowers.

sweet potato vines and mezoo spilling out of an annual container

portulaca in an annual container garden

Low Maintenance Annual Plants - Bonus Must Have

Lemon Grass Plant - these plants are actually a perennial as opposed to an annual, but according to, they actually have many benefits. One important one is that they are known for repelling mosquitos and other insects which is a must for folks like us that like to spend much of the summertime outdoors. Not only are they a repellent, they are also used as a seasoning in many Asian recipes. Who doesn't want to keep the bugs away and enjoy a healthy dish of Thai Curry?

Yes, we love having pretty flowers, but our primary goal will always be to spend our time boating, floating, and enjoying our family and friends. Do you have your container pots planted? If not, try out some of our recommended low maintenance best annual plants and best annual flowers to brighten up your summer. We hope you will agree that they truly take very little care and provide for a colorful front porch welcome. Happy planting!

Signature Team Anchored

P.S. For other ideas to improve your curb appeal, click here to visit our blog article on 5 Easy Ways to Enhance Your Front Porch.

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