In order to keep your annuals in bloom, remove all spent flowers and any leaves that turn yellow. Occasionally pinching back your plants will encourage them to be bushier and flower more profusely. Use pruning shears or scissors to remove all dead flowers from annuals at least once a week from early summer to fall. When the plants begin to look exhausted or winter is around the corner, allow a few flowers to develop seeds to sow and grow next season.
Annuals do not care for manure or heavy fertilizer. Too much nitrogen results in plants with too many leaves, too many stems and too few flowers. The only manure suitable for use on annuals is composted manure that is thoroughly worked into the soil before planting.
Some annuals need a rest from flowering if allowed to take a blooming break, they often come back bigger and better in late summer and early fall. Don’t worry if your marigolds or nasturtiums look healthy but have only a few flowers in the heat of summer. As the nights become longer and cooler, they will come back into bloom again.
Wax begonias are among the most versatile annuals. They grow well in sun or shade and are resistant to most pest and diseases and don’t take a lot of maintenance once they are established. The types sold as bedding plants bloom freely from early summer to frost which will provide a mass of white, red, or pink color offset with light or dark green, bronze or red foliage. Begonia seeds are tiny but strong. Sow begonia seeds indoors by pressing them lightly into damp seed starting mix, but don’t cover them. They are fine and need plenty of light to germinate. Water the seed-starting mix from below to avoid disturbing the seeds, soaking the base of the flat in a larger container of water. When the surface is moist, remove the flat and let it drip before putting it back into a semi-shaded spot.