Every year I try to enrich my experience as a grower by growing interesting new plants. Some of them are new to me personally, while others are novelties of world selection. The originators annually offer interesting cultivars of annual flowers. Many of them subsequently take root in my garden or on the balcony, adding to the number of favorites. In this article, I would like to talk about interesting annuals that I met last year. All the described annuals are very easy to grow from seeds, they are unpretentious in care. You may also like these plants.
5 unusual annuals I grew from seeds last year
1. Pepper “U-shu”
Most varieties of dwarf decorative pepper (Potato) super spicy, pungent fruits, but still rarely used as a seasoning. The main advantage of this type is its very elegant appearance. Of all the ornamental peppers, the variegated variety called “Ushu” impressed me the most.
This plant is a real dwarf and does not exceed 25 centimeters in height. Its narrow-conical fruits are also quite crumbs – 0,5 millimeters in diameter and up to 3 centimeters in length. This pepper is notable for its bright fruits of various colors, fancifully oriented upwards. Young peppers are purple in color, after which they turn orange, and then become deep red. Thus, on one bush, we can observe an abundance of colors.
Variegated foliage gives additional decorativeness to the plant. The leaf blade of “Wu-shu” pepper is dark green with a slight purple tint, it is dotted with chaotic white patterns. The pattern on the foliage of these peppers appears already on the very first true leaves, and the cotyledon leaves have no pattern.
Peculiarities of growing
Ornamental peppers “Wu-shu” are a very unpretentious crop, but at the initial stage of cultivation, you can face some difficulties. First of all, it should be borne in mind that dwarf ornamental peppers, including this variety, sprout much longer than sweet peppers, and this happens unevenly. On average, the seeds of this pepper, even after preliminary soaking in germination stimulants, sprouted only a month after sowing.
Moreover, it often happened that the only “most daring” seed germinated in two weeks, and the rest of it came out of the ground only after 1-1,5 months. But you can not wait for a single sprout. Given this feature of ornamental peppers, I advise you to purchase seeds with a stock and sow it as early as possible (in January).
At first, the U-Shu pepper grows extremely slowly. But you will probably be surprised when, on a tiny 4-5 centimeter sprout, the first flowers appear and peppercorns begin to tie. After that, he “shoots” in height and begins to branch more actively. After planting in a permanent place in mid-late May, further care consists in regular watering and feeding with liquid fertilizer every 2-3 weeks.
The most decorative small bushes of this pepper look in bulk, but one or 2 bushes in a small clay pot in the kitchen also look charming. In addition, I really like to create small container compositions from dwarf vegetables with the participation of this elegant pepper.
Read also our article Indoor hot peppers – varieties and cultivation features.
2. Lawrence (isotome)
Lawrence, or Isotome (Isotoma) Is an unusual rare annual of a very delicate bluish-purple color. It is not so easy to recognize a bell in its star-shaped original flowers. But in fact, laurentiya can be called a variety of this flower, because it belongs to the Bellflower family.
Since I really love bells, I also liked this plant. The height of the bushes is 25-30 centimeters, the habit of the bush is spreading, very delicate and airy. During the flowering period, laurentia is covered with many medium-sized stars-flowers on the thinnest stems.
The leaves of the plant are oblong and very carved and, at first glance, may even seem a little prickly. The flowers themselves have a long tube that divides into five thin, pointed petals. The diameter of one flower is 3-3,5 centimeters. The most common colors are blue, but the color can also be pink or pure white. An additional advantage of laurentia is its wonderful aroma. To me it looks like a lily scent, but much softer.
Peculiarities of growing
Laurentia is a plant with a long growing season, so I sowed it for seedlings very early, in mid-February. The seeds of the plant are very small and should not be covered with earth. They are placed superficially, slightly pressing into the substrate, the containers are covered with a film and kept in a bright place. Seedlings appear in about a week. Laurentiya seedlings definitely need lighting. In natural light, even on the brightest window, my seedlings were very stretched and looked stunted.
Even with such an early sowing, the flowering of laurentia began only in early July. In the future, the plant bloomed all summer and did not require the removal of faded flowers. Laurentias are planted in the sunniest place, they can be placed in independent groups or in combination with annuals with larger flowers.
3. Decorative oregano “Kirigami”
Oregano, or Thyme (Origanum) – well-known popular spice and medicinal plant. There are many ornamental varieties of oregano with an attractive appearance and characteristic aroma. Many of them winter well in the middle lane. But the variety of oregano “Kirigami” is a heat-loving culture, and it is grown as an annual or a houseplant. Moreover, it is very easy to grow it from seeds.
This oregano has the most original appearance among all members of the genus. Mainly, the plant is prized for its unusual shape of earring inflorescences, consisting of tiny purple double-lipped flowers and large rounded bracts of light green and purple flowers. When dried, the inflorescences retain their shape and can be used as dried flowers.
