Winter annual flowers supply brilliant color, grow quickly, and provide a "wow" factor to your desert landscape. Adding annuals to pots that have an established central plant and fill smaller pots with bouquets of your favorites will give you a garden that will thrill you all winter long. See the list of appropriate plants in the neighboring sidebar.
Note: If you have pots that you are not planting new plants, be sure to add fertilizer and water thoroughly with the application.
Remove all dead plants, dying plants or past their prime plants. Be somewhat careful of the roots of the central plant. Be sure to get out all old roots and anything that does not seem healthy.
Add fresh potting soil and a handful of time release fertilizer and mix it in with the old soil as much as possible. NOTE: If the old soil is entirely root bound, you are going to need to remove the central plant, discard the soil and start with fresh.)
Plant your new flowers leaving about 1-2” between plants.
Pack additional soil in around the plants, making sure you do not bury the stems deeper than originally planted in their nursery container.
Water in thoroughly with a gentle shower.
Advice for flower shopping: Grab a cart at the nursery and an empty flat or carton and place your selections on the flat and then step back and look at it. Look at it hard and long and be sure it sits right with you. A 24” pot with one central planting will need approximately fourteen (14) “4” inch” plants. If you select any gallon plants, they can replace 3-4 smaller ones. I urge you to use 4” plants and not six-packs.
Important: When you go shopping and bring your plants home, water them in well and plant as soon as possible — as in the same day. If you have to wait until the next morning, place them in the shade to rest until the morning.
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Marylee is the founder and former owner of Tucson’s The Contained Gardener. With more than 15 years of successfully designing and growing potted gardens in the desert’s challenging and oftentimes harsh climate, Marylee has become known as the Desert’s Potted Garden Expert. Marylee is available for in-home or digital consultations and you can always email her with your questions and comments. Follow The Potted Desert on Facebook!