Leaves are rounded, drooping, with a strong aroma. Oregano bushes “Kirigami” have a drooping shape and look very attractive in hanging baskets as ampels. The height of the bushes is 20-25 centimeters, and the width of oregano can grow up to 30-36 centimeters. Despite its pleasant spicy aroma, such oregano is not used for food, but is used only as an ornamental plant. It is very drought tolerant and will grow well in full sun.
Peculiarities of growing
In order for the decorative oregano to grow into a full-fledged plant that looks especially impressive, it is better to start sowing as early as possible – in January-February. Seeds are placed superficially, slightly pressing into the soil. Seedlings appear very quickly in 4-7 days. But the seedlings grow slowly at first. It will take 90-100 days for the seedlings to reach full size.
It will be possible to transplant oregano into a garden or container only after the threat of frost ends. It is best to bring it into the room for wintering before the start of severe subzero temperatures, although minimal frost makes the bracts brighter, intensifying the purple hues.
My experience with ornamental oregano was not very successful, as I sowed too late, and the plants did not have time to gain vegetative mass during the season. But the unusual structured earrings looked really extravagant, so I plan to repeat the experiments with oregano.
Read more about growing this plant in the article Oregano – extraordinary oregano.
4. Schizanthus (schizanthus)
For the first time I saw Schizanthus, or Schizanthus (Schizanthus) in urban landscaping many years ago during a trip to Moscow. But, as it turned out, not all schizanthuses have such large variegated butterfly inflorescences. It is these noticeable flowers, somewhat reminiscent of orchids, that I found only in the hybrid series Atlantis (‘Atlantis’).
This series is distinguished by an expressive border of various shades of red and purple. For example, schizanthus “Lilak bicolor” with a purple border framing white and bright yellow patterns in the center of the flower. The least variegated variation of the Pure Deep Roses series is painted in two shades of crimson.
Schizanthus has very attractive airy carved foliage. The bright self-sufficient appearance and exotic appearance makes the flower flawlessly beautiful, but at the same time difficult to combine with other annual plants. It is best to use group plantings of schizanthus of the same color or combine several variations from one series. And the best neighbors for this exotic can be indoor plants, which were taken out into the garden for the summer.
Peculiarities of growing
Schizanthus can be used as a short-lived houseplant or as an annual flower bed, depending on this, the timing of sowing seeds may be different. Since I planned to use this flower to decorate an open balcony, sowing was carried out in early March. Schizanthus ascended very quickly and did not cause any trouble at seedling age.
In the specialized literature, you can find recommendations that the weakest seedlings give the most interesting flowering, and this observation turned out to be correct. The lowest seedlings from my crops subsequently turned out to be the most abundant flowering and retained a compact shape. But often schizanthus has a very uneven height – from low, no more than 20 centimeters of bushes, to specimens about 40 centimeters high.
Schizanthus blooms very profusely for several months, but individual specimens after the main peak of flowering may die for no apparent reason. So keep in mind that the poor man’s orchid is a very unpredictable plant.
Read also our article Indoor schizanthus.
5. Moroccan linaria
Probably, almost all plant lovers are familiar with “prairie dogs”, which by mistake can be called “wild” snapdragons. In fact, despite the external similarity, this is not a snapdragon, but an independent genus – toadflax, or Linaria (Linaria).
This plant has also found its place in ornamental gardening. Most often, you can find various varieties on sale. linaria moroccan… And relatively recently, Western breeders presented interesting novelties – hybrid dwarf linaria series ‘Fantasy’ и ‘Fantasist’… These lines are characterized by tiny growth, strong basal branching and a long flowering period. At the same time, the “Fantasy” series blooms 7-10 days earlier than “Fantasy”.
Both series include both monochromatic (pink, lilac, yellow, white, crimson) and two-colored (most often with a yellow spot in the center of the flower). If you plan to plant a hybrid linaria, then keep in mind that this is quite a crumb (5-10 centimeters). It is better not to combine it with other colors, otherwise it can easily get lost.
Peculiarities of growing
Like snapdragons, toadflax is a very cold-resistant crop and can withstand short-term frosts down to –4 degrees. Linaria is sown on seedlings in April, the seeds sprout quickly, and the seedlings grow quickly, starting early branching on their own. Flowering begins in June and lasts from one to two months. To extend the overall bloom period, it is recommended to sow at several times with an interval of 2 weeks or more.
Group plantings of Moroccan linaria look very gentle and resemble watercolor paintings. Toadflax is unpretentious in care and grows well in full sun and light partial shade with regular watering and fertilizing with complex fertilizers. After the completion of the first wave of flowering, it is recommended to trim and feed the bushes.
Dear readers! If you are growing some rare novelties among annual flowers, tell us about it in the comments to the article. We will be very grateful to you for the information